This is another entry in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, focusing on the complete scores to films that have had abbreviated previous releases or have gone unreleased.
Today we are looking at Medicine Man (1992) by Jerry Goldsmith.
Medicine Man is one of the first Goldsmith scores I ever owned on CD, and I used to play the hell out of it. It remains to this day one of his most utterly gorgeous works, full of lush orchestral beauty and quiet lovely delicacy, with playful trademark Goldsmith electronics and fitting jungle musical accents, both acoustic and synthetic. In deciding to do Medicine Man for the Complete Score Breakdown Series, I was excited to find out how much music was missing from the current Varese CD release, which runs 50min09sec.
Unfortunately, there are only about 15 minutes of unreleased score. Not much! Honestly, I was hoping for a whole lot more. The unfortunate news for fans of this score hoping for an expansion is there really isn’t much unreleased material to be found, based on the film version of the complete score. The existence of alternate or unusued cues is, of course, unknown at this time. Quite simply, I love this score so much I was hoping for more of it to be released somewhere down the line, but at first glance, there isn’t much more to hear.
Having said that, the unreleased music is from Medicine Man, so it is wonderful! The absolute highlight of the undiscovered music is a film version of the CD track “Campbell and the Children” which is completely different from the CD version – much livelier, with magical, playful synths and an innocent sense of purity and wonder. Watching this scene and hearing the cue for the first time was a joy and honestly, I think the score deserves an expansion for this alternate cue alone – no joke. Also of note in the unreleased material are a cue I call “What Do You See?”, a mysterious, delicate piece that plays as Campbell (Sean Connery) tests Rae’s (Lorraine Bracco) ability to decipher the problems in his research, and “Forgiveness”, a brief but beautiful and somber string cue that underscores Campbell’s inability to forgive himself for past misgivings. Even though it’s already been released on the CD, I have to reiterate how utterly sublime “The Trees” is: one of Goldsmith’s perfect cues from his entire career, full of soaring, majestic glory.
Additionally, a few notes are made in the cue-by-cue and track-by-track sections of the complete score and CD track listings; these include CD tracks edited for the film or unused in the film. While watching the film, some CD tracks in the film appear to be longer, but often it seemed that the music was just tracked/looped to extend the music for the scene, rather than actually contain more material (i.e. “Mountain High”, “The Fire”). The CD track “The Sugar” was not used in the film.
CURRENT CD RELEASE RUNTIME: 50min 09sec COMPLETE FILM VERSION SCORE RUNTIME: 62min 45sec UNRELEASED SCORE RUNTIME: 12min 36sec
COMPLETE FILM VERSION SCORE RUNTIME + CD VERSIONS OF “CAMPBELL AND THE CHILDREN” & “WHAT’S WRONG” + CD TRACK “THE SUGAR” (UNUSED) + FULL LENGTHS OF CD TRACKS EDITED FOR FILM: 72min 40sec
Complete Score Cue Titles and Cue Times (unreleased cues named by me for the sake of identification):
1. Rae’s Arrival (5:25) 2. First Morning (1:40) – (edited from CD track time) 3. What Do You See? (2:00) 4. Rae in the Rain (0:55) 5. Campbell and the Children (2:38) – (film version) 6. Sleeping Arrangements (1:42) 7. The Cure (1:15) 8. The Trees (6:06) 9. The Harvest (3:20) 10. Campbell Apologizes (1:07) 11. Mocara (3:55) 12. Mountain High (3:45) 13. Without a Net (3:20) – (edited from CD track time) 14. Finger Painting (2:40) 15. Medicine Men (2:05) – (percussion only) 16. What’s Wrong (0:55) – (film version, edited from CD track time and ending with slow, mournful strings) 17. Forgiveness (1:33) 18. The Injection (2:00) 19. Testing (0:38) 20. The Fire (3:42) 21. Aftermath (2:54) 22. A Meal and a Bath (8:10)
Current CD Release Track Titles and Track Times:
1. Rae’s Arrival (5:10) 2. First Morning (3:49) 3. Campbell and the Children (2:00) 4. The Trees (6:04) 5. The Harvest (3:14) 6. Mocara (3:39) 7. Mountain High (2:44) 8. Without a Net (4:21) 9. Finger Painting (2:33) 10. What’s Wrong (1:55) 11. The Injection (2:12) 12. The Sugar (2:11) – (unused in film) 13. The Fire (2:14) 14. A Meal and a Bath (8:04)
Great score, but from what I remember of it in the movie you could barely hear it! Always a shame when mixing lets all that composition power go to waste. And I'm pretty sure there's a good deal of repeats in that Mountain High scene as well
Thanks for posting this one. This score brings back so many memories at the time of its release for me. The memories have nothing to do with the film, but where my life was back then. I used to listen to the hell out of it. I need to go dig this up now... The Trees is indeed one of Goldsmith's finest cues. The man had so many.
Great score, but from what I remember of it in the movie you could barely hear it! Always a shame when mixing lets all that composition power go to waste.
I definitely agree with you there! Although Goldsmith's "The Trees" definitely gets its spotlight in the film, particularly when Rae bursts through the canopy of the trees and the full theme in full orchestra shines through in all its glory...
15 missing minutes is nothing to sneeze at! I'd be all over a Deluxe Edition -- come on Varese!
Thanks for doing the breakdown.
You got it Yavar!
I agree, it's not a lot of unreleased material, but when the material is so phenomenal and it comes from the mind and heart of a film scoring legend, it deserves to be put forth, and I hope it does one day in the case of Medicine Man. Hoping there are undiscovered alternate or unused cues as well!
Though the romantic cues and those evoking the rainforest are brilliant, I really like that pulsating synth/percussion rhythm that Goldsmith uses whenever danger looms:
Great choice for a breakdown.
I agree Francis, that is a very effective device and cue. I think it really gets going when it changes pace at 0:52, and then it really soars when it spreads its wings at 1:24. Really elevates the film.