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Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
Music by Nathan Van Cleave
Robinson Crusoe on Mars Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: March 2011
Catalog #: Vol. 14, No. 5
# of Discs: 1

Science fiction has been a staple of cinematic storytelling since Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon in 1902. It has also inspired some of the medium’s greatest music. With this release, Film Score Monthly makes available a pioneering but lesser-known classic in the space opera genre that is worthy to stand beside more iconic titles from the post-Star Wars era.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) was the brainchild of Ib Melchoir (Angry Red Planet), who conceived it as the first in a series of literary classics updated to the 20th century and set in outer space. It was directed by Byron Haskin (Conquest of Space) and featured stunning Martian vistas designed by art directors Arthur Lonegan, Hal Pereira and Al Nozaki (The War of the Worlds). It starred Paul Mantee as a marooned astronaut and Victor Lundin as the humanoid escaped slave who becomes his man “Friday.” Adam West of Batman fame also appeared in the film as Mantee’s co-pilot.
 
The extraordinary musical score for Robinson Crusoe on Mars was composed by Nathan Van Cleave, who first launched himself into science fiction with his score for Haskin’s Conquest of Space (1955). Throughout his career he exhibited a special proclivity for enhancing both the fantasy and the humanity of outer-space drama.
 
For most of its length, Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a one-man show in which the music serves as an additional character to keep the story lively and moving forward. Van Cleave’s score benefits immensely from his well-developed sense of tonal color.  It is exceptionally well-orchestrated—mostly by Fred Steiner. The modest orchestra of 24 players (including two electronic organs) is used to create a vast array of fascinating timbres that manage to capture all the colors and moods of the harsh Martian terrain as well as the hopes and frustrations of the stranded hero.
 
This premiere release of the complete score to Robinson Crusoe on Mars is newly remixed from the original 35mm three-track scoring masters preserved in recent years on 2” analog tape by Paramount Pictures. The 20-page booklet features notes on both film and score by genre specialist Randall Larson; it is lavishly illustrated by designer Joe Sikoryak with posters, pre-production graphics and copious film stills.
 
Nathan Van Cleave Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Nathan Van Cleave (1910-1970) began his career in New York City as a jazz trumpeter and big band arranger. He joined the staff of CBS radio in 1935, and came to Hollywood a decade later to begin working as an arranger and orchestrator for Paramount. There he began scoring features (initially uncredited) and eventually expanded into television work. In addition to work on Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and I Spy, he scored twelve episodes of The Twilight Zone—more than any other single composer. IMDB

Comments (84):Log in or register to post your own comments
http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/15077/ROBINSON-CRUSOE-ON-MARS/

Great cover art. This will go nicely with the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release.


This was a title that it seems was requested 50,000 times and we're thrilled to present it in glorious stereo - and complete.

I am wondering if it was two people making 25,000 requests each however!

Great score!

Lukas

Lukas, thank you very much! ORDERED!

This is a great little gem of a score that I've always wanted ever since I saw the movie as a boy over 40 years ago. Van Cleave channels Debussy in many passages depicting the austere landscape of Mars, the Martian sky at night and the loneliness & isolation felt by stranded astronaut Kit Draper. Those are some of the real highlights of this score and quite evocative. The electronic organ really adds an otherworldly sound to the setting much like it did in some of Van Cleave's scores for The Twilight Zone. Mars was rarely better served than it is here!

Thanks for the heads up about this earlier Lukas. I set aside some Martian moolah ahead of time for this one!

This was a title that it seems was requested 50,000 times and we're thrilled to present it in glorious stereo - and complete.

I am wondering if it was two people making 25,000 requests each however!

Lukas[/endquote]

I'm guessing one of the two was Charles Thaxton!

I watched this with my wife a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be picking one up. Thanks!

Samples are sublime! I will be ordering this one for sure.

Damn it, stop it Lukas. I can barely keep up. This is the last CD I order......today!

OH OH, FOOOOOORRRMMMIIDAAAAABLE!!!! MERCI AUX gars d'FSM POUR CETTE PERLE MARTIENNE!

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

Leader (Conductor):
Irvin Talbot

Violin:
Harold Ayres, Israel Baker, Arnold Belnick, Erno Neufeld, Ralph Schaeffer, Sidney Sharp

Cello:
Joseph DiTullio, David Filerman, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Emmet Sargeant

Bass:
Keith "Red" Mitchell

Clarinet:
Justin Gordon, Jules Jacob

Saxophone:
Gene Cipriano, Charles Gentry, Justin Gordon, Ted Nash

French Horn:
Arthur E. Briegleb, James A. Decker

Trumpet:
Philip Candreva, Emanuel "Manny" Klein

Trombone:
Marshall C. Cram, Edward Kusby

Organ:
Jack Cookerly, Ivan D. Ditmars

Drums:
Larry Bunker

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.