Old Hollywood
Cinema
1900-1979

Nostalgia is a seductive liar - George Wildman Ball

Jerry Goldsmith - Main Title (Magic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Jerry GoldsmithMain Title (Original Version) (Alien: The Complete Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This is Goldsmith’s original version of the opening title music for Alien, which was rejected by Ridley Scott (as was most of the rest of his score):

Goldsmith: “I thought, ‘Well, let me play the whole opening very romantically and very lyrically and then let the shock come in as the story evolves’. So I wrote this very nice main title… There was mystery, but sort of a lyrical mystery. It didn’t go over too well and Ridley and I had major disagreements over that.

Scott: “Let me just say to start with that l think the man is a genius…[but] the score was way too lush….which was not really what anybody particularly wanted. We wanted it more haunting and weird and strange. lt wasn’t really any of that.”

Jerry Goldsmith - Main Title (Film Version) (Alien: Original Motion Picture Score)

"[After the first version was rejected], I subsequently wrote a new main title, which was the obvious thing, weird and strange, which everybody loved, and I didn’t love and consequently I kept getting kudos for years after for the main title I wrote for Alien, which was not exactly my choice. The original one took me a day to write, and the alternate one took me about five minutes.

The message l was getting was that [Ridley Scott] wanted me to be visual with the music. Music cannot replicate the visuals. That’s not what it’s supposed to do. l can’t be visual with the music. That’s not what l’m supposed to do. Let the director and the cinematographer do the visuals, let me do the emotional element.”

Jerry Goldsmith - The Omen: Suite For Choir And Orchestra

Jerry Goldsmith - The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Main Title

Jerry Goldsmith - The Wrong Clue (Chinatown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

"The function of a score is to enlarge the scope of a film. I try for emotional penetration, not for complementing the action. For me, the important thing about music is statement. I can’t describe how I arrive at the decision to make a statement, I simply feel it and react to it."

Jerry Goldsmith - Love Theme from Chinatown (Chinatown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

"The score to Chinatown features a highly unorthodox instrumental lineup: one trumpet, four pianos, four harps, two percussionists and a string section. At first glance that looks like the sort of ensemble from which you’d expect to hear a piece of avant-garde classical music, and some parts of the Chinatown score are startlingly modern-sounding. But the film opens with an elegiac yet sensuous trumpet solo that floats freely over a cushion of tolling harps and brooding strings, a “love theme” that evokes the doomed romance of Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, the film’s stars.

Uan Rasey, the celebrated Hollywood studio trumpeter heard on the soundtrack, later told an interviewer that Arthur Morton, Goldsmith’s arranger, ‘told me to play it sexy—but like it’s not good sex!’”

-Terry Teachout, “The Perfect Film Score”, Wall Street Journal (via)