The Untouchables
    Director: Brian DiPalma              Composer- Ennio Morricone

The Untouchables was one of my very first studio gigs. I was called by the contractor because Ennio Morricone had specifically asked that Toots not be used, I can only imagine because Toots’ style is so lyrical and lovely that Morricone felt it wouldn’t convey what he had in mind. 

I received the music a week before the session. The main cue was labeled “Nitti’s theme”, and not knowing who “Nitti” was, I assumed for some reason that it was a romantic cue to be played over soaring strings. 

When I got to the session (which included a full 90 piece orchestra) I waited in my booth practicing my little love theme as the violins tuned up.

Morricone came to the booth with a translator, heard me playing and cried “No No!!! This is a man who kills children!!!!”  Of course, Nitti was Capone’s hitman, and his cue was supposed to convey menace and psychopathology. 

I immediately summoned all my darkest and most perverse emotions and played the theme with the requisite depravity. “That’s it!” said Morricone, and off we went. 

When you play a cue for a movie, you watch a TV screen showing the action you are accompanying. A green bar passes over the scene indicating that you start playing, and a red bar follows indicating “stop”.

The green bar passed as Ness’s buddy steps in the elevator with Nitti - I had no idea what i was about to see, and when the elevator doors open, revealing a scene of horrific carnage, I just sputtered “Oh my god!!!” and stopped playing long before the red line passed..... “take two!”

I soon realized that every time I played my little theme, someone was about to have their brains blown out.