Shoot Movies

Retroist Scoreboard: They shoot movies, don’t they? (4-12-17)

Soundtrack fans, saddle up for a return to the wild west, as La-La Land Records has a real treat this week: the complete Elmer Bernstein score, as heard on screen, from 1965’s classic John Wayne/Dean Martin western The Sons Of Katie Elder. Though there have been soundtrack releases from this film before, they have been suites or re-recordings, and not the original 1965 studio recordings used to score the film, and they’ve been nowhere near complete. And you’d better be ready to round this one up fast: La-La Land is only pressing 1500 copies.
Shoot Movies - The Sons of Katie Elder

And while you’re at it, La-La Land is making it easy to start a soundtrack stampede in your collection, dropping the soundtracks from Rio Lobo, Stagecoach, The Shootist, Bandolero, and Take A Hard Ride to $10 each through April 23rd. That, my fellow bad hombres, is enough of a steal to make you feel like a real bandito.

Varese Sarabande isn’t rolling out any new titles this week, but they are having an ongoing sale on some classics, including John Williams’ Family Plot, Jerry Goldsmith’s score from The Red Pony, Henry Mancini’s music from Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe?, and even the great Bernard Hermann’s music from TV’s The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Classic video game soundtracks hitting vinyl seems to be a thing these days – why tickle just one retro gene when you could tickle them all at the same time? – and in that spirit, Brave Wave is rolling out the full soundtrack from Ninja Gaiden, as heard both on the NES and in the arcade, across two volumes, available on CD, vinyl, and iTunes downloads. Composed by Keiji Yamagishi, Mikio Saito, and Ryuichi Nitta, this is iconic game music given a grand treatment; the second volume, in fact, boasts the first-ever official release of the music from Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom.

European label Quartet Records is also getting in on the vintage western action, releasing a freshly remastered CD of John Barry’s score from the 1977 Charles Bronson movie The White Buffalo, but that’s not the big surprise of this release. The big surprise is that the album producers unearthed the movie’s original score, composed by David Shire and rejected by the studio and director, on the grounds that it was too modern for the movie’s setting, resulting in a late rush to hire Barry to rescore the picture. But was the studio right? Now you can judge for yourself – both scores are presented here in their entirety.

And while it may not be retro, I can’t resist the plot setup of the new Anne Hathaway flick, Colossal.

[Via] JoBlo Movie Trailers

What makes it even more irresistible is that it’s been scored by Bear McCreary, of 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Outlander, Battlestar Galactica and Agents of SHIELD fame. McCreary really is one of your author’s favorite current composers, and I’m really looking forward to his score from Colossal, which should be hitting the download services as we speak.

One of 2017’s most hotly anticipated releases is just waiting in the wings, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to drop some news on you about a soundtrack box set suitable for a heroine wearing satin tights while fighting for her rights. One also hears there’s music on the way from the most recent season of a show which assures us, repeatedly, that the truth is out there.

Until then, friends, it’s time for the final installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, putting all of the lingo of this wonderful hobby on the table at your disposal, so you know what you’re hearing, and how you’re getting to hear it. Hopefully this has been useful to budding fellow soundtrack enthusiasts.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: what’s in a soundtrack?
Dialogue – it’s hard to do a movie without dialogue, but sometimes the producers of soundtrack albums feel that dialogue from the movie needs to be mixed into the music (instances of this include the original release of Queen’s Flash Gordon and the mixed score/songtrack album for Apollo 13). Opinions among film music enthusiasts vary wildly as to the merits of doing this, but the prevailing wind seems to favor not mixing dialogue in with music. Get three or four soundtrack collectors in one room, however, and you’re likely to hear a dissenting opinion.

Entr’acte – the older brother of the overture, the entr’acte is a piece of music dating back to when movies, particularly lengthy ones, featured an intermission. Sometimes music would play during the intermission (and sometimes it wouldn’t), but a piece of music called the entr’acte would notify the audience that the intermission is nearly over. Like the overture, the entr’acte was an opportunity for the composer to show their chops without competing with a sound mix or dialogue. While the overture could be found hanging around into the late 1970s, the entr’acte has fallen out of use (along with the intermission…). Movies with entr’actes include Ben-Hur and Ice Station Zebra; DVD and Blu-Ray releases often omit the entr’acte (…because who needs an intermission when you’ve got a pause button?), so music specially composed for the entr’acte is often lost to history unless it appears on a soundtrack release.

