Hi Folks, hope Christmas was rad, and you got a shit ton of wicked presents from Santa Klaus Kinski and watched a shit ton of awesome Christmas time films!
I don't want to beat around the bush, so I wont.
I love Jerry Goldsmith. Don't know who he is? That doesnt matter, although by the end of this epic three part article, I have a feeling you will. Even if you arent hip like me, and sit around all day listening to movie soundtracks on record, chances are you would recognise some of Goldsmiths work. Be it First Blood, Star Trek: The Next Generation, or even the psychotic carny music from Gremlins.
Chances are you have heard at least one of his themes and walked around in a circle at work whistling them to yourself amongst curses for sounding like a dweeb.
Jerry Goldsmith was born in 1929 in sunny L.A. (thats Los Angeles, you loser) and was very jewish.
After growing up learning the in's and outs of music as a whole, young Jerry found himself suddenly inspired by Miklos Rozsa's score to Spellbound, and from there, the rest as we know it, is hollywood history.
I have selected three of Jerry Goldsmiths greatest scores from between 1960 and 1980, which is no easy task i'll have you know. There are quite a few honorable mentions, and with that on top of the amazing work he produced for television, this would be a never-ending list. Please understand that these selections are based on love for the film and score AS WELL AS technicality and pure musical beauty. I understand that in some countries it may be a crime not to include Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Chinatown on this list, but it just goes to show that while those scores were magnificent, there were indeed better ones.
1976: Logan's Run
Logan's Run is one of those movies that when you look at the cover you go WOW... seventies.
This is somewhat true. The film is set in the far future, but has that kitschy seventies flair to it, giving it a dated, but entertainingly nostalgic feel. The film may come off as shiny and fun, but anyone who has seen it more than once outside of it's original release date can agree that this film has a eerily sinister undertone to it. This is aided by Goldsmiths pulsing, haunting score. And you get it in your head for days.
Have a listen, and envision the future.
1976: The Omen
There are very few scores out there that scare the fucking shit out of me. This is one of them.
Goldsmiths terrifying melodies (which earned him his only oscar) accentuate the anguish of Gregory Peck's character Robert, as he tries to come to terms with the fact that his son Damien may be the son of Satan.
Anyone who comes up to me and complains that this film is boring and outdated have either never watched the movie, or never taken care of a child. It just goes to show that a movies themes and ideas live well beyond the movie itself.
And so does the music.
This music will usher in the end of the world.
The sky will turn blood red, the sun black, and this music will be playing.
Get over that and turn it up loud, give yourself a chill.
There honestly isnt much that can be said about Alien that hasn't been said before. The film went on to spawn three sequels, and two quasi sequels, and has become one of the biggest franchises in cinema history. It all started here. Over the years i feel that the move has lost it's impact on the general public, seeing it as a B-Grade sci-fi horror, made only to get to the sequel. Sure we were spoilt so badly by Aliens, that it made Alien 3 shit, and the first Alien pale by comparison in the horror stakes. People forget the mystery, the sheer terror and suffocating claustrophobia of the first film.
Jerry Goldsmith uses a mixture of soothing classic tones and stinging, sharp slices to get the point across.
To a point, this has to be one of the most heavily imitated sci-fi scores in film history. Much like Holsts 'The Planets' set the benchmark for all sci-fi film scores to imitate before this film, this film score set the benchmark for all other film composers who have composed a sci-fi film in their time since.
Much like the film itself, spawning countless imitators over the last thirty or so years. Some of the main theme was even blatantly stolen and placed in Marc Streitenfeld's score to Prometheus, trying in the themes of cosmic mystery established by Goldmsith himself.
This music will be playing as I take off into outer space in my rocket.
So it's apparent that while Jerry Goldsmith did compose from the start of the 50's and right through the 60's, it seemed that it was during the 70's that he made his mark and hit his stride as a composer.
There were so many more to choose from, but the above three, in an aural sense, made Goldsmith a talent to be reckoned with, and the sounds and the ideas incorporated into his music resonated throughout the next 30 years.
Stay tuned for next week, where we will continue through with 1980 to 1995.