THE FOURTH PROTOCOL is a stylish cold war chiller based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name. The film was released in 1987, just as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began to introduce the liberalizing reforms of perestroika and glasnost that would result in the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Forsyth’s 1984 cold war thriller, renegade parties within the Soviet Union, led by KGB Chairman Govorshin and British defector Kim Philby enact a plan to set off a nuclear bomb near an American airbase in England, intending to destabilize NATO and bring about an anti-NATO, anti-American and pro-Soviet government to the UK. The title refers to a fictional element of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which in the world of the novel contained four secret protocols, the last one a prohibition on non-conventional means of delivering nuclear weapons. In violation of that protocol, Govorshin and Philby mean to detonate an atomic bomb by shipping parts in secret to England where a Soviet spy will secretly assemble and activate the device nearby the target airbase. KGB agent Major Valeri Petrofsky (Brosnan) is singled out by KGB Chairman Govorshin (North) as the undercover operative who will receive the parts in England and, after assembly, activate the bomb. Enter MI-5 agent John Preston (Caine), a no-nonsense British spy whose intuitive success puts him at odds with his superior, acting MI-5 director Brian Harcourt-Smith (Glover), whose overt dislike of Preston gets his subordinate transferred to MI-5’s equivalent to Siberia – the Airports & Ports division. As luck would have it, this is exactly where Preston will find his first clue, which sets him onto the nature of the Soviet plot. This discovery will point him toward Petrofsky and his collection of bomb parts. The two trails eventually merge in the climax as Preston confronts Petrofsky and learns the truth about THE FOURTH PROTOCOL.
To score THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, the producers hired Lalo Schifrin. His music for the film is a rare example of the composer scoring an action film orchestrally. While his musical roots in jazz have found their way into his best-known scores, Schifrin has always shown himself proficient with orchestral scores, although the majority of his modern action scores have largely embodied a modern jazz musical milieu. As a result, THE FOURTH PROTOCOL is a kind of cousin to his orchestral score for TELEFON, in which Charles Bronson played a Soviet agent sent on a covert mission into the US. Like that earlier score, the music for THE FOURTH PROTOCOL is played mostly in the dark registers – lots of cello, bass clarinet, and bassoon evoking the dark possibilities inherent within the film’s title. Schifrin’s music for THE FOURTH PROTOCOL is not generally a character-driven score. With few exceptions, he uses the music to drive the story’s action rather than evoke personalities and perceptions.
1. Fourth Protocol (3:38)
2. Govorshin, Karpov, Borisov (2:27)
3. Petrofsky, Preston (2:50)
4. Berenson (0:49)
5. Mr. Ross, Telecommunications, The Cast, The Freezer (2:44)
6. The Disc, Gregoriev, Glasgow Docks (1:29)
7. Uranium I, Uranium II, How About A Drink?, Heathrow (2:22)
8. Windows (2:40)
9. Vassilievna (2:08)
10. Detonator (4:50)
11. Zero Time (0:48)
12. Before I Go, Kill Her, I Feel Lucky, Got Him, Shredder (3:44)
13. Traffic Jam (1:40)
14. The Attic (2:12)
15. Explosions, The Congregation (2:36)
16. Going Home, End Titles (3:46)
Total Time: 41:21
THE FOURTH PROTOCOL is a limited edition release of 1000 units.