Overture – seldom used in the Modern Age of movies or film scoring, the overture is a piece of music played before a movie begins, prior to the opening credits, frequently summing up some highlights of the score before the audience has heard those highlights in context. It was a rare chance for film music composers to shine without having to compete against the rest of the movie’s sound mix. Overtures can still be found in movies as recent as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole (both released in 1979).

Score – the instrumental underscore of a movie, television show, or game. Unlike source music, the characters in a movie do not hear the score, leaving the music to act as something of a Greek chorus conveying emotions or other meaning directly to the audience. The Academy Awards specifically separate Oscar awards for best song and best score. Some collectors – myself included – will use “score” and “soundtrack” interchangeably, though commercially released soundtracks may be more akin to a songtrack.

Soundtrack – in purely technical terms, this is the full sound mix of any movie or television show, including music, dialogue, and effects – the literal sound track adjacent to the picture on a film distributed to theaters. (As such, many an older soundtrack release is labeled as “music from the original motion picture soundtrack”.) In soundtrack collectors’ parlance, of course, a soundtrack is simply the music from a movie, though a soundtrack producer may decide there’s a reason to include dialogue as well.

Lovecraft

POW, Lovecraft! To the moon!

If you’re in the mood for the moon, or perhaps for awakening eldritch horrors, this is your week, soundtrack collecting friends.

There’s a new soundtrack out for a movie based on some classic H.P. Lovecraft lore, and if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s a great old one. Intrada this week brings us Richard Band’s complete score from 1986’s From Beyond, including alternate recordings of some of the movie’s cues. Alternates are an interesting glimpse into the compositional process, a look at how a scene could’ve played out musically…but didn’t. Maybe it’s a slight shift in arrangement, maybe it’s a total rethink of the piece of music from the ground up.
Lovecraft

Oh, but it gets better – since Intrada has rolled out a new release that combines Lovecraft and Richard Band and Jeffrey Combs, why not offer a special deal on another soundtrack that has all of those things in one place? The already-released Richard Band score from 1985’s Re-Animator can be yours for 15% off – with or without the purchase of From Beyond – if you use the coupon code BEYOND at checkout.
Lovecraft

Now let’s go to the moon. Many an ardent fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation will tell you that the show’s music was much better in its first four seasons on the air thanks to composer Ron Jones, whose tendency to buck the showrunners’ very strict ideas on music didn’t exactly endear him to them, and they simply stopped engaging his services toward the end of the fourth season, even though he’d given the show its most celebrated score (1990’s fan favorite two-parter The Best Of Both Worlds). Jones has since moved on to Family Guy, happily leaving space behind…until the makers of a new documentary about the space program sent him back into orbit.

Jones’ score from Fight for Space can now be brought down to Earth from Amazon’s digital music service. (No CD release is planned at this time.)

If you’re looking for a more fanciful trip to the moon, however, Kritzerland Records brings us John Scott’s classic score from 1967’s Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon (released in the U.S. as Those Fantastic Flying Fools in an attempt to grab the coattails of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines). This soundtrack was released…in 1967…on vinyl…in the UK. Chances are, for most soundtrack collectors, this is their first realistic shot at owning this one. Scott was near the beginning of his career here, prior to such high-profile assignments as The Final Countdown, Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, and King Kong Lives, and this score makes it easy to see how he started climbing the Hollywood ladder so quickly.

Coming next week: the late, great Elmer Bernstein rides again with The Sons Of Katie Elder. Tune in next time, true believers.

Speaking of showbiz and soundtracks, it’s time for the penultimate installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, giving you the lingo that crops up so often in discussion of collecting soundtracks.

