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By Scott Bettencourt


THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR - Dave Grusin (the winner)
RAIN MAN - Hans Zimmer


BEETLEJUICE - Danny Elfman

Tim Burton's second feature was an even bigger hit than his debut film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and if Pee-Wee pegged Danny Elfman as a composer fit for offbeat comedy, Beetlejuice made it clear that he was the master of the genre. The filmmakers reportedly didn't even bother using a temp track, knowing that nothing they found could truly fit such a story. Elfman was rapidly developing his own compositional voice, his Beetlejuice score owing less to his beloved Rota and Herrmann than his Pee-Wee music did. Miraculously, he seemed to find the right tone for each outrageous scene without letting his score become exhaustingly busy, and his main theme is one of his most indelible compositions. Months after the film's release, Geffen released a score CD/LP which also included the Harry Belafonte songs, "Day-O" and "Jump in Line," which were featured so memorably in the film. (Beetlejuice received 1 Oscar nomination)


Grusin's charming score for The Milagro Beanfield War was one of his finest efforts, and both a surprising Best Score nominee (the film received no other nominations) and an even more surprising winner, especially since the score never received a full soundtrack release (though cassette tapes of score selections were sent to Academy voters). Grusin's biggest hit of the year was Robert Towne's star-studded romantic noir Tequila Sunrise, but it was not one of the composer's best efforts. As with his score for Three Days of the Condor, Grusin's lightly jazzy approach often worked against the story's tension, though even Grusin can hardly be faulted for failing to find a satisfying accompaniment for Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer's hot tub love scene, an instance of cable movie-style sex which a filmmaker like Towne (whose previous directorial effort, Personal Best, had unusually fresh and realistic scenes of sexual intimacy) should be ashamed to be associated with. (1 Oscar nomination)


Francis Coppola had wanted to do a biopic on the pioneering car maker Preston Tucker for many years, and after Apocalypse Now was finally released he worked with Leonard Bernstein and Comden & Green to write a musical film based on the story, but ended up transferring his musical ambitions to the film One From the Heart. When he finally made Tucker, six years later, the songs were gone, but music was still an important element, and Joe Jackson, the pop singer/songwriter, acclaimed for his Jumpin' Jive album, wrote a lively period score, one of his few works for the screen. (Five years earlier, he wrote the original score for James Bridges' Mike's Murder, but it was dropped when the film was significantly reshot and recut after bad preview screenings, replaced with a more traditional John Barry score. Jackson's songs can still be heard in the film, and his song soundtrack was released at the time of the film's original, aborted release. Coincidentally, it has been rumored that John Williams wrote a rejected score for Tucker, but I have yet to uncover any information that would confirm this and am extremely skeptical of the story) Though not quite up to the standards of Coppola's 70s masterpieces, Tucker is one of the director's most sheerly entertaining films, a stunning display of visual virtuosity with typically superb photography by Vittorio Storaro, gorgeous design by Dean Tavoularis, and an outstanding cast including Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Christian Slater, Nina Siezmasko and Corin Nemec as the Tuckers; Dean Stockwell in a marvelously spooky cameo as Howard Hughes; and Martin Landau in a wonderful supporting role which earned him his first Oscar nomination and helped turn his career around. (3 Oscar nominations)


This dazzling Robert Zemeckis-directed mixture of live action and animation, teaming 40s detective Bob Hoskins with a gallery of classic Hollywood animated characters (and a few new ones) was the most demanding composing assignment Silvestri had faced up to that time and he met the demands superbly, providing outstanding cartoon music for the opening Roger Rabbit toon (look for action producer Joel Silver as the director in the film's second scene), a melancholy trumpet theme for Hoskins' character, and an energetic but never exhausting orchestral cornucopia. It is arguably Silvestri's finest achievement, and I'm still amazed that his score not only didn't win but wasn't even nominated (to this date he has only been nominated once, for 1994's Forrest Gump). The film itself is a remarkable achievement, both as an entertainment and as a technical breakthrough, and if Spielberg's name had been listed as director instead of Zemeckis' it might have earned the Best Picture nomination it deserved -- it's better that at least three of the films that were nominated (come on -- Working Girl?). The original Disney soundtrack CD (out of print for many years but re-released in 2002) was a fine selection of cues but an expanded edition would be richly deserved. (6 Oscar nominations)

