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I don’t know about you, but it seems to me, there is always a catalyst that propels one to the life time interest of film music.
You might be interested in film music before, but one score that can set you on a lifetime love of music . For me it happened it seems almost a lifetime away at the now sadly gone ABC Regal Cinema in Torquay. There I experienced Otto Preminger’s epic for that year, IN HARM’S WAY. When you think of the stellar cast he managed to assemble, names now mostly no longer with us, it was quite an achievement. Preminger also liked to experiment, if that is the right word with his composer. He didn’t repeat his musical choice, but each time found someone new, and relatively untried – witness Hugo Montenegro for HURRY SUNDOWN – Did he ever come up with a better score than that? So for IN HARM’S WAY, he picked Jerry Goldsmith, then an experienced novice if you like with a few great scores under his belt even then.

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Little did I know as the film unrivalled that I would actually see Mr Goldsmith at the piano during the opening scene. I think it was years afterwards before I found that out

So as I mentioned, that was the one. For me Goldsmith contained everything I wanted to hear in a film score, and of course you have to bear in mind the choice available to him in the Sixties. War Dramas, Comedies, Spy Thrillers, Sci- Fi, Intimated stories., let alone the TV series that came from most of the big studios at the time. He could do everything as we now well know, . .

IN HARM’S WAY contained all the elements of a great score . Dramatic action pieces, THE ROCK, which we now know was for a different place entirely. NATIVE QUARTER, strings against a wonderful percussive background, A more mature Love theme for THE ROCK AND HIS LADY, and a different one for Tom Tryon and Paula Prentiss, and a suitably symphonic finale which brought the LP, then and now CD to a fitting close . It is worth mentioning that RCA at the time thought of it as more of a …………. well, let me quote from a advert for the LP that appeared in , I think Playboy but I can’t be sure, and it is worth quoting in full “Starting with the sound and fury of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the music sets the mood for the dramatic events that followed. There’s “Love Theme”, the big soaring main theme… “Liz” a dance band swinger that captures the off – limits, honky tonk atmosphere of parties in Honolulu… and “Night Swim”, that tells musically of a passionate interlude in the moonlight surf. This is the music that was born of the war years – the big band sound reminiscent of Glenn Miller and Harry James – played in a modern style that makes it timely for listening and dancing pleasure today!.” Well full marks for the copywriter, but I wonder if he actually heard the LP in the first place. Still one can see how Neely Plumb – the Producer and Goldsmith came up with the choices of what to put in ,and more importantly leave out.

It came out first in the UK on RCA Records in 1965, and in the CD era, firstly I believe around the late eighties from SLC in Japan, and then on Intrada, more than once. Now we have an expanded LP with tracks that did not make it on to the original album, coupled with a full re mastered LP a la RCA album I don’t know if you have noticed but a number of new releases are doing this. BASIC INSTINCT probably being the latest. I guess if this wasn’t done, then there would be little take up at all, for after all BASIC INSTINCT has been around a few times as well.

Will you get this one for basically three extra cues.? One by the British Composer Eric Coates, that opens the film, a short cue by Goldsmith called SILVER SEA and the undoubtedly highlight OLD SWAYBACK, a full one minute , twenty three seconds of Goldsmith at his scintillating sixties best. .

We don’t have the electronic hums that accompanied the Battleships approaching each other, A marvellous short cue when Brandon De Wilde is heading into battle in his Torpedo Boat, and the almost Jaunty cues when Australian Stanley Holloway leads the commandoes on a reconnaissance mission.

Fifty years we have been waiting but unless somewhere in the depths of Paramount vaults there is a rusty tin , unmarked that contains these cues, I suspect this fan will be heading one day to the great recording booth in the sky still waiting!!

So what do you do. What a question!! You go and buy it of course and go down on bended knees that there is Douglass Fake out there, who is still bringing out these gems . I am not sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the latest blockbuster by Michael Giacchino, Philistine that I might be, and as there ain’t a great deal of lost scores appearing these days, a Sixty year old classic is just music to my ears. There must be a God after all!!

JOHN WILLIAMS

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