The Retroist Scoreboard: The Industry & The Hobby & Some Acronyms

AFM (American Federation of Musicians) – the trade union of session musicians hired to perform film scores in the United States, the AFM represents its members in negotiations for the release or reuse of their music, and as such wields considerable power in the soundtrack industry. The AFM contends – quite rightly – that if labels or the directors/studios of later movies wish to make use of music already recorded, the musicians who performed in those recordings should benefit from that continued use as well. The AFM was responsible for establishing the approximately 45-minute “ceiling” on the amount of music on most soundtrack albums through the ‘90s (and, as such, can be inadvertently thanked for making complete or expanded score reissues necessary in the first place). Negotiations between the AFM and Film Score Monthly (FSM) in the late ‘90s led to the industry-standard 3,000 copy limited edition that has become the norm for boutique soundtrack labels, though that limit can also be said to have created the secondary market for limited edition soundtrack releases.

Film Score Monthly (FSM) – the long-running periodical publication of the film music collecting hobby, Film Score Monthly was founded as a fanzine in 1990 by Lukas Kendall, became a glossy professional publication in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, before going digital (like many other print magazines) more recently. Film Score Monthly also became, chiefly in the 2000s, a soundtrack label unto itself, releasing such classic film scores as The Dirty Dozen, Logan’s Run, THX-1138, Ben-Hur, Patton, Heavy Metal, and dozens of others, though Kendall opted to cease operating as a label several years ago. Some out of print FSM titles are now worth serious money on the secondary market.

Holst – in soundtrack collecting circles, you hear a lot about Gustav Holst (1874–1934), the composer of The Planets (Op. 32) orchestral suite, which was not a soundtrack. But Holst’s unique style, especially the opening bars of “Mars, Bringer Of War” (The Planets’ first movement), has had a profound influence on orchestral scoring. You can clearly hear its influence on John Williams’ Star Wars (and, via Williams’ influence on later generations of composers, to much more recent fare), and various filmmakers and composers have even licensed and incorporated snippets of The Planets into their own scores, such as The Right Stuff. (Director Nicholas Meyer originally wanted to track Star Trek VI with The Planets, but the cost of licensing the music from the Holst estate ruled that out; see tracking.)

Korngold – a descriptive term derived from the name of legendary film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), who all but invented the full-blooded orchestral film scoring tradition for movies with fantasy settings, bestowing a brassy, heraldic sound upon The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935). (The irony of it is that, if Robin Hood was a real person, the dominant music of that period in history would likely have been plainchant, not a brass section.) Korngold is often pointed out a major influence on most later film music composers, including one John Williams; over half a century after his death, his name has become a verb among some film music fans (“wow, he was really Korngolding it on that movie!”).

Perpetuity Rights – in the early days of the specialty soundtrack label (namely, the 1990s), small labels such as Varese Sarabande and GNP Crescendo negotiated the rights to film and TV scores they released in perpetuity – no other label can release that soundtrack. Ever. This has an effect on reissues in that, unless that label releases an expanded or complete score later itself, there’s now an additional party to pay in reissuing/expanding a previously partially released score. This was a major issue with La-La Land’s 2012 release of the 15-CD complete music collection from classic Star Trek: GNP Crescendo had to be paid because it had locked down the soundtrack rights for the scores from the original series. This behind-the-scenes negotiation is invisible to the buying public, but may substantially increase the price they pay for a reissue.

Who ya gonna call?

I know the Ghostbusters theme is such a musical cliché around Halloween… I know this, yet I will still shove it in your face because of the simple fact that, everything… everything about Ghostbusters is awesome and Halloween is just another excuse for me to remind everyone of this scientific fact.

Here is a great 8-bit remix of the Main theme by The Pixbrothers (I highly recommend the track “Where is my Joypad?!“)
Ghost Busters ( 8bit Remix ) by The Pixbrothers

And for dessert how about a nice pallet cleansing 8bit remix of the Elmer Bernstein backing theme played through out the movie?
8-bit Ghostbusters Score by retroist

goodbye and farewell for now and remember, If someone asks if you are a god, you say, “yes!”

ghostbusters c64 ad

8-bit Ghostbusters’ Theme

When I say Ghostbusters’ theme, you probably think of the great hit song by Ray Parker Jr., but their is another great Ghostbusters theme. A peppy almost jazzy theme by famed composer Elmer Bernstein. You will know it when you hear it. Peachy, who does a lot of music for the podcast is a fan and he put together this wonderful 8-bit version of the song. Enjoy.

8-bit Ghostbusters Score by Peachy