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 Posted:   Oct 7, 2016 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

My recent efforts for Crawlspace, The Ceremony, and Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate didn't seem to garner much attention or comment, perhaps because they are more obscure TV projects of Goldsmith's. I'm hoping that this infamous theatrical film will get people more excited! I selected it to do next because the entire film was on YouTube so I could continue to offer the film itself for people to follow along with my time index guide to the full score:



Personally, though a bad movie, I think it's completely watchable. And the score goes a long way in making it enjoyable. I'll just give a SPOILER WARNING here about the below notes in case you want to stop reading and see the film first. A few notes about the score before I go into my track-by-track notes: First of all, it is FANTASTIC. I consider it a five-star effort all the way, evocative, exciting, and unique. Unfortunately it doesn't come across as amazing as it could on Varese's 19 minutes they were able to include on the Goldsmith at Fox box. A great deal of exciting music can be heard in the film but was left off the set because prominent synth parts were missing. If you listen to the unreleased cues in the film, you'll see why. While there are times when the synths just add a little bit of flavor and could be omitted without completely sacrificing the musical architecture, for many unreleased cues the synths are really just essential to the structure.

For my money this is some of Goldsmith's best, most interesting, least dated-sounding synth work. It fits in seamlessly with the rest of the score and I far prefer it to the way he was usually using synths in the following decade. The bulk of the unreleased music also happens to be brilliant action scoring, even if the film scenes themselves rarely live up to the music: cues I title "Setting Out", "Reunited", "Take the Wheel", and "Wrong Order / On the Road Again" are some of the best parts of the score, and their absence on CD is tragic. The other unreleased cue, "The Rocky Mountains", isn't as action-packed but is still a particular highlight because of it's uniqueness.

These five superb cues totaling almost 10 minutes are the only unreleased music heard in the film, not counting the synth overlays which were missing on some of the cues Varese did deem releasable. Interestingly however, four of the cues Varese did release on CD are noticeably truncated in the film ("Blue Sky" in particular, less than half its album length). I think it entirely possible that there may be entire cues Goldsmith wrote (and perhaps recorded) that went unused in the film, and it's certainly possible that there were difficult-to-detect microedits in the five unreleased cues that are in the film, so more than 10 missing minutes is a distinct likelihood.

A final note is about the End Credits cue -- at first glance it might seem like unreleased music that Varese could have simply included from the film's soundtrack if no other source was available. However, when listening, it quickly becomes apparent that it is in fact an edit of the hopeful new theme from the final two original cues of the score, Blue Sky and Finale (as far as I can tell, half a minute from the end of Blue Sky, edited into the last minute and a quarter of Finale). The edit between the two is done decently well and would have been hard to detect if I didn't have the separate cues on CD. What I really wonder is if Goldsmith ever got the chance to write (and perhaps record) an original end credits cue for this film, which may have gone unused because it didn't fit the timing correctly or something...in any case, though I list the End Credits below I do not include them on my "total time" calculation. I do, however, include the full cue lengths for the four truncated cues that have their complete length as released by Varese, with the film lengths (matching the time index) in parentheses:

*unreleased on CD

0:13 - 2:17 1. Main Title / The Missile Site 2:05
A fantastically exciting main title cue builds and builds with a six-note motif culminating on brass as we are introduced the one of our country’s many missile launch sites

12:37 - 15:00 2. After the Holocaust 2:24
For the entire nuclear war sequence of the film there is no music at all; it re-enters the picture only when we see the aftermath of the war, with an unnerving and brilliant cue underscoring the desolate post-apocalyptic landscape. This cue features the first prominent use of synthesizers, possibly to represent this new alien world. Other features of this unmelodic cue include strange percussion and bowing effects, as well as echoplex. (All synths and overlays appear to be present on the cue as released by Varese, which may be because the cue plays without dialogue or sound effects in the film itself.)

16:30 - 17:58 3. Into the Valley 1:45 (1:28)
The exciting six-note motif from the main title returns and develops over the course of an exciting action cue as Tanner (Jan-Michael Vincent) evades some desert fauna on his motorcycle while Keegan (Paul Winfield) watches from afar. (Though the film version of this cue contains some micro edits, it also features the first prominent synth parts, which are missing from the Varese release.)

23:06 - 24:12 4. The Landmasters 1:49 (1:06)
A brilliant and uplifting brass-led cue heralds the reveal of the landmasters. The more subtle opening 40 seconds is dialed out of the film during a conversation between Tanner and Keegan, only appearing on the film soundtrack when the garage doors open.

