The soundtrack to the film The Sting made a huge impact on the public at large, and brought with it a resurgence of interest in Ragtime music in general. The Soundtrack album has cover notes by the director George Roy Hill which tell the background story. Hill had become hooked on Ragtime from hearing his son and nephew play rags by Scott Joplin on the piano and at round about the same time as he was putting thoughts together for The Sting movie. A connection formed in his mind that these rags would be an ideal accompaniment to the movie, with their assured sense of humour. Initially Hill was going to provide the soundtrack himself before he abandoned that idea and called in Marvin Hamlisch.
Hamlisch took Hill's ideas and developed them into the soundtrack we all know and love. The finished movie sports a number of straightforward tracks of Hamlisch playing Scott Joplin originals at the piano. There are also a number of orchestral arrangements of Joplin rags, some custom built tracks by Hamlisch himself (including a truly raunchy "Hooker's Hooker"), a jaunty jazz violin piece called "Little Girl" and some Merry-go-round music.
It is the Ragtime which everyone remembers and in particular the title track based on Joplin's The Entertainer. So closely associated has this piece become to the film that the music is often called simply "The Sting". Among other Joplin rags featured are The Easy Winners (appropriate to the film's conman philosophy), the Pineapple Rag, Gladiolus Rag, Rag Time Dance and special mention must go to Solace which features in both piano and orchestral versions. The mood of this haunting melody seems to capture the real hardships present during the Depression and acts as a poignant counterbalance to the jaunty confidence of the other rags. The CD can be found at these sites: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, and Amazon.com in the US.
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