WILLOW - James Horner

Coming five years after Krull, this was Horner's second sojourn into big budget, large scale fantasy adventure and his second film for director Ron Howard, as well as his only work for producer George Lucas. The film, though not a big hit, was certainly a bigger success than the much reviled but still enjoyable Krull. Horner's score was not quite as inspired as his work on that earlier fantasy, falling into his frequent habit of cribbing from classical composers, but his score was lively and varied, and his main title theme for the baby "Elora Danan" was outstanding. As 1988 was pretty much the last gasp of the LP era, it's fitting that the Willow soundtrack seemed to be designed for CD, including over 73 minutes of Horner's score (frankly, it's impressive they were able to physically cram so much music onto the LP). (2 Oscar nominations)


CHERRY 2000 - Basil Poledouris

This sci-fi romantic adventure was filmed in 1986 but received only the most limited of releases in 1988 before going to video. The plot involved a man venturing into the futuristic badlands to find replacement parts for his lover, a beautiful sex robot, but he ends up falling for a "real" woman played by Melanie Griffith (any film that involves a robot sex doll but casts Melanie Griffith as the real woman clearly is in trouble from the get-go). Director Steven de Jarnatt went on to make the terrific Miracle Mile, which has never received the attention it deserves. Varese Sarabande originally announced the soundtrack as a regular release but ended up distributing it only through their CD Club and it quickly became a valuable rarity, and with good reason -- the score is one of Poledouris' most engaging, balancing a John Barry-ish love theme with delightful adventure music that's like a cross between his RoboCop score and Morricone Western music. I'm not saying the album is really worth paying four digits for, but if the score ever gets a more affordable release it's well worth snapping up.

DEAD RINGERS - Howard Shore

Shore's gift for writing music that gets under the skin of a film was never more in evidence than here, his fourth film for David Cronenberg and the director's finest, the culmination of the strongest period in his career which included The Dead Zone and The Fly, films that managed to combine Cronenberg's usual biological obsessions with a rare emotional power. Jeremy Irons' superlative performance was the anchor of the film (shockingly, he wasn't even nominated for an Oscar -- the award going to Dustin Hoffman's showy but dull work in Rain Man -- but when he did win two years later for Reversal of Fortune he thanked Cronenberg in his acceptance speech), but the film owes much of its impact to the technical elements, including the seamless visual effects, Peter Suschitzy's masterful cinematography (which helped give the film its Kubrick-ean ambience) and Shore's remarkably subtle music, highlighted by a gently heartbreaking main theme. No soundtrack was released at the time (the film garnered mostly outstanding reviews but understandably small boxoffice), but four years later Silva released a wonderful compilation featuring 27 minutes of the Ringers score as well as generous helpings of Shore's music for The Brood and Scanners, neither of which had been released before.

DIE HARD - Michael Kamen

Kamen's first collaboration with producer Joel Silver, one year earlier, was Lethal Weapon, and in the following 15 years Kamen wrote or contributed to nine feature scores for the producer, not even counting the aborted score for Fair Game, the rejected one for Assassins, and his supervision of his proteges Edward Shearmur and Chris Boardman on their scores for the two Tales From the Crypt features. Die Hard is Kamen's finest work for the producer (and, along with The Matrix, Silver's finest film), a mixture of original music and deft interpolations ("Ode to Joy," "Singin' in the Rain," "Winter Wonderland") that masterfully supports the film's combination of humor and suspense and featuring terrific action cues, especially the "Assault on the Tower." The use of tracked in cues from Horner's Aliens and John Scott's Man on Fire for the film's final sequence, though distracting for the film music aficionado, does not detract from Kamen's achievement. Kamen returned for the two sequels, the underrated Die Hard 2 and the hugely disappointing Die Hard With a Vengeance, but the scores weren't as satisfying as the original -- Die Hard 2's use of Sibelius' Finlandia lacked the subtlety of the original's "Ode to Joy," and the score for Die Hard With a Vengeance was hugely rewritten at the eleventh hour, the final version featuring a jarring use of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." (I've always wondered if the song was meant to evoke Detective John McClain's return to his New York police beat or director John McTiernan's return to the Die Hard series).

RAMBO III - Jerry Goldsmith

Goldsmith's score for the final film in the Rambo trilogy, which sent Sylvester Stallone's Vietnam vet superhero to Afghanistan to help the natives fight the Soviet invaders, was in many ways a more ambitious work than his earlier scores in the series, with slower action cues and a more thoughtful tone. Apparently his approach was a little too thoughtful for the producers, who tracked in Goldsmith cues from the Rambo: First Blood Part II score for the action scenes, and the original soundtrack release was a mix of songs and score cues. Fortunately, Intrada procured the rights to do a full score release and produced a terrific 76-minute album of Goldsmith's score which allowed the composer's full original conception to be heard for the first time.

