Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Music by John Barry
BSX Records BSXCD 8846 (US)
14 Tracks 41:24 mins

Back in the 1970s, British model Caroline Munro became famous as the Lamb's Navy Rum girl. Her face was everywhere and this fame soon lead to her nabbing a few film roles, as in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, Dracula A.D. 1972, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter. Her first starring role as such was however for the 1978 Italian Star Wars inspired Starcrash. Sci-fi fans, their enthusiasm fueled by the former, were eager to take in anything that in any way resembled it, and I can count myself as one of them, but were mostly disappointed, as I was, by the film, and Ms Munro's film career hardly flourished after this role.
The music for Starcrash was composed by John Barry, his first sci-fi score, and his theme for Munro's character, Stella Starr is something of a cousin to his Oscar-winning theme for the later Out of Africa, only taken at a snappier pace, with stylistically similar rhythmic accompaniment to that used by the composer in the same year's Game of Death. After the initial playing of "Stella's Theme" over the "Main Title," "Escape into Hyperspace," Barry's secondary theme, is a steady, propulsive affair that reminds a little of his work in the Bond series, and also of future music for Legend of the Lone Ranger. "Captured" is suitably downbeat and anguished, whilst "Launch Adrift" is very suggestive of the vastness of space, with its repeating piano figure. "Beach Landing" is a grimly propulsive affair, and is followed by the suitably cold, electronically enhanced "The ice Planet/Heading for Zarkon," which ends in an ominous processional. The repetitive "The Emperor's Speech" ends with a brief reprise of "Stella's Theme," but continues in ominous mode into "Strange Planet," before wild percussion adds threat to "The Troggs Attack." The tense "Akton Battles The Robots" is another repetitive track, reminiscent of his work on historical films like Mary, Queen of Scots and The Lion in Winter. The brief, but anguished "Network Ball Attack" follows, before the composer combines his main and secondary themes for "Space War." A more leisurely variation on "Stella's Theme" follows in "Goodbye Akton," complete with the tinkling piano of "Launch Adrift," with the score ending on a reprise of the "Main Title" version of the theme.
There's much to enjoy about this score, particularly for fans of the composer, who can spot all the similarities to pieces that came both before and after Starcrash; and this is certainly a good time to be a Barry fan, what with this release and Intrada's recent The Golden Seal and Until September; but there are still plenty of unreleased scores, particularly of his States side work in the '70s and '80s that I personally would love to see make it to CD.
Star Crash has previously been available both on LP and CD, but has been hard to find for some time now, so this digitally remastered reissue is very welcome and there is a bonus "Starcrash Suite" tagged onto the end of the album, largely featuring both fast and slow versions of "Stella's Theme," to boost the playing time by another 7 minutes.
The disc is accompanied by a colourful booklet, featuring stills and artwork from the film together with Randall D. Larson's notes on both film and score. Limited to just 1500 units, this album is sure to sell fast, so i should get along to if you want to add it to your collection.


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