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Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: Tribute to Jerry Goldsmith

Aug. 3, 2012by: Paul Huffman
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There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever.

Jerry Goldsmith, born February 10, 1929, built a career composing for films and television that lasted six decades. He has collaborated with some of the industrys best directors including Howard Hawks, Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg. He most frequently collaborated with director Franklin J. Shaffner on films like Planet of the Apes. He has been nominated for many awards including 17 Academy nominations, in which he won for his work on The Omen. We pay tribute to the man today thanks to his stellar work on Paul Verhoevens classic Total Recall. Jerry Goldsmith, we salute you.

1. THE OMEN

Does Jerry Goldsmith have himself unlimited access to my mind? Because if I were having nightmares about Satans snot nosed little brat then Ave Satani is exactly the piece of my music that would course its way through my consciousness. The piece captures the doom and gloom of who this kid is inevitably going to turn out to be beautifully. The Latin lyrics repeated in the track, "Sanguis bibimus, corpus edimus, tolle corpus Satani translate to "We drink the blood, we eat the flesh, raise the body of Satan. So what I think Goldsmith was going for here was something that would be powerful and uplifting, that would give the viewer a sense of hope. Job well done Jerry. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. ALIEN

This wonderful piece of horror from Ridley Scott made love to our eyes, our minds, and yesour ears. For Alien, Goldsmith created a perfectly dark, ominous, foreboding companion piece to an equally dark and foreboding film. Why it wasnt nominated for Best Original Score, it being just as deserving as Goldsmiths worthy work for Poltergeist is lost on me. The film did get some love by at least being nominated by the AFI for their 25 greatest film scores list, Goldsmiths scores for Chinatown and Planet of the Apes actually made the cut. SIDE NOTE: the films end credits contain snippets of Goldsmiths original score for Freud. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. STARK TREK

I didnt grow up as a trekkie, especially of the original series/films, a bit before my time folks. But I didnt have to be a fan of the original film (which I wasnt) to appreciate how iconic this score really is. My folks were fans of the first few films and I was able to admire the music in passing. It was the adventurous soundtracks that captured my imagination as a kid, and Goldsmiths work on Star Trek definitely fit that mold. The soundtrack was nominated for an Academy Award but didnt get the win; in fact the only award Goldsmith has ever grabbed was thanks to the aforementioned The Omen. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. MULAN

I thought a bit out of the box for this entry, but its the kid in me that loves the soundtracks to Disney films that just had to include this gem. The track Ive selected to feature is actually a work of genuine brilliance if you ask me; you know those scenes in movies that contain music that let you know shit just got real? Yep, thats what we have here. Mulan as a whole is Disneys last true 2D animated classic, a job well done by the filmmakers and Goldsmith. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score but was defeated by Shakespeare in Love. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. POLTERGEIST

PG-13 horror that actually scared the piss out of me, thanks to Poltergeist no filmmaker can ever say that you cant make PG-13 horror work and make it frightening. And yes folks, the terror was enhanced courtesy of the man of the hour Jerry Goldsmith. If possible, dare I say the soundtrack was a bit more unsettling than the film itself. Goldsmith exercised some range for this bad boy though, by also composing tracks like Carol Annes Theme, which capture the calm before the storm. Like so many Goldsmith scores, the soundtrack was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to John Williams work for E.T. Okay, that one I can let slide. Purchase the soundtrack here

HONORABLE MENTION: PLANET OF THE APES
Extra Tidbit: Any Jerry Goldsmith gems I'm leaving out folks? Let me know what your favorites are. Also, if you have ideas for a theme for this column you'd like to see, give me a holler at paulhuffman@joblo.com
Source: JoBlo
Tags: soundtracks

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4:40PM on 08/03/2012
Rudy is fantastic, one of the best scores for a sports film ever.
His other Star Trek Scores (Final Frontier, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis) are all good, as well as his theme for the tv show Star Trek Voyager.
I also like The Mummy, First Knight, and The Edge.
Rudy is fantastic, one of the best scores for a sports film ever.
His other Star Trek Scores (Final Frontier, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis) are all good, as well as his theme for the tv show Star Trek Voyager.
I also like The Mummy, First Knight, and The Edge.
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12:47PM on 08/03/2012
Great selects here. It's hard to single out so few! But he certainly was a master composer often unrecognized for his great works. I mean, even his last score, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, was surprisingly good. My personal favorite? The 'Burbs. Also great that haven't yet been mentioned: Basic Instinct, The Russia House, Lionheart, Hoosiers, Baby Secret of the Lost Legend, Patton and Under Fire.
Great selects here. It's hard to single out so few! But he certainly was a master composer often unrecognized for his great works. I mean, even his last score, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, was surprisingly good. My personal favorite? The 'Burbs. Also great that haven't yet been mentioned: Basic Instinct, The Russia House, Lionheart, Hoosiers, Baby Secret of the Lost Legend, Patton and Under Fire.
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4:32AM on 08/03/2012

Thank you

For paying tribute to one of the greatest composers who ever was and ever will be. This man really liked to push the boundaries of the traditional movie score and I have always loved him for it. My personal favorites are The 13th Warrior and Rudy. I'm not a big fan of American football, but damn if I don't want to go tackle someone larger than me every time I hear those crescendos in Rudy.

On a cooler note, I once heard that he proclaimed that Total Recall was one of his best scores...
For paying tribute to one of the greatest composers who ever was and ever will be. This man really liked to push the boundaries of the traditional movie score and I have always loved him for it. My personal favorites are The 13th Warrior and Rudy. I'm not a big fan of American football, but damn if I don't want to go tackle someone larger than me every time I hear those crescendos in Rudy.

On a cooler note, I once heard that he proclaimed that Total Recall was one of his best scores... AMEN
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3:43AM on 08/03/2012
Extra Tidbit: First Blood, in fact his Rambo trilogy is amazing.
Extra Tidbit: First Blood, in fact his Rambo trilogy is amazing.
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2:14AM on 08/03/2012
I'm a big fan of his work. There's an urban legend that Bernard Hermann pulled Jerry Goldsmith aside early in the latter's career and said "your music is too good for these movies". I'm not sure how verifiable that is, but it sure looked that way - his soundtracks were easily the best parts of some of the early, lower-grade films he worked on. I really liked his King Solomon's Mines score, that was jaunty and clearly influenced by John Williams' Raiders score, but distinct enough to be its own
I'm a big fan of his work. There's an urban legend that Bernard Hermann pulled Jerry Goldsmith aside early in the latter's career and said "your music is too good for these movies". I'm not sure how verifiable that is, but it sure looked that way - his soundtracks were easily the best parts of some of the early, lower-grade films he worked on. I really liked his King Solomon's Mines score, that was jaunty and clearly influenced by John Williams' Raiders score, but distinct enough to be its own thing. His Star Trek (not Stark Trek as is written in the article) work really stands out, the end credits for "First Contact" was a rousing, majestic and sensitive piece of music all at once. His Air Force One score is a favourite of mine, because he was pulled in at the last minute to write a score to replace Randy Newman's, which was deemed to jokey and lighthearted for the movie. Goldsmith's Air Force One theme sounds immediately patriotic, conveying a sense of power and bravado, and a softer bit with the strings that was reminiscent of the Star Trek theme but fit the film.
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