25:12 - 26:27 5. Setting Out 1:15 *
The first unreleased cue of the score is some fantastic action as the two landmasters set off for Albany — the powerful brass returns with a development of the main theme, but this time joined by prominent synths. (This is possibly a cue that Varese omitted due to lack of those elements, as it would be a key layer missing.)

34:55 - 37:25 6. Reunited 2:29 *
The third and most exciting action cue of the score so far, as the two landmasters try and fail to contact each other, and Keegan finally improvises a solution. Just under a minute in, the most varied and complex synths of the score enter. (This cue without those key synths would lose almost all of its impact.)

45:58 - 47:15 7. The Rocky Mountains 1:17 *
Synths begin a unique cue (a highlight of the score) with hints of more action but a greater sense of mystery and exploration as well.

51:05 - 55:21 8. Cockroach Attack 4:33 (4:16)
The most lengthy cue of the score, somewhat truncated in the film, plays as a swarm of hungry (regular-sized) cockroaches hunt the protagonists, Keegan dying in the process. (I guess he had the misfortune of being black, even though he was by far the most interesting character in the film.) Queasy string and brass effects punctuate the initial attack, eventually leaping into more Stravinskian action about halfway through the cue, the main six note theme returning in the last minute and a half.

57:44 - 59:07 9. Finding Billy 1:24
A lighter, relatively sprightly action cue, also based around the main 6 note theme, as Tanner chases down a rock-throwing kid (played by none other than a young Jackie Earle Haley!)

62:00 - 64:02 10. Take the Wheel 2:02 *
A fantastically exciting action cue as more terrain is traversed in the landmaster. The middle section which underscores a montage of life within the land master is some of Goldsmith’s most lovely impressionistic writing in the score. (This was likely omitted by Varese because of the very important synths at the beginning and end.)

71:21 - 74:00 11. Wrong Order / On the Road Again 2:39 *
Suspense gives way to another exciting action cue as the group thwarts a threatening group of survivors, transitioning immediately to a second road trip montage. This is some more good sustained thematic development and would have been a great addition to Varese’s suite of the score. Since the cue is not particularly synth heavy, perhaps the master tapes for it were not salvageable.

77:29 - 78:55 12. The Realignment 1:26
This cue begins with pitch-bending brass and a return to the unsettling textures of “After the Holocaust”, as strange lights appear in the sky while the group stops at a junkyard for parts. In the film the music is dialed in and out of the soundtrack.

84:27 - 85:22 13. Blue Sky 2:18 (:55)
This is the most substantially truncated cue in the film, only being dialed in during its brighter second half, which introduces a hopeful new theme. The cue’s title actually comes from a line of dialogue spoken by the boy, Billy, as he begins to notice the blue sky through the water still crashing over the land master’s windshield. There are some neat watery textures in the cue’s first half which would be fascinating to align with the film to see how they fit.

87:51 - 89:25 14. Finale 1:34
The theme introduced in Blue Sky gets a full orchestral flowering in this finale cue as Tanner and Billy drive towards Albany on their motorcycle, ending as they arrive at a group of welcoming people and the credits roll.

89:25 - 91:12 15. End Credits (edit) 1:47
This End Credits edit begins with the latter part of Blue Sky for the first half a minute, transitioning around 89:56 to the Finale cue again (beginning 18 seconds into it). I wonder if Goldsmith wrote an original cue for the end credits, or if to save on budget it was always going to be edited from the score. It is exceptionally strange to hear almost the exact same music played again right away.

TOTAL KNOWN SCORE TIME (omitting tracked End Credits edit): 29:00

Whether the synth parts have to be recreated/reperformed or not, this is one of my most desired Goldsmith restorations! What do you guys think, after having heard the previously unreleased music?

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:   Oct 7, 2016 - 1:22 PM   
 By:   Gold Digger   (Member)

Ah my favourite Goldsmith score. Frustrating this one may not see the light of day in full but at least we have a bit of it on the Varese box. Good piece Yavar. Great series.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2016 - 1:51 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I had no idea it was your favorite score from his entire output! I doubt it would quite make my top ten, but it's not too far off -- really fantastic and thrilling work, and some of the best remains unreleased. I really hope we get it complete one day, either because the synth parts are located, or because the synth parts are re-performed, or heck, I'd be all over a new complete Tadlow recording...Goldsmith himself already showed how fantastic this score can sound in modern sound quality, with the Main and End Title included on the Varese album Frontiers.

