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 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

After tackling Jerry Goldsmith's third feature score, Face of a Fugitive (1959), and his first comedy feature, Take Her, She's Mine (1963), I decided to jump ahead a bit to the 70s, for this brief gem of a score for a TV movie based on a novel about the first black president of the United States (long before such a scenario became reality). Someone kindly posted it on YouTube so I was able to enjoy this telefilm starring the great James Earl Jones, and so can you:



The film is quite sparsely spotted, and most of Goldsmith's cues are brief, but they are effective and affecting. The two primary elements are a patriotic-sounding main theme which owes a debt to Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man (particularly evident in its Main Title treatment) and a more personal, weary-sounding jazz-tinged theme for the main character of Douglass Dilman. Here is my complete breakdown of the score, with detailed track-by-track liner notes. Unlike the first two unreleased Goldsmith scores I tackled, I have decided to add a new feature -- start and end times for each cue so that those interested in the music but lacking the time to view the film may skip forward to the relevant time points in the YouTube video:

6:55 - 8:31 1. Main Title / News Report 1:36
Goldsmith’s opening music strongly brings to mind Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, which was probably a temp track. Still, the brass writing in the main theme is very much Goldsmith, with punctuations which brought to mind similar effects in his Star Trek main title from seven years later. After the title sequence, the music continues with only percussion (snare drums and melodic tympani subtly continuing the main theme) under a radio report of the President’s death and announcement of the succession of Douglass Dilman, President Pro Tempore of the Senate (James Earl Jones) -- “the first Negro ever to hold the office” due to the fact that the Vice President is very ill and refuses the job.

14:21 - 14.58 2. They Drown with You :37
Some delicate woodwinds underscore a vulnerable moment between the new president and his daughter (his only close family as he is a widower).

15:41 - 17:09 3. Broken Glass 1:28
Strings and quiet brass join the woodwinds of the previous cue for a continuation of the sad mood.

20:05 - 21:15 4. Lincoln Monument 1:10
The Main Title theme returns in more subdued and ambiguous fashion as Dilman visits the Lincoln Memorial, with a powerful climax as he views the statue of Lincoln itself.

23:18 - 25:17 5. The Oval Office 1:59
Powerful brass perform the main theme while Dilman looks around his new office, with portraits of past presidents looking over him. As the scene transitions to a meeting of the cabinet, a new element enters into the score: a weary theme with jazz elements.

28:52 - 29:25 6. Honesty :33
The weary jazz theme returns after the meeting concludes and Dilman realizes the racism he will have to contend with, followed by a brief statement of the patriotic main theme.

31:17 - 32:25 7. Needed 1:08
The main theme returns on solo trumpet, but with a hint of jazz. Low strings and muted brass continue underscoring a scene between Dilman and the deceased president’s assistant of 25 years, as Dilman tells her that she should stay in her position because she is needed: “What a glorious feeling that must be.”

49:12 - 49:53 8. Presidential Montage :41
A strident cue for brass and percussion (with a very Goldsmithian off-kilter rhythm) accompanies a montage of Dilman fulfilling his presidential duties with a new vigor after a very successful press conference. Though brief, this cue is a highlight of the score.

1:01:53 - 1:02:24 9. Plot :31
This brief dissonant cue (mixed low in the film) underscores a moment when Dilman’s enemies discuss a plot to discredit him.

1:04:53 - 1:05:47 10. The Lake :54
The cue begins with more unsettling dissonant material for a continuance of the plot, but soon transitions into upbeat material underscoring a scene change to a scenic lake setting where Dilman’s daughter joins him.

1:05:52 - 1:06:24 11. Father and Daughter :32
This short cue seems to fade out as Dilman and his daughter have a conversation about the social dinner they held the previous evening. (If written music survives for this cue I strongly suspect it will reflect more music than appeared in this scene.)

1:12:18 - 1:12:56 12. Through the Plumbing :38
The plot is revealed to Dilman, but it is too late and the political damage has been done. The main theme plays briefly with a sad jazz touch.

1:21:25 - 1:21:50 13. Pick an Exit :25
After a confrontation with him in the Oval Office, Dilman’s daughter asks how to “get out of the first family.” The weary jazz theme plays briefly, then transitions to violent dissonant material for protest marchers outside.

