John Murphy’s Anonymous Rejected Filmscore

February 5, 2015 | By
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John Murphy’s Anonymous Rejected Filmscore.

Just posted on iTunes,  Libsyn, and’s YouTube channel is a podcast with composer John Murphy, who discusses his latest album Anonymous Rejected Filmscore, available digitally, on CD, and in a new 2-LP edition from

It’s both an unusual yet obvious title – the album features thematic material which Murphy further developed after a score for an unnamed film was rejected by the powers that be.

It’s happened to many composers: the iconic Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Howard Shore come to mind, and even Alex North had his music for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) scrapped by director Stanley Kubrick due a series of power issues between what studio MGM wanted as insurance – a palatable, more traditional score for what they feared might be an unsellable avant garde film – and the director’s intentions to match his montages with music he felt was correct.

North reportedly reworked some of the rejected elements in his scores for the TV docu series Africa (1967) and the visually gorgeous Dragonslayer (1981), whereas the bulk of John Ottman’s unused cues from Halloween H20 (1998) were released in a branded ‘Music inspired by’ album to wiggle through the rights and legal agreements. (Most of the film features re-recorded cues from Marco Beltrami’s Scream).

Bernard Herrmann’s Torn Curtain (1966) was junked early into the recording stage by director Alfred Hitchcock, and thus far only a handful of the original cues have appeared on CD, whereas both Bernstein and label Varese Sarabande separately re-recorded the music so it can exist in some form.

Even award-winning, best-selling composer Henry Mancini joined the exclusive club when his Frenzy (1972) score, also for a Hitchcock film, was replaced; with the exception of a rerecorded cue, nothing else has been released so far, probably because Universal still owns the music. They commissioned it, paid for it, and it’s up to them if they want to release it, or let it breed more dust. The issues of who owns a rejected score also pops up in my discussion with Murphy, as he was able to release his music in full form. Also touched upon are aspects of his style, the use of distortion and vintage analogue recording gear, and the album’s emergence on LP.

Normally I create some background visuals to enhance the YouTube version of the podcast, but this month’s schedule is a little tight, and what began as an extract has kind of morphed into something long-form.

The following frame grabs are from the ever-shifting background video tracks, and the final edit should be done by the end of the month:









Coming shortly is a review of Murphy’s album, and some related documentaries, including Vinyl, Alan Zweig’s idiosyncratic but brutally honest portrait of the extreme vinyl collector, circa 2000.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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