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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
Music by Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $4.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: July 2001
Catalog #: Vol. 4, No. 10
# of Discs: 1

Before John Williams was Irwin Allen's composer of choice, the team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter were the regular musicians for the future Master of Disaster. Sawtell and Shefter scored Allen's early films The Big Circus (1959) and The Lost World (1960), and Sawtell alone scored Allen's debut documentaries The Sea Around Us (1951) and The Animal World (1956), as well as his Jules Verne adventure Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962).

In 1961 Sawtell and Shefter scored a feature film which would become the first of many Irwin Allen franchises for Twentieth Century Fox: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The film introduced the Seaview, a futuristic submarine commanded by Admiral Nelson, played by Walter Pidgeon and later by Richard Basehart in the 1964-1968 spin-off TV series. The Seaview must brave undersea monsters, a treacherous minefield, sneaky saboteurs and its own navy in order to save nothing less than the world itself.

Veterans of sci-fi films such as Kronos and The Fly, Sawtell and Shefter provided the perfect accompaniment to the Irwin Allen mindset, emphasizing danger, action, suspense and adventure on (and under) the seas. Although Sawtell later wrote the theme and five episode scores for the Voyage TV series, the feature score is its own entity; Russell Faith wrote the title song (performed by Frankie Avalon, who also plays a supporting role) and Sawtell and Shefter elaborated on its melody for most of their score, with gorgeous underwater "travelogue" music. They also captured seafaring tropes which have since become standard in space-based sci-fi scores like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Starship Troopers—and of course the pair broke out the classic Hollywood monster-movie aesthetic for the moments of high peril.

Sawtell and Shefter were Hollywood workhorses but are seldom represented on CD. FSM addresses this oversight with a full stereo remix of the complete score to this genre classic. The CD features liner notes by Irwin Allen expert Jeff Bond plus rare stills from the Fox archives.

Paul Sawtell Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Paul Sawtell (1906-1971) was a Polish-born composer who worked on dozens if not hundreds of films—many of them horror and western B-movies—at Universal, RKO and other studios in the 1940s and '50s. He scored a number of sci-fi and genre productions in the late '50s and '60s, many of them in partnership with Bert Shefter, including several projects for Irwin Allen, like the feature film and TV series of Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaIMDB

Bert Shefter Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Russian-born Bert Shefter (1902-1999) had a solo career as a composer for B-movies before teaming with Paul Sawtell from roughly 1956-1971 (until Sawtell's death). Together they tackled a variety of genre films including The Fly, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Last Man on Earth and Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill! IMDB

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Paul Sawtell

Violin:
Victor Arno, Sol Babitz, Israel Baker, George Berres, Henry Camusi, Joachim Chassman, Kurt Dieterle, Adolph DiTullio, David Frisina, Louis Kaufman, Marvin Limonick, Paul Lowenkron, Lewis Main, Jr., Irma W. Neumann, David Selmont, Jack Shulman, Paul C. Shure

Viola:
Myer Bello, Alvin Dinkin, Alex Neiman, Sven Reher

Cello:
Joseph Coppin, Joseph DiTullio, Ossip Giskin, Kurt Reher

Bass:
Hy Lesnick, Melvin S. Pollan, Meyer (Mike) Rubin, Kenneth Winstead

Flute:
Arthur Hoberman, Luella Howard, Sheridon W. Stokes

Oboe:
William Kosinski, Gordon Pope

Clarinet:
Russell Cheever, Abe Most, William A. Ulyate

Bassoon:
Don Christlieb, Ray Nowlin

French Horn:
Vincent N. DeRosa, Vincent DeRubertis, Fred Fox, Harry Schmidt

Trumpet:
Frank Beach, John Clyman, Robert Fowler

Trombone:
Charles Bovingdon, Clarence "Pete" Carpenter, Ray Klein, Richard "Dick" Nash, Bill Williams (aka George Davenport)

Tuba:
Clarence Karella

Piano:
Milton Raskin, Urban Thielmann

Novachord:
Ingolf Dahl, Robert Van Eps

Guitar:
Joseph Robert Gibbons, Vito Mumolo

Harp:
Anne Stockton (Mason), Kathryn M. Thompson Penney

Percussion:
Richard Cornell, Irving Cottler, Paul DeDroit, Harold L. "Hal" Rees

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.