Soundtrack News & Reviews

December 14, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Just uploaded is a quartet of soundtrack reviews, with another handful to appear every two days, as there’s a very large stack of CDs and digital albums (‘virtually’ speaking, of course) in need of being completed before a fat baby in diapers flies across the horizon and nails a long white banner across the sky, reading “2012.” (This is really what happens at the stroke of midnight every December 31st. We regular humans can’t see it, but generations of commercial illustrators and cartoonists have broken the fifth wall and seen how we move into a New Year. Fat, diapered babies with wings. No lies.)

Uploaded is a review of Henry Jackman’s surprisingly punchy & fun score for Puss in Boots [M] (Sony Classical); Trading Places [M] (La-La Land), Elmer Bernstein’s (unintentional) seasonal salute to cruel moral jokes; and a pair of underrated Jerry Goldsmith classics from the early nineties: Forever Young [M], and the ridiculously titled Sleeping with the Enemy [M] (also La-La Land).

As soundtrack fans may have noticed, Varese Sarabande’s mega-set Bernard Herrmann at 20th Century-Fox was available for pre-order and pretty much sold out in 2-3 days, which is astonishing when the barometer seems to have inferred Golden Age soundtracks are no longer selling as much as before, and people are broke. In truth, it may simply be a case where Herrmann is inherently ‘golden’; and the set was a rare chance to acquire in one shot previously released, newly expanded, and premiere music by a temperamental genius whose work for Fox also ranks as some of the best produced by said studio.

The $200 price tag was / is daunting, but that’s what VISA is for, isn’t it? Flippant remark aside, it is good to see the hard work of the set’s producers & label paying off fast enough to cover current and planned endeavors, but it shows what a crap shoot limited editions are; as some posts at the FSM message board have shown, it seemed less would be willing to spend so much when there is an ongoing wealth of soundtrack music and economic times aren’t great, but apparently the uniqueness of the set were too hard to pass up. I just hope this doesn’t mean fans will have to hit the Purchase button as soon as pre-order card is uploaded; you want a reasonable time to weight the decision to buy.

Intrada’s latest (and much-anticipated) year-end sets aren’t limited editions, which means there will be time to snap up the new 2-CD set of Jerry Goldsmith’s Sand Pebbles (one of his best scores, and probably the most gut-wrenching Main Title music of the sixties); Leonard Rosenman’s chiming, clanging, and rambunctious Star Trek IV; and the album few figured would ever get a restoration – John Barry The Wrong Box.

Frankly, anything from the old Mainstream LP catalogue always sounded like an impossible feat because the label itself seemed rather disorganized, releasing split-run mono and stereo LPs, with the latter sometimes hybrids of stereo/mono/bullshit stereo cues.

Wrong Box was in fact a top collectible LP, and I got lucky when I unearthed a mono copy in the used bin at Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum when I was in high school. It was cheap, dinged up, and the sound quality was so wan that I didn’t care for Barry’s score. I ultimately sold the LP without any guilt, but perhaps now is the time to reassess the score (and maybe the film) in what is probably its best possible release. Congrats to Intrada for persevering on this one, and perhaps they’ve now got an in towards releasing other gems in the Mainstream catalogue. Would love to see a full release of Malcolm Arnold’s The Heroes of Telemark (1965).

Little by little the Most Valuable and Rarest LPs are being superseded by CD releases, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Twilight Time’s upcoming Roots of Heaven might have a stereo track of Arnold’s isolated score. (The LP was once valued at between $250-$500, but the platter was in fact a straight, flat, mono mix-down from the original stereo elements.)

While my review of Twilight Time’s Mysterious Island Blu-ray will run in the January issue of Rue Morgue magazine, coming soon to will be reviews of the new BR’s for Tom Holland’s Fright Night, and John Guillerman’s Rapture, which I’ve never seen, but will run alongside some related film reviews.

Coming really shortly, a review of Roman Polanski’s Carnage, and news of upcoming tributes and retros in and around T.O.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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