FSCT Playlist #3 – Klaatu Barada Nikto!

In weeks when I’m editing the latest issue of FSMO, my listening goes way down and tends to focus on the scores we’re featuring in the magazine. Writing to music in the background helps me think creatively. Music on in the background while editing only distracts me and I can’t concentrate properly. So this past week was very light on the film score front.

  • THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951, Bernard Herrmann)—Editing Ross Care’s excellent musical analysis for the latest FSMO had me revisiting this Herrmann classic.
  • SUPER 8 (2011, Michael Giacchino)—Another accompaniment to my editing of Justin Craig’s always fun interview with Giacchino for the new FSMO. Review coming soon.
  • ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964, Nathan Van Cleave)—Standard-issue sci-fi music for the most part, but with some nice themes.
  • REVOLUTION (1985, John Corigliano)—One of my favorite scores from one of my favorite composers who I wish would write more for film and not, in the process, have his stuff rejected.
  • GREEN LANTERN (2011, James Newton Howard)—Epitomizes everything that’s wrong with film music today, and then some.
  • FIRST KNIGHT (1995, Jerry Goldsmith)—I had to wash away the bitter taste of all those electric guitars and percussion overlays with some actual music!
  • MEDAL OF HONOR (1999, Michael Giacchino)—I missed all the hoopla when these scores were first released, so they’re a pleasant discovery now.
  • THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR, VOL. 1 (Bernard Herrmann)—Essential listening in this celebratory month of Herrmann’s 100th birthday.
  • BATMAN (1989, Danny Elfman)—I never thought I’d say, “They don’t write superhero scores like Danny Elfman anymore…” Sad but true.
  • TARAS BULBA (1962, Franz Waxman)—Review of the new Tadlow recording of the complete score coming soon.
  • THE COMEDIANS (1967, Laurence Rosenthal)—I prefer my Rosenthal on the more emotional side.
  • VILLA RIDES! (1968) – THE WESTERN FILM MUSIC OF MAURICE JARRE—Review of the new Tadlow recording of the complete score coming soon.
  • LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL (1959, Dimitri Tiomkin)

Total: 13 Scores

I’ve held off making comments the past few weeks, hoping that you guys might take up the mantle and discuss among yourselves rather than have me bully my way in. I’ll try and chime in as well. Thanks as always to everyone for playing and reading.

What film scores did you listen to last week?


  1. Last week’s listens included: Braveheart by James Horner (CD found in a charity shop in Bakewell for £1.99), The Eiger Sanction by John Williams, (another great score for a mediocre film), Fantastic Four by John Ottman, (both score and film remain mediocre), Raiders of the Lost Ark by John Williams, (because you just have to, every now and again), Patton / Tora! Tora! Tora! by Jerry Goldsmith, (my dad borrowed the DVD of Patton), Underworld by Paul Haslinger, (industrial strength), X-Men: First Class, (to tide me over till I can see the film), The Music of Laurie Johnson vol 2: The Professionals, (still one of the best theme tunes ever on TV), and UFO by Barry Gray, (the scariest end titles of any TV show seen by a six year old in 1971).

  2. I started the week off listening to every score written for a Joe Johnston film. There was a discussion going on at my favorite film music message board, MainTiltes, concerning Silvestri’s up coming score to Johnston’s Captain America. I made the comment that there hasn’t been one bad score written for a Johnston film. So, I decided to revisit those score to make sure I wasn’t talking out of my ass.

    Here’s the list
    THE ROCKETEER (Horner)
    JUMANJI (Horner)
    OCTOBER SKY (Isham)
    HIDALGO (Howard)
    THE WOLFMAN (Elfman)

    It was an absolute revisiting those scores and I hope that Silvestri delivers the same quality with his first Johnston score.

    I also spun…

    FIELD OF DREAMS (Horner)

    I needed something relaxing while making dinner one night so I through those two on. I don’t think Horner has ever written a better finale cue than “The Place Where Dreams Come True” and Young honored the wonderful people of Newfoundland with his gorgeous score to THE SHIPPING NEWS. My wife and her family are all from Newfoundland and they would adopted Young’s theme as their provincial anthem if they could.

    I explored portions of FSM’s brilliant ELMER BERNSTEIN FILM MUSIC COLLECTION with spins of Rozsa’s brilliant YOUNG BESS and Newman’s delightful WUTHERING HEIGHTS but I had to stop once I got half way through Waxman’s boring THE SILVER CHALICE. Great release that contains one stinker of a score.

    Later in the week I wanted something more epic so I turned to Oscar Araujo’s video game score to CASTLEVANIA: LORD OF SHADOWS. Lots of great, traditional symphonic music coming out of Spain.

    I heard James Newton Howard’s GREEN LANTERN near the end of the week and it wasn’t that bad. It’s not what I’m use to hearing from Howard but I think my love for electronica music and TRON: LEGACY has warmed me up to THIS particular sound. “Hal Battles Parallax” is epic!

    Afterwards I turned to a more traditional Howard score, THE POSTMAN. Lots of lovely themes and exciting action material.

    And of course I spun more single-track favorites including “Reach For The Sky” by John Addision from Chandos’ The Film Music of John Addision. It’s a great compilation album that I can’t recommend highly enough.

    That’s all. Until next week happy listening!


  3. Some fine scores to go with some recent home-video releases:

    I haven’t gotten Nelson Riddle’s LOLITA YA YA out of my head the whole week. Stanley Kubrick’s smart, stimulating version of LOLITA is on blu-ray, so I gave the soundtrack CD a spin before the show.

    DARK OF THE SUN by Jacques Loussier – listened to the music in stereo before watching the newly remastered Warner Archive DVD of this top-notch actioner.

    THE CINCINNATI KID by Lalo Schifrin – wonderful melodies in an evocative, stylish score. The film looks great on the new blu-ray.

    ASTERIX AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES – After you skip past the first 4 CD pop-song cuts, Frederic Talgorn’s lush score eventually offers up an 11 minute, 43 second chariot race sequence that is an orchestral tour de force. The movie is a goofy, live-action spectacle of cartoonish proportions that I enjoyed with great guilt.

    WOMAN OBSESSED by Hugo Friedhofer – the latest Twilight Time DVD with an isolated score option. I had never seen this Susan Hayward melodrama, but it worked as great CinemaScope nostalgia for me. I ran it twice, the second time for the isolated score. Isolated scores are a great option, but I ordered the CD, which also includes IN LOVE AND WAR, right after.

    Finally, for kicks, I played the contrasting scores for PSYCHO and PSYCHO II, both equally wonderful in my opinion. Herrmann, full of inventive style, and Goldsmith, with one of his most moving, melancholic melodies.

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