A SUMMER STORY - Georges Delerue

The surprise success of A Room With a View presumably inspired this adaptation of a John Galsworthy story which was like a Merchant-Ivory film without Merchant or Ivory, with Maurice star James Wilby as a turn-of-the-century English lawyer torn between career and his love for farm girl Imogen Stubbs. The film was a pleasant and scenic but ultimately forgettable romance, but the most memorable element was Delerue's typically lovely score. The pastoral period setting and the romantic storyline allowed him to display his melodic strengths and, luckily for collectors, Virgin released a LP/CD of the score which, though predictably is long out of print, is still worth hunting for.


Burt Bacharach returned to familiar territory with ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS, but none of his sequel music had the impact of his popular score for the original film.

John Barry wrote a typically elegant and brooding score for the romantic noir MASQUERADE, and it was nearly his final score as he spent many months recuperating from a ruptured esophagus. He also scored the little seen indie drama A KILLING AFFAIR (aka My Sister's Keeper).

Elmer Bernstein brought his usual craft and artistry to THE GOOD MOTHER, writing a restrained and effective score for this largely forgotten, TV-scaled drama, directed by Leonard Nimoy and starring Diane Keaton and Liam Neeson. He also began a brief Irish period in his career with his score for the film of the acclaimed play DA, and scored one final film for director George Roy Hill, the Chevy Chase comedy FUNNY FARM.

Peter Best reworked his original music for the inevitable CROCODILE DUNDEE 2, but his repetitive score failed to give the listless sequel the energy it desperately needed.

Bruce Broughton scored the silly but engrossing juvenile adventure film THE RESCUE, giving it a stirring main theme as well as Goldsmith-style faux-Asian cues. His first score for director Peter Hyams, THE PRESIDIO, featured a pleasantly insinuating main theme as well as terrific action cues, while his music for the romantic thriller LAST RITES balanced an Italianate theme with exciting action music, but the film went straight to video.

Carter Burwell moved away from thrillers and Coen Brothers projects with IT TAKES TWO, whose filmmakers took the Risky Business approach and tried (and failed) to give this youth comedy a more evocative style than is normally expected from the genre.

John Carpenter wrote an atypically funky score for his cult sci-fi comedy THEY LIVE.

Paul Chihara wrote a charming score for the underrated romantic comedy CROSSING DELANCEY, which also featured songs by The Roches.

Michel Colombier's broad comedy score for THE COUCH TRIP was performed by the Canadian Brass. He also scored the James Ellroy adaptation COP, which if nothing else presents perhaps the purest distillation of the James Woods persona.

Bill Conti wrote a jaunty score for the unsatisfying River Phoenix vehicle A NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF JIMMY REARDON, replacing Elmer Bernstein's original score (which was retained for European prints). Conti's replacement score for THE BIG BLUE was, surprisingly, not all that stylistically different from Eric Serra's original score (which also was used on prints shown outside the U.S.), using a pop approach rather than the symphonic sound one might expect from an aquatic romance. He wrote a twangy, intimate score for Costa-Gavras' white supremacist thriller BETRAYED which sounded nothing like his usual work, though the film could have used a more assertive score, and reunited with his most frequent collaborator, John Avildsen, for the teen pregnancy comedy FOR KEEPS?

Michael Convertino scored what is arguably the greatest romantic comedy of the 1980s, BULL DURHAM, but the film was dominated by songs and Convertino's music only even becomes noticeable in the last few reels.

Mychael Danna began his career as a film composer (long before most of us in the U.S. heard of him) with his first Atom Egoyan project, FAMILY VIEWING, as well as a true crime drama, MURDER ONE, starring Henry Thomas.

BILOXI BLUES was Georges Delerue's third film for director Mike Nichols, but there was very little scoring in the release version -- was a longer score dialed out? Since Elmer Bernstein's working relationship with Ivan Reitman had ended, Reitman hired Delerue to score his comedy TWINS, but ended up replacing much of Delerue's typically delicate score with new music by Randy Edelman. He wrote effectively restrained suspense music for the old-fashioned thriller THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET, and displayed his trademark light touch on MEMORIES OF ME and BEACHES, but though the latter was one of his biggest boxoffice hits, the Bette Midler songs (especially "Wind Beneath My Wings") received the bulk of the attention with the soundtrack album proving to be a bestseller. He was an odd choice to score Chris Columbus' Elvis comedy HEARTBREAK HOTEL, and his music, though charming as ever, was not an easy fit.

