The Mechanic Limited Edition: music composed and conducted by Jerry Fielding (CD review).

This is the musical score to the original 1972 film ‘The Mechanic’, just in case any of you out there think the recent Jason Stratham film was the only one with that that title. It has nothing to do with car repairs!

In the criminal underworld, a ‘mechanic’ is a professional hit man who stages accidents to remove people the mob don’t like. Charles Bronson plays Arthur Bishop, the mechanic of the title. After we see a couple of his executions, one of which was a friend of his late father’s and whose son, Steve McKenna (actor Jan Michael Vincent), befriends him, Bishop takes him on as an apprentice/associate without telling his boss. When the next execution becomes messy, his boss is unhappy, even more so that Bishop took on someone without their permission. To redeem himself, Bishop is to take an execution in Naples. Returning home, Bishop looks for McKenna, who is out, and finds his associate is planning to kill him, so prepares a similar plan himself. Nevertheless, they still both go to Naples and after studying their target, prepare to blow up the man’s yacht, only to discover that they’ve been betrayed. As to the rest, you’ll have to see for yourself but the ending is a real scorcher.


Call it a geek thing but this is still one of my favourite films. Mostly because of the attention to detail, especially in the first execution. I read the novelisation a few years back and its author even went as far as detailing what was used and was factually correct so it follows the detail from the film. Don’t know about you, but I like films that get their details right. The film was directed by Michael Winner and this was his second film with Bronson before they did the ‘Death Wish’ films.

It’s been long overdue for its screen music to be available on CD. Composed by Jerry Fielding and listening to it separate from the film, the strongest feeling that comes from many of the tracks is chaos which is in sharp contrast to the cold way the deft Bishop handles his targets. In contrast, the more melancholy laid-back tracks have a tension all of their own. Fielding captures the mood strongly within the context of the film so much that it gets under your skin than you always pay attention to it. Divorced from the film, the soundtrack’s rich sound can capture you on its own. The sixteenth track, ‘Speed Boats’, will really wake you up.

I should point out that the first seventeen tracks are the soundtrack with the next two are alternative end titles. Bishop plans his executions to music and the final two tracks are devoted to these. If you’re familiar with the film and want to hear and identify them, then you’ll love this. Bishop has a taste for Beethoven. It ends abruptly. Just like the film. Bang! You’re dead.

GF Willmetts

October 2013

(pub: La-La Land Records LLLCD 1191. 1 CD 77 minutes 28 tracks 16 page booklet. Price: $19-98 (US). Limited edition: 1200 units.

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