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Thursday, May 07, 2009


Twilight Zone: The Movie
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Film Score Monthly Vol.12 No.7 (US)
26 Tracks 79:10 mins

Not that there was anything wrong with the original album, which was a fine listen in its own right, but it's great that FSM has at last released Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful score for the 1983 big screen tribute to the old Rod Serling sci-fi series, The Twilight Zone, in its complete form.
The film was made up of four episodes, directed by Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Joe Dante and George Miller, the first of which, Time Out, directed by Landis, was of course plagued by ill-fortune when its star, Vic Morrow and two child actors were tragically killed on set, which threatened to stop the film in its tracks, but eventually the decision was made to continue, though it still makes this writer uncomfortable to watch that particular segment. The second episode, Kick the Can was a delightful fantasy, directed by Spielberg, which was a kind of forerunner to his take on Peter Pan, Hook. Dante's segment, It's A Good Life, was characteristically bizarre; whilst the final tale, a remake of the original Twilight Zone episode starring a young William Shatner, was Miller's Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. This and the Kick the Can segment are the strongest segments and Goldsmith's music for both is also his best work on the film.
Jerry Goldsmith of course worked on the original Twilight Zone series, so was the perfect choice to write the score(s) for this big-screen tribute and, as I said, his music for the Kick the Can and Nightmare segments stand out in particular, though his work on Time Out is perhaps most like the majority of his work on the series, using quite small forces. However, it's his work on Nightmare that most directly reminds of his score for The Invaders episode from the series, with its truly devilish string writing. If you haven't seen the film, and are a Goldsmith fan, or just a student of fine film music, you should definitely try to see this episode, as Goldsmith's music, together with some great work by John Lithgow, make this a fabulous exercise in paranoia.
As for Kick the Can, normally Spielberg excels in his work with kids and they do feature in this segment, but he also brings the best out of his elderly cast members, with Scatman Crothers particularly appealing.
Joe Dante was the most inexperienced director on the film at that time, but Spielberg recognised his potential and this was his first collaboration with Goldsmith too, but of course the pair grew to be great friends and collaborators over a series of films spanning the years up until the composer's untimely death. It's certainly the most inventive of the scores the great composer wrote for the film, with some bizarre, slapsticky musical effects, involving cowbells, a whoopee-cushion whistle and an antique car horn featured in the "Cartoon Monster" cue.
Supplementing the complete score, presented here, are a number of bonus tracks, including the two songs written for the film and performed by Jennifer Warnes and Joseph Williams respectively, plus alternate takes and, so that the original album is not forgotten, album edits are also included. Last, but not least, Marius Constant's famous TZ theme opens the album and also features at the start of the "Overture" (actually the film's End Titles), which brings together Goldsmith's main thematic material in a great summation of the score.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, with detailed notes on the film and its music, including the always invaluable cue-by-cue guide, by Jeff Bond and Mike Matessino, a reproduction of the original album liner notes, written by Carol Serling, a note from Joe Dante, and an interesting anecdote by the score's Recording Engineer, Bruce Botnick, whose work I fondly remember having the pleasure of experiencing first-hand on another Goldsmith score of that period.
As always, you can find out more, listen to samples and purchase your copy by going to, but hurry, as the 3,000 copies pressed are sure to quickly disappear.

From Costa Communications:

A Survivor receives an honorary doctorate.

Emmy winning Survivor composer Russ Landau can add doctor to his credits. The University of Bridgeport will honor alumnus Russ Landau, Class of 1977, at its 99th Commencement on Saturday, May 9th with an honorary doctorate. Landau was an accomplished musician by the time he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in music composition and theory from U of B. He performed with Paul Winter for several years, producing 14 records for the group, including the Grammy Award-winner for Best New Age Album, "Prayer for the Wild Things." He then made the transition to TV and film composing. Landau’s obvious talent and creativity has made him one of the most successful television composers today. In addition to "Survivor," he has themed and scored many other primetime series including “Fear Factor” (1, 2, 3 and 4), “Survivor UK,” “America’s Most Talented Kid,” “Dog Eat Dog,” “The Restaurant” (1 & 2), “Average Joe,” “Three Wishes,” “The Assistant,” and more. Last fall he won an Emmy for his theme for "Pirate Master," a CBS unscripted serial. Additionally he has won over a dozen Emmy nominations and ASCAP awards. Russ Landau lives in California but spends summers in Connecticut. Landau will receive a doctorate degree in humane letters.


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