Pino Donaggio gave the Agatha Christie adaptation APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH a jaunty main theme, but his music couldn't compare with previous Poirot scores like Bennett's Murder on the Orient Express and Rota's Death on the Nile. He wrote a delicate score for the family drama ZELLY AND ME (featuring David Lynch in a rare acting role), the kind of movie Georges Delerue would normally be hired for, and scored the kids comedy GOING BANANAS and the Matt Dillon-Andrew McCarthy vehicle (those were the days) KANSAS.

Randy Edelman's comeback began with his energetic score for a largely forgotten Ivan Reitman production, FEDS.

Richard Einhorn wrote a fresh orchestral thriller score for the little seen SISTER, SISTER, (whose director went on to make Gods and Monsters) making one wish he'd write more works for the screen.

A change in studio kept Danny Elfman from using any of his popular Pee Wee's Big Adventure themes for the followup, BIG TOP PEE-WEE, and his score was typically charming (with an especially delightful pastiche cue for a jungle sequence) but lacked Adventure's classic melodies. His funky score for MIDNIGHT RUN was effective but virtually unrecognizable as an Elfman score, while his HOT TO TROT music was atypically forgettable. The success of Beetlejuice made him a predictable choice to score SCROOGED, and he brought the film his usual craft but was unable to do much for Richard Donner's awkward blend of sentiment and slapstick.

George Fenton wrote one of his most enjoyable scores for Neil Jordan's failed ghost comedy HIGH SPIRITS, giving the film a lush and energetic sound with the help of ace orchestrator Christopher Palmer. He wrote an effective score for the period drama A HANDFUL OF DUST highlighted by a striking main theme, and one of his source cues was recently used in the film Seabiscuit, while another period score, WHITE MISCHIEF, was largely dull and forgettable like the film itself.

Brad Fiedel wrote a disappointingly drab score for the Oscar-winning drama THE ACCUSED (not that lighter music would have fit the subject matter), and replaced Charles Bernstein on Wes Craven's voodoo drama THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW.

Mike Figgis scored and directed his first feature, the stylish English noir STORMY MONDAY, and his atmospheric and laid-back jazz score proved to be typical of the composer's style.

Along with the inevitable POLICE ACADEMY 5: ASSIGNMENT MIAMI, Robert Folk had a more prestigious assignment with the rural drama MILES FROM HOME, which was Gary Sinise's feature directorial debut.

Charles Fox's score for SHORT CIRCUIT 2 wasn't as inventive as David Shire's work for the original film, but it did feature an unusually catchy end title theme.

David Michael Frank scored vehicles for two action stars, HERO AND THE TERROR (with Chuck Norris) and ABOVE THE LAW, the first film starring Steven Seagal.

For his score to THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, Peter Gabriel eschewed the usual symphonic-liturgical style of Biblical epics and sought inspiration in the authentic music of the Middle East, though at times his approach sounded distractingly modern in the context of the film.

Philip Glass scored the followup to Koyaanisqatsi, POWAQQATSI, and his music was pleasingly varied but still failed to give a satisfying dramatic shape to this non-narrative collection of beautifully rendered images.

Jerry Goldsmith's score for RENT-A-COP featured some energetic action cues but overall it's one of his cheesiest scores of the decade, with a weak main theme (though the Intrada score CD is highly enjoyable despite the score's flaws).

Miles Goodman wrote possibly his finest score for the con man comedy DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, an unusually deft work which reteamed him with Little Shop of Horrors director Frank Oz.

Gerald Gouriet wrote a charming orchestral score for the Shirley MacLaine vehicle MADAME SOUSATZKA, his music nicely counterpointing the piano solos which figure into the plot.

Dave Grusin wrote a discreetly emotional score for the family drama CLARA'S HEART, which introduced Neil Patrick Harris.

Herbie Hancock followed up his Round Midnight Oscar by co-scoring (with Michael Kamen) ACTION JACKSON, an attempt at reviving the blaxploitation genre, and while his music had some pleasantly campy moments it lacked the classic qualities of those original 70s scores. He also scored the relatively more prestigious gang drama COLORS.

