I think the tracks with Barry’s “From Russia with Love” go under the radar as well. Especially the sequences where Red Grant is involved. The “Meeting in St. Sophia”, albeit brief, is chilling and fits the character superbly.
I just watched “Dr No” again and while it looks great on Blu-Ray, the “music” really gives it an air of cheapness. Between the cinematography and wardrobe and Ken Adam’s amazing sets, they stretch a limited budget a long way, but the music keeps it all in “high end B-Movie” territory, IMHO.
With FRWL, that all changes. Barry comes out of nowhere and first time at bat makes everything feel more epic, classy, lush and…well…“finished” is the word that comes to mind. I don’t think it’s his best score for the series but it’s 1000 times better than its predecessor and a key factor in elevating the whole series to something grander and more accomplished.
In particular, I always love the sequence where the Orient Express is making its journey and the music starts up, chugs along and slows down again at the next station. I suppose some could see that as a bit too “cutesy,” but compared to the BUM!..BUM!..BUM! BUM! BUM! when Bond despatches the spider in DN, it’s the height of subtlety. That damned tarantula bit forces a laugh out of me every time.
Anyway, sometimes I often think the early Bonds were a Beatle-like, “lightning in a bottle” combination of the right actors, the right directors, the right set designer, the right effects men and with Barry, the right composer. It’s a beautiful thing to see things fall into place so perfectly. It just took an extra picture for Barry to complete the team.