Who Framed Roger Rabbit, directed by Robert Zemeckis (my favorite film director), has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it as a child several years ago. A technical breakthrough as well as a critical success, the score by regular Zemeckis collaborator Alan Silvestri also ranks among my favorites.
Since the film takes place in the year 1947, Silvestri was faced with the challenge of composing music that fit well with the period. He succeeds beautifully, delivering laid-back tracks such as “Valiant & Valiant” and “Eddie’s Theme”. He also manages to capture the sort of fun and wackiness found in the classic cartoons of the period, such as the Tom & Jerry cartoons of the early ’40s. This wackiness can be heard in the tracks “Maroon Cartoon”, and “Toontown”, as well as in a few other spots throughout the score.
Perhaps the most appealing part of Silvestri’s score is the smooth jazziness of it, which, for me, feels typical of the classic film noir genre, a category that the movie (roughly) falls into.
However, the score for Who Framed Roger Rabbit is not without its faults. My main complaint is that there are chunks here and there that are hugely reminiscent of Silvestri’s earlier score to Back to the Future, another Zemeckis film (and my personal favorite). The similarities between these two film scores are particularly evident in the more suspenseful moments. The themes, obviously, are completely different, but it is in these moments when Silvestri is illustrating the unfortunate predicaments of the characters onscreen that it becomes harder to distinguish the two.
Despite its faults, Alan Silvestri’s score to Who Framed Roger Rabbit is hugely fun, whimsical, and relaxing at times, with one of the best “End Credits” tracks out there. Silvestri is a wonderful composer who succeeds in drawing his audience further into the world of the movie.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
1. “Maroon Logo” 0:192. “Maroon Cartoon” 3:25
3. “Valiant & Valiant” 4:22
4. “The Weasels” 2:08
5. “Hungarian Rhapsody (Dueling Pianos)” Tony Anselmo, Mel Blanc 1:53
6. “Judge Doom” 3:47
7. “Why Don’t You Do Right?” Amy Irving, Charles Fleischer 3:07
8. “No Justice for Toons” 2:45
9. “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (Roger’s Song)” Fleischer 0:47
10. “Jessica’s Theme” 2:03
11. “Toontown” 1:57
12. “Eddie’s Theme” 5:22
13. “The Gag Factory” 3:48
14. “The Will” 1:10
15. “Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!/That’s All Folks” Toon Chorus 1:17
16. “End Title (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)” 4:56
Total Length: app. 47 min.