Michael Hoenig wrote an effective but unmemorable synth score for the underrated remake of THE BLOB (which is one of the rarest score CDs of its era), with one cue featuring pleasant echoes of Goldsmith's Capricorn One.

Lee Holdridge scored two largely forgotten comedies, the twins-farce BIG BUSINESS and the May-December romance A TIGER'S TALE.

James Horner provided a typical 48 Hrs. style urban action score for RED HEAT, though the opening and closing sections feature elaborate faux-Russian symphonic/choral cues (I could swear the choir is singing the word "philosophy" over and over again). He also wrote a synth ensemble score for the psychic comedy VIBES, his music lacking the necessary sense of lightness and fun. His score for COCOON: THE RETURN was, not surprisingly, an effective but uninspired rehash of his themes for the original, while his music for the animated dinosaur film THE LAND BEFORE TIME was lush and symphonic, though it featured some of his usual cribbing from classical sources.

James Newton Howard wrote effective, small ensemble scores for two indie dramas, PROMISED LAND (the first of five films for director Michael Hoffman) and FIVE CORNERS. Despite the musically promising milieu, his music for the Vietnam War police thriller OFF-LIMITS failed to make much of an impression, while he also had one of his first big-budget assignments with the decades spanning romantic drama EVERYBODY'S ALL-AMERICAN.

Mark Isham tried hard but was a poor choice to score the underrated Afghan/Soviet war film THE BEAST, his low-key music lacking the high drama and excitement a Goldsmith might have brought to the project. He worked in more suitable territory with Alan Rudolph's Paris-set period drama THE MODERNS, for which he wrote music in his trademark dreamy jazz style.

Chaz Jankel's score for the stylish, underrated remake of D.O.A. mixed an emotional orchestral theme with more abrasive, rock-oriented variations.

Maurice Jarre's best score of the year was not the Oscar nominated Gorillas in the Mist but his lively, Latin-themed score for the flop Paul Mazursky comedy MOON OVER PARADOR. Jarre wrote a rather dull synth ensemble score for the romantic drama JULIA AND JULIA, but though the film is largely forgotten today it predicted two movie trends -- the plot involved a woman living in two parallel realities, and the film was shot on high-definition video. He wrote a similarly uninspired score for the equally dull Vietnam vet drama DISTANT THUNDER.

Trevor Jones scored the year's most controversial Best Picture nominee, MISSISSIPPI BURNING, his pounding score lacking a light touch (as fitting an Alan Parker film), while he wrote a more intimate score for the drama DOMINICK AND EUGENE featuring a guitar based main theme.

Frank LaLoggia composed the music for his own low-budget ghost story LADY IN WHITE, his score evoking Elmer Bernstien's musical depictions of childhood.

Henry Mancini wrote a typically charming score for the revisionist Sherlock Holmes comedy WITHOUT A CLUE, and collaborated with Blake Edwards for the umpteenth time for the Hollywood Western comedy SUNSET.

Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks replaced James Horner on the "Brat Pack Western" YOUNG GUNS, and their anachronistic score added little to the film.

Ennio Morricone wrote a grand and romantic score for A TIME OF DESTINY, and six years later one of his cues was used prominently as the trailer music for Wyatt Earp. He also scored his only film for Roman Polanski, the Harrison Ford thriller FRANTIC, giving it a typically distinctive main theme and a Morricone-ean sense of dread.

Stanley Myers' score for the drug abuse drama THE BOOST was surprisingly cheesy for this talented composer, while his score for the failed dark comedy STARS AND BARS was largely forgettable, replacing a lively, rejected Elmer Bernstein effort (which was released on an out-of-print Varese Club CD). He also worked with frequent collaborator Nicolas Roeg on an especially odd Dennis Potter adaptation, TRACK 29, and scored a completely forgotten Pierce Brosnan vehicle, TAFFIN, whose poster had the most hilariously generic taglines I've ever seen.

Ira Newborn reprised his wonderful Police Squad! theme (itself a parody of the M Squad theme) for the bigscreen followup, THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD, and found a consistently apt parodistic tone though the film was much broader than the original TV series.

Thomas Newman scored one of the most thankless comedies of his career, the John Hughes scripted THE GREAT OUTDOORS, which surprisingly enough gave Annette Bening her first movie role, as well as a typically offbeat indie comedy, THE PRINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA, starring Keanu Reeves.