1:24:14 - 1:24:40 For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow (source) :26
1:27:30 - 1:28:19 Hail to the Chief (source) :49

1:28:18 - 1:29:32 14. End Credits 1:14
Overlapping with the end of the previous source cue, Goldsmith’s end credits piece begins in French horns as Douglass Dilman stands at his convention podium, soon joined by other powerful brass playing a new harmonic development of the main title theme.

TOTAL SCORE TIME: 13:26 (TOTAL SOURCE MUSIC TIME: 1:15)

Since the original recording of this is apparently lost, I think this would make a fantastic "filler score" for some longer Goldsmith work. The orchestra is usually not large (though there are some big brass moments) and that combined with its brief length means it would not be too expensive to record.

I hope everyone enjoys my work. What would people like me to tackle next out of the following: Black Patch (1957), Pursuit (1972), or Shamus (1973)?

Yavar

--
Full series:
FACE OF A FUGITIVE (1959) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=113490&forumID=1&archive=0
TAKE HER, SHE'S MINE (1963) Complete Score Breakdown:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=113552&forumID=1&archive=0
THE MAN (1972) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=113568&forumID=1&archive=0
CRAWLSPACE (1972) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=116952&forumID=1&archive=0
DO NOT FOLD, SPINDLE, OR MUTILATE (1971) Complete Score Breakdown:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=116974&forumID=1&archive=0
The Waltons: THE CEREMONY (1972) Complete Score Breakdown:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=117025&forumID=1&archive=0
DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=117082&forumID=1&archive=0
PURSUIT (1972) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=117275&forumID=1&archive=0
BLACK PATCH (1957) Advance Liner Notes:
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=119663&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 4:02 PM   
 By:   SBD   (Member)

Nice work. I vote for SHAMUS next. (Be interesting if you could try THE DON IS DEAD, also.)

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 5:05 PM   
 By:   spielboy   (Member)

well, it surely sounds more interesting for a bonus track than a new suite from THE MUMMY...

I also vote for SHAMUS. Nice work, man!

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 8:10 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Thanks. It's James's money and he can do what he wants -- and I'm really looking forward to the new recording of The Blue Max -- but I also do think it would have been nice to have at least a short premiere on two discs of newly-recorded Goldsmith! Even BSX made sure to premiere a new realization (not sure if there were live instruments) of Goldsmith's short score to Seven Days in May (before Intrada later released the original recording) on their Goldsmith Rarities Vol. 1...

Well, unless a bunch of other people chime in I guess I'll be doing Shamus next (it'll have to work until next week because I've got some schoolwork to get done). I had been leaning a bit towards Pursuit, just because I found the video online at Dailymotion and can link to it for people. But I'll do them both for sure, and I think they'd make a great double-header for a new recording (similar to how Black Patch and Face of a Fugitive would fit nicely on one CD together).

Yavar

P.S. I might tackle The Don Is Dead but it's a little lower priority because I've heard there's an unmentionable of it out there (though I don't have it).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 8:55 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I like the musical descriptions, but I HATE IT when liner notes describe the on-screen action.

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2016 - 9:01 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

"Then the patriotic theme plays, then a brief passage for solo clarinet transitions to the weary jazz theme, and finally a dissonant section of material closes the cue."

It's film music. Would you really prefer I write the above with no mention of the action or plot which the music is written to accompany? Would it mean much, particularly in such a sparsely spotted score as this one? I think one has to strike a balance which I tried to do. Film music doesn't usually have the same kind of development you might hear in a symphony or concerto -- it's tied to what happens on screen. If I had a really lengthy and developed main title or end title perhaps I'd write it more in the style of classical liner notes. smile

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 5:51 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

"Then the patio tic theme plays, then a brief passage for solo clarinet transitions to the weary jazz theme, and finally a dissonant section of material closes the cue."

It's film music. Would you really prefer I write the above with no mention of the action or plot which the music is written to accompany? Would it mean much, particularly in such a sparsely spotted score as this one? I think one has to strike a balance which I tried to do. Film music doesn't usually have the same kind of development you might hear in a symphony or concerto -- it's tied to what happens on screen. If I had a really lengthy and developed main title or end title perhaps if write it more in the style of classical liner notes. smile

Yavar


This is just my opinion. If you describe the cues for someone who has not seen the film, you're either providing spoilers, or you are inviting the reader to ignore the liner notes - which is exactly what I do in situations in which I have not seen the film.