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2016 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

I also love this score.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2016 - 9:12 PM   
 By:   (Member)   (Member)

My recent efforts for Crawlspace, The Ceremony, and Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate didn't seem to garner much attention or comment, perhaps because they are more obscure TV projects of Goldsmith's. I'm hoping that this infamous theatrical film will get people more excited! I selected it to do next because the entire film was on YouTube so I could continue to offer the film itself for people to follow along with my time index guide to the full score:



Good job on the analysis. "Damnation Alley" is on my Goldsmith's wishlist. I watched "Damnation Alley" back in the seventies in a movie theatre, by the way. I was lucky to get the complete "Chinatown" this year: another title on my wishlist.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 3:14 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

Thanks Yavar. Much like Deputy Riley's pieces, I really enjoy reading them.
Here's my tuppence.
I remember seeing the paperback novel, on which the film is based, in the same shop I bought the Star Wars novel (which first set off the whole chain reaction that turned me into the crank I am today). It had great movie poster artwork with dark, atmospheric lightning strikes in the background of the character faces and a big blocky title.
I bought it, read it, loved it...and was amped to see the film when it came out.
When I finally saw it in the cinema in the late 70s* - bear in mind I was about 13 or 14 - I remember really liking it.
It was only a video re-watch in the 80s that lit up the terrible FX and lacklustre acting and direction. This would have been while I was taping the music onto cassette direct from the film.
But yeah, what music!
I've just watched the opening titles from the link above and I was laughing my head off at the music to visuals.
What could Goldsmith see that we can't?
Static terrible shots of extras in control rooms not even pretending to be serious or worried wink
Jerry could see World War 3.
The finale piece always reminded me of Logan's Run, in set-up, design and execution.
Two great wrap-ups in that glorious Goldsmith tradition.
This was written in Goldsmith's finest period for me and has that sound like no other. Jagged. Gritty. Lonely. Heraldic and Beautiful.
Those 20 minutes on the Varese box were a blessing.

*I've just checked and although the film opened in the USA in 1977, it didn't play in UK cinemas until 1979 (with a film called White Lightning, of which I have no memory).

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 3:30 AM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

Isn't it true that if this score could be released in as near to complete as possible it would have already been released, like twenty or more years ago? Whatever the problem is with doing that it's got to be a fairly insurmountable problem.

I'm glad for what I have of this score from the Varese box set, but as for a constant desire for the rest of the score... better not to torture yourself.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

I saw this film during its original release. The theatre was equipped with Fox's short lived "Sound 360" system, and the score was mixed to take maximum advantage of the directional sound. For example, the trumpet fanfares in the main title seemed to come from all around.

The film has a strong opening but things begin to fall apart after the nuclear holocaust. Nevertheless, Jerry's score keeps things moving. I vividly remember how great the music was when the Landmaster was shown lumbering along across the landscape. I went back to see the film again just to listen to the music.

When the Varese box came out I was thrilled to see Damnation Alley in the list of films, hoping to hear those Landmaster cues again. Alas, they were missing and we all know why.

So, I would say that a complete restored score or a re-recording is among the holiest of my holy grails.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Isn't it true that if this score could be released in as near to complete as possible it would have already been released, like twenty or more years ago?

Why would that be true, necessarily? I mean, we could have said that about a beloved classic like Tiomkin's Giant but LLL put out their complete edition only in the past year. What about The Ten Commandments, one of the most popular scores of all time? Aside from an unmentionable, Intrada's brand new release was the first time the complete score had ever been released!

"Twenty or more years ago"? That doesn't even describe when Varese included 19 minutes (two thirds of the score) on their Goldsmith at Fox box, which was only 12 years ago, and as far as they were concerned "as near to complete as possible" I guess.

Whatever the problem is with doing that it's got to be a fairly insurmountable problem.

It sounds like it is a very specific problem, actually. I guess I'll go ahead and quote the relevant paragraph from the Varese liner notes by Nick Redman:
"When the search was on a couple of years ago for all the musical elements required to put this package together, Damnation Alley was a title we really hoped to find. Several times in the last decade it had been looked for, but without success. Never quite wanting to give up, periodically we'd have another trawl to see if anything still existed. Suddenly, one day, quite literally out of the blue, Damnation Alley was found. The peculiar thing was that it happened to be located in a spot which had been gone over countless times before! Covered in dust and cowering in the corner were the faded cans that contained one of Jerry Goldsmith's finest scores, for one of his least known films. Typically, the news was both good and bad. It had mostly survived intact, but crucially, reels containing synthesizer overdubs were not there (and are still on the AWOL list). Of the nine cues included in this compilation, eight did not require the overdubs, and only one (After the Holocaust) is missing a single stem. We are prevented from releasing a complete Damnation Alley until those errant and truant synthesizer parts reveal themselves."