Alex North wrote one of his final scores for THE PENITENT, a little seen religious drama which gave him a rare (for the 80s) opportunity to show the breadth of his composing talent with its typically rich and moving score. Though Varese Sarabande had hoped to do a soundtrack, within a few years the score's tapes were lost.

Basil Poledouris wrote an atypically forgettable, synth-based score for the thriller SPELLBINDER, and a similarly unmemorable work for the boxing drama SPLIT DECISIONS.

Joe Renzetti provided rather dull, unmelodic scores for the first CHILD'S PLAY film and the final Poltergeist movie, POLTERGEIST III.

J. Peter Robinson was a last minute replacement when Maurice Jarre's score for the dreadful COCKTAIL was rejected, and Robinson's music seemed designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, with the songs (including "Kokomo") garnering the bulk of the attention.

Bruce Rowland reworked his popular Man From Snowy River score for the sequel, RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER, while giving the music a somewhat anachronistic pop sound.

Lalo Schifrin scored the final Dirty Harry film, THE DEAD POOL (he scored all but one of the series) and gave the project his usual professionalism and distinctive sound but it was the least memorable score of the series.

John Scott's score for the outdoor thriller SHOOT TO KILL was highlighted by a marvelous end title cue, available in a terrific rerecording on the Scott-conducted Varese CD Screen Themes. He wrote a satisfyingly old-fashioned score for THE DECEIVERS, a disappointing collaboration between Nicholas Meyer and the Merchant-Ivory team (the rare Merchant-Ivory production not scored by Richard Robbins), and the music was heard to better advantage on the CD than in the movie, where much of it was dialed out.

Jonathan Sheffer wrote a memorable main theme for the offbeat indie drama IN A SHALLOW GRAVE, showing a promise that his later scores have yet to fulfill.

David Shire wrote one of his last major studio scores (for now) for George Romero's underrated thriller MONKEY SHINES, providing a lyrical main theme and clever percussive music for the film's tragic heroine, a monkey named Ella. His score for one of the era's spate of body switching comedies, VICE VERSA, was less memorable.

Howard Shore wrote an atypically forgettable comedy score for the unamusing Richard Pryor vehicle MOVING, but had his first blockbuster hit with BIG, giving the Tom Hanks comedy a sprightly score including a bittersweet romantic theme, adaptations of the classic "Heart and Soul," and pleasingly spooky music for the fortune telling machine.

In one of the most dramatic examples of Alan Silvestri's apparent inability to turn down a job, he scored the dreadful, McDonalds-inspired E.T. ripoff MAC AND ME, and his score was professional as always though his main theme sounded a bit like Robert O. Ragland's theme song from Grizzly. He brought his usual energy to MY STEPMOTHER IS AN ALIEN (with future Buffy star Alyson Hannigan as the stepdaughter) but as with so many Silvestri projects, the film was unworthy of his talents.

Carly Simon received the "Music By" credit for the film WORKING GIRL, winning the Oscar for the song "Let The River Run," but Rob Mounsey was credited with the "Score."

Bruce Smeaton's score for director Fred Schepisi's gripping, Oscar-nominated docudrama A CRY IN THE DARK (the film that introduced the phrase "a dingo ate my baby") used an odd, not especially successful jazzy approach, and proved to be the last film (so far) that Smeaton would score for the director.

Ace music editor Curt Sobel was hired to write the replacement score when Jerry Goldsmith's electronic score for ALIEN NATION was thrown out, but Sobel's contribution was surprisingly forgettable, taking little instrumental advantage of the promising milieu.

Ernest Troost scored the zombie-cop comedy DEAD HEAT as well as the Patrick Swayze indie drama TIGER WARSAW.

In his first American assignment, Gabriel Yared wrote a distinctly un-Hollywoodish score for the rehab drama CLEAN AND SOBER.

Christopher Young's score for HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II retained his terrific main theme from the original film but added a heavier, more thunderous symphonic sound. Young's score for the period drama HAUNTED SUMMER was an unusually undramatic effort for the composer, his music providing vague atmosphere but all too little tension. His score for the Vietnam adventure BAT-21 was an effective mix of Horner-ish percussive action and more intimate, melodic dramatic material, but his contribution was no help to the disastrous Whoopi Goldberg vehicle THE TELEPHONE.

A WORLD APART was the first of several Africa-themed scores for Hans Zimmer, and Mrs. Barry Levinson's fondness for the score helped the composer win the career-making job of scoring Rain Man.


ALIEