STEPPING BACK IN TIME WITH RUSSELL GARCIA.
Many of you like me remember the great movies of the 1950’s and the 1960’s and categorize many of these as classics with iconic scores by composers who went onto become household names, if you were a soundtrack collector that is. One composer who I remember because of just one score is Russell Garcia, who wrote the music for the George Pal movie The Time Machine. The movie which was produced and directed by George Pal was released in 1960. At first the film was entitled H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, because it was based upon the 1895 novella by the author, its, a movie that attracted the attention of many, and I can also remember seeing it in the cinema when it was re-released a few years after its initial run.
It’s a movie that also shows up on TV regularly and each time I just must sit and watch it from beginning to end. I think it was more the movie that I was firstly attracted to but as my interest in music for film grew, I discovered the music that Russell Garcia had penned for the film. I suppose it is also a good thing that my focus on the movie and its storyline was not distracted by the musical score, it was something that I took for granted because it was not only good and supportive of the movie but was an important and integral part of the unfolding and ever-changing storyline. They often say that if you notice the music in a movie then it is not really doing what it is supposed to. So, I guess that Garcia’s music for The Time Machine, was working with and for the movie. His rich and dramatic symphonic compositions were to become a regular listen for me when I finally added the soundtrack to my collection.
In 1987 the composer recreated his atmospheric and breath-taking score when he conducted the Graunke Symphony Orchestra in Munich. The result of these sessions was a re-recording of the score. Now some thirty-five years on we are once again to be treated to this brilliant score, which has been superbly re-mastered from the original digital stereo elements, this latest edition of the score contains previously unreleased material. With Garcia’s suite from Atlantis, The Lost Continent included which he also re-recorded.
This stunning compact disc release is packaged in a jewel case and contains an informative and colourful twenty-page booklet. The booklet contains an interview with the composer and background information on the movie and its score written by the producer of the disc Arnold Leibovit. It also has attractive cover art which has been designed by Jim Titus.
It’s a limited-edition release and one that every film music fan should own and is available now. The Time Machine, the movie I think stands out as one of George Pal’s most accomplished pieces of cinema, and as a fantastic slice of science fiction in film full stop. The film is one that you just cannot stop watching, and stars Rod Taylor, as a Victorian scientist, who I have always assumed was H. G. Wells? He invents a machine that hurtles him through time to the far distant future world in the year 802,701 where we find that mankind has evolved into two species.
A gentle surface-dwelling, vegetarian, childlike, pacifist race called the Eloi, and the brutal, beastly, meat eating, Morlocks who live beneath the Earth and prey upon the weaker and more subdued race that live on the surface, feeding on them.
The movie also starred Yvette Mimieux and Alan Young, Young. I think was probably the most liked character in the story and we see the relationship between his character Filby and Rod Taylor’s time traveller develop and grow over the years and at various stages of the film, with Taylor moving back and forward in time experiencing the past and being shocked at times by the future of the earth.
Gene Warren and Tim Baar received the Oscar for Best Special Effects which was mainly due to the time-lapse photographic sequences, that effectively and convincingly show the world rapidly altering, most effectively via a tailor’s dummy in a shop window, where we see the fashions changing as the time traveller journeys to the future accompanied by Garcia’ music which has a slightly more comedic tone to it in places during this sequence.
The imagery and the sets are wonderful, and the direction is nothing short of brilliant. Russell Garcia’s score fuses the dramatic with the romantic and adds much to the overall mood and atmosphere of the film. The composer captures the frightening and brutal world of the Morlocks, but at the same time underlines the beautiful and for the most part carefree world of the Eloi.
It also provides a strong and slightly darker musical persona for the Time Machine itself, which is driving as well as melodic. Overall, the music has to it full and rich sound that is lavish at key moments within the movie, with the composer utilising the string section to great effect. .
Garcia’s lilting theme for Filby is subtle and filled with melancholy and tenderness. Which conveys the warmth of the friendship between him and George (Rod Taylor’s character )throughout the movie.
The theme that the composer created for Weena, which is the Love theme from the score, is beautiful and gracious. Again the string section is utilised to maximum effect. Garcia’s driving and highly dramatic action cues for the movie are fairly typical of the style that many other composes employed when scoring films during this period, but work wonderfully punctuating and adding tense and nervous support to the time travellers violent encounters with the Morlocks.
Percussion is combined with rasping brass flourishes and swirling strings to underline the ferocious creatures as they attempt to kill the time traveller. The score is wonderfully expressive and sensitive, and I am pleased that this glorious music has at last been re-issued in its re-mastered and complete form. The soundtrack is available now from, The Time Machine – Puppetoon Productions Be quick though it is a limited edition.