The Sting (1973) follows two con artists (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) as they run a long con to ruin the man who had their friend killed. It's set in the 1930s and filled with amazing period costumes, sets, and music. Marvin Hamlisch blends Scott Joplin's classic rags with original bluesy variations of other period songs to create a soundtrack that is a pure delight. Here are my three favorite tracks from one of the first soundtracks I ever heard -- my parents owned this on LP!
My favorite song of all is Joplin's "Easy Winners." I love how jaunty it is. I can't help smiling when I hear it.
"Luther" is more melancholy, a solemn contemplation of loss and mortality. It takes bits of "Solace," another of my favorite Joplin rags, turns them minor, and turns them into a dirge.
"The Entertainer" is probably the most famous rag, whether by Scott Joplin or anyone else. The Sting uses it to great effect, as it's a great blend of spry playfulness and an undercurrent of more dramatic seriousness, which pretty perfectly describes the movie as well.
That's all for today, friends. If you liked these selections, you can hear the full soundtrack on YouTube here.