So you see, Varese apparently did uncover the entire score *except for the synth overdubs* and the possibility of them being uncovered hasn't been decisively ruled out at all. And even if they were lost for sure, Ford Thaxton and others in the business have strongly suggested that those synth parts could be freshly performed and recorded and melded with the surviving orchestral tapes under Goldsmith's baton.

I'm glad for what I have of this score from the Varese box set, but as for a constant desire for the rest of the score... better not to torture yourself.

So...I'm not sure what you're trying to argue. That I shouldn't have made this post and pointed out all the fantastic unreleased music for people to hear?

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 3:58 PM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

So, the score hasn't been released in as near complete as possible because of some missing synth stems? What about the film's soundtrack stems? There must be something there, if only in mono. What's the hold up?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 4:10 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

So, the score hasn't been released in as near complete as possible because of some missing synth stems? What about the film's soundtrack stems? There must be something there, if only in mono. What's the hold up?

The problem is that, without the synth stems, the cues would be meaningless. Watch the film and you'll know why.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 5:54 PM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

So, the score hasn't been released in as near complete as possible because of some missing synth stems? What about the film's soundtrack stems? There must be something there, if only in mono. What's the hold up?

The problem is that, without the synth stems, the cues would be meaningless. Watch the film and you'll know why.


I've seen the movie. So, we can't get a complete score CD then.... well, then....

TIME TO MOVE ON!!!!!!!!!!

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 6:04 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

We *could* get a complete score CD, in the following ways:

1. The original synth stems might turn up. It happens all the time. Things that were declared lost suddenly appear. They're found in mislabeled boxes, new storage is uncovered, etc. The Great Escape is just one example, and that was the complete score.

2. There might now be the technology to take the synth parts from the M&E track or even final film mix. It's not as tricky as isolating an orchestral track (which do survive for the film). It might take a lot of work, but I bet just the synth bits could be extracted with some finesse, similar to how Lukas salvaged the missing element of solo piano part to restore Elmer Bernstein's Some Came Running.

3. The synth parts could be freshly recorded, as Ford Thaxton and (I think) Jeff Bond have suggested. Of course you'd have to pay a musician with vintage synths to recreate them, and they might not sound *exactly* the same, but it could absolutely get very close, and it wouldn't be as costly as a full new recording. It would also allow for the use of the original orchestral tracks for those cues.

4. A complete new recording could be made. It was done for an even more obscure Goldsmith score, after all: The Salamander was a tremendous achievement from Tadlow (with Prometheus funding), and it even had some synths to recreate, which they did very well.

So stop raining on our parade, will ya? It might not happen, true. But it also certainly *might*!

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 6:36 PM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

So stop raining on our parade, will ya? It might not happen, true. But it also certainly *might*!

Yavar


I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but there seems little hope for a release like this, so what is it you want me to do? You gotta plan or what?

Yavar, if you haven't got a plan to make this happen... then what's the point? We all know already that we wish this score would come out, but even you yourself, Yavar, don't see any light coming down the tunnel.

Yavar, this is what I'm asking you.... Is there any hope? Is there any hope, Yavar?!!!!!!

By the way, how's that complete score to THE RUSSIA HOUSE coming? Any news on that front?

YAVAR?!!!!! I'm asking you, man!

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 7:40 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but there seems little hope for a release like this, so what is it you want me to do?

Why do you have to do anything?

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 8:33 PM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

There has to be something not just I but everyone can do to get this score on CD. I thought maybe Yavar could show us the way, but I fear he doesn't know the way.

Why, Yavar? Why?

I'm so forelorn. Yavar, you have left me alone in damnation alley.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 8:51 PM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

Here's a suite I made containing all of the (edited) unreleased bits, including that great landmaster part.

https://youtu.be/MFtj4aR3Ms0

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 9:48 PM   
 By:   Roger Feigelson   (Member)

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but there seems little hope for a release like this, so what is it you want me to do?

Why do you have to do anything?


Right. Just because a release is doubtful doesn't mean we can't talk about the score. And it is a great one, thank you Yavar for taking the time to provide the detailed breakdown.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 9:51 PM   
 By:   Roger Feigelson   (Member)

Here's a suite I made containing all of the (edited) unreleased bits, including that great landmaster part.

https://youtu.be/MFtj4aR3Ms0


Wow, there's some knockout stuff in there! Thanks for sharing.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2016 - 9:59 PM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

Here's a suite I made containing all of the (edited) unreleased bits, including that great landmaster part.

https://youtu.be/MFtj4aR3Ms0


Wow, there's some knockout stuff in there! Thanks for sharing.


My pleasure!

 
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