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Sunday, August 16, 2009


Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold
Music by Michael Linn
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1099 (US)
12 Tracks 33:03 mins

The late Michael Linn only composed the music for under a dozen films before his untimely death in 1995 and it's a wonder he did any more after his experiences on 1986's Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, an unsuccessful sequel to the enjoyable romp of the previous year, King Solomon's Mines, for which the great Jerry Goldsmith had supplied a score that was dominated by an extremely over-the-top, but nonetheless catchy march theme. It's somewhat cloudy as to whether Goldsmith was originally asked to write the music for the sequel, but in the event the powers that be decided to recycle his music instead, asking Michael Linn to provide any original music deemed necessary to supplement it. Linn wrote just over 3o minutes of music, all of which is presented on this limited edition release of just 1200 units, but he never completed the job and what he did write and record (with a smaller orchestra than Goldsmith had been afforded) was eventually tracked in, along with Goldsmith's music and cues from a couple of earlier Cannon productions, after Linn handed the reins to music editor Virginia Ellsworth, who did a creditable job under difficult circumstances. You really need to read Randall D. Larson's accompanying booklet notes to get the full picture of this whole sorry affair.
Of course this CD is not at all representative of the score as it is heard in the picture, but instead preserves Linn's contribution, more or less as originally intended, with some shorter cues combined to make for a more pleasurable listening experience.
The score is very grounded in the '80s, complete with the odd drum loop and often sounds like any number of TV show scores of the time, no doubt reflecting the limited resources Linn had at his command. The composer makes some use of Goldsmith's theme in his score, first using it in the opening cue "Train Delivery/Don't Fool With Quatermain," where it is presented straight and in romantic fashion in tandem with Linn's own original string theme. What follows is a mix of thrills, spills and intrigue, with suitable jungle colouring here and there; the jaunty "Jessie Fingered" even adding a little light-heartedness to the mix.
Linn's attractive string theme returns for its lengthiest presentation in the final cue "Dumont's Gold City," combining, as before, with Goldsmith's theme to close the album.
At the end of the day, Linn did a pretty fair job of what little of the score he was actually able to contribute. It's hardly cinematic, but compares well to the best TV scoring of the time.
Go to for samples and to order your copy.


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