The Claim

The Claim

name = The Claim

caption = "The Claim" film poster deletable image-caption
director = Michael Winterbottom
writer = Frank Cottrell Boyce (screenplay)
Based on the novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy
starring = Peter Mullan
Milla Jovovich
Wes Bentley
Nastassja Kinski
Sarah Polley
Julian Richings
producer = Andrew Eaton
music = Michael Nyman
cinematography = Alwin H. Kuchler
editing = Trevor Waite
distributor = United Artists
released = December 29, 2000
runtime = 120 min.
country = United Kingdom / Canada
language = English
budget = $20,000,000 (estimated)
amg_id = 1:230195
imdb_id = 0218378

"The Claim" is a 2000 British Western/romance film directed by Michael Winterbottom. The screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce is loosely based on the novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy. The original music score is composed by Michael Nyman. It was filmed in the vicinity of Calgary, Alberta.

Plot summary

In 1867, Daniel Dillon is an Irish immigrant who settled in California during the Gold Rush of '49 and has done quite well for himself. Dillon owns nearly every business of consequence in the town of Kingdom Come; if someone wants to dig for gold, rent a room, open a bank account, or even order a drink, they have to go to Dillon to do it. One of the few profitable enterprises in town that he doesn't own is the brothel, which is operated by Lucia, Dillon's Portuguese lover. This cosy arrangement is disturbed by the arrival of a coachload of travellers.

Donald Dalglish is a surveyor with the Central Pacific Railroad, which wants to put a train either through Kingdom Come, or somewhere in the vicinity. He is here to decide the route. Dillon is anxious to ensure that the railway line is routed through "his" town, as this will bring more business. Arriving in town with Dalglish are two women, the beautiful but ailing Elena Burn and her lovely teenage daughter Hope; their presence is deeply troubling for Dillon, for they are the keys to a dark secret Dillon has kept from the people of Kingdom Come for nearly twenty years. Like Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge, he had "sold" them 20 or so years earlier, in his case to a disillusioned prospector named Burn: Burn has died, and Elena is in need of money. (A major departure from "The Mayor of Casterbridge" is that Hope is indeed Dillon's daughter.)

Much of the emotional interest in the film revolves around Dalglish's ambivalent relations with Lucia (ditched by Dillon when his wife re-appears) and Hope, who is eminently nubile and altogether "a better class of person".

The death of Elena coincides with the decision to route the railway some distance from the town. Dillon is thus faced with a double blow.

Main cast


Infobox Album
Name = The Claim
Type = soundtrack
Longtype =
Artist = Michael Nyman

Cover size = 200
Caption = design and illustration by Dave McKean
Released = January 23, 2001
Recorded = September 2000, Whitfield Street Studios, London
Genre = Soundtrack, Contemporary classical, minimalism
Length = 50:51
Language =
Label = Virgin
Director =
Producer =
Reviews = Allmusic Rating|3|5 []
Compiler =
Chronology =
Last album = The End of the Affair
This album = The Claim
Next album = String Quartets 2, 3 & 4/
If & Why

Misc =
"The Claim" is Michael Nyman's first (and, as of 2008, only) score for a Western, and his second collaboration with Michael Winterbottom. In it, in particular, in "The Shootout," Nyman pays homage to Ennio Morricone's Western scores. "The Shooting" also incorporates material from "A Zed & Two Noughts" and "Prospero's Books" in a layered manner with elements of the main themes of the score and a Morricone-style trumpet motif. The score includes the principal scalar riff that appears in numerous Nyman works, including "Out of the Ruins", "String Quartet No. 3", "À la folie", "Carrington", the rejected score from "Practical Magic", and "The End of the Affair". "The Claim" marks Michael Nyman's last use of this musical material (as of 2008).

Portions of the score appear as solo piano works on Nyman's 2005 album, "The Piano Sings", which features Nyman's personal piano interpretations of music he had written for various films.

Track listing

#The Exchange
#The First Encounter
#The Hut
#The Explosion
#The Recollection
#The Fiery House
#The Betrothal
#The Firework Display
#The Train
#The Shootout
#The Death Of Elena
#The Explanation
#The Burning
#The Snowy Death
#The Closing


The Michael Nyman Orchestra


*Alexander Balanescu (leader)
*Cathy Thompson
*Maciej Rokowski
*Patrick Kiernan
*Ann Morfee
*Mark Berrow
*Paul Willey
*Rachel Allen
*Tom Bowes

*Ian Humphries
*Boguslav Kosteci
*Dermot Crehan
*Philippa Ibbotson
*Jonathan Evans-Jones
*Julian Leaper
*Ed Coxon
*Peter Hanson
*Helen Paterson


*Kate Musker
*Steve Tees
*Vicci Wardman

*Bruce White
*Andy Parker
*Paul Martin


*Anthony Hinnigan
*Sophie Harris

*Nick Cooper
*William Schofield

Double Bass

*Mike Brittain

*Paul Sherman

Bass Guitar

*Martin Elliott

Oboe/Cor Anglais

*Chris Hooker

Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

*Dave Fuest


*Jonathan Snowden

Soprano Sax/Alto Sax

*Dave Roach

*Simon Haram

Baritone Sax

*Andy Findon

=Trumpet/Flugel/Piccolo Trumpet=

*Steve Sidwell

French Horn

*Dave Lee
*Paul Gargham


*Nigel Barr


*Greg Knowles

*Composed and conducted by Michael Nyman
*Orchestration: Gary Carpenter/Michael Nyman
*Programmer and music editor: Robert Worby
*Auricle Operator: Chris Cozens
*Orchestral contractor: Isobel Griffiths
*Engineer: Austin Ince
*Assistant Engineers: Simon Changer and Ryu Kawashima
*Recorded, mixed and edited at Whitfield Sterret Studios, London, [September 2000]
*Music published by Northlight Music Ltd. (BMI)
*Executive in charge of music for MGM: Anita Camarata
*Executive in charge of soundtracks for Virgin Records America: Cynthia Sexton

*Special thanks to Nigel Barr, Declan Colgan, Elizabeth Lloyd and Miranda Westcott
*Design/Illustration: Dave McKean at Hourglass

External links


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