I listen to film music albums as exactly that, albums, and I think liner notes do much better when they describe overall moods and means used to achieve them - independently of what is seen on screen.

"...Film music doesn't usually have the same kind of development you might hear in a symphony or concerto…" Either do many jazz albums, and you can find plenty of examples of insightful jazz iner notes. Perhaps you are limiting your approach by placing music within the context of "classical" music.

I may be in the minority, but I know I am not alone in this opinion.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 7:14 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Given that scores exist only because of and to support on screen action, it of course is natural and sensible to include comments on the action in notes on the album releases of movie scores. Even pretend ones wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 7:56 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Yavar, I'm enjoying reading these score break downs. I like your style and descriptions. I'm a western nut, so I'd love to read about Black Patch, but I'd like to read about Shamus too. Just keep going.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 1:31 PM   
 By:   Great Escape   (Member)

"Then the patriotic theme plays, then a brief passage for solo clarinet transitions to the weary jazz theme, and finally a dissonant section of material closes the cue."

It's film music. Would you really prefer I write the above with no mention of the action or plot which the music is written to accompany? Would it mean much, particularly in such a sparsely spotted score as this one? I think one has to strike a balance which I tried to do. Film music doesn't usually have the same kind of development you might hear in a symphony or concerto -- it's tied to what happens on screen. If I had a really lengthy and developed main title or end title perhaps if write it more in the style of classical liner notes. smile

Yavar


I agree. And thanks for your passion.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 1:55 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

This is just my opinion. If you describe the cues for someone who has not seen the film, you're either providing spoilers, or you are inviting the reader to ignore the liner notes - which is exactly what I do in situations in which I have not seen the film.

Well, in this case I also provided the film first for people interested in seeing it. They could certainly wait to read my notes until after they saw the film. But in general, you're certainly entitled to your opinion about not liking any mention of scene or plot in liner notes. But in my view you might as well just have general Kritzerland-style notes at that point which also don't go in depth on the musical material itself.

I listen to film music albums as exactly that, albums, and I think liner notes do much better when they describe overall moods and means used to achieve them - independently of what is seen on screen.

Funny that in one week I get your reply saying this and McD in the Elfman/Burton thread taking me to task for treating film scores as musical works separate from their films. smile

"...Film music doesn't usually have the same kind of development you might hear in a symphony or concerto…" Either do many jazz albums, and you can find plenty of examples of insightful jazz iner notes. Perhaps you are limiting your approach by placing music within the context of "classical" music.
I may be in the minority, but I know I am not alone in this opinion.


I know. And I don't place all film music within the context of classical music. But I'm a bit confused. Isn't your problem with what I did above exactly that I did treat it differently from concert music?

Yavar

P.S. Thanks for the support Joan, Sean, and Great Escape! smile I will try to tackle Shamus, Pursuit, and Black Patch next week.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


Well, in this case I also provided the film first for people interested in seeing it. They could certainly wait to read my notes until after they saw the film. But in general, you're certainly entitled to your opinion about not liking any mention of scene or plot in liner notes. But in my view you might as well just have general Kritzerland-style notes at that point which also don't go in depth on the musical material itself.


I don't see it as one or the other. You can go into musical detail without explaining that, onscreen, Biff is taking a pee while Jethro carves a pumpkin.


Funny that in one week I get your reply saying this and McD in the Elfman/Burton thread taking me to task for treating film scores as musical works separate from their films. smile


It's hard to win around here, isn't it? smile


I know. And I don't place all film music within the context of classical music. But I'm a bit confused. Isn't your problem with what I did above exactly that I did treat it differently from concert music?


I may have misinterpreted your point. I was simply saying that you can talk about film music as its own thing and describe the music without either (a) feeling compelled to talking about it like a classical work, or (b) explaining the onscreen action.

By the way, I appreciate your contributions. I was simply stating my preference for discussions of the music without direct scene-by-scene descriptions of the visuals.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2016 - 5:14 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Given that scores exist only because of and to support on screen action, it of course is natural and sensible to include comments on the action in notes on the album releases of movie scores.

There are hundreds if not thousands of examples of film score liner notes that do not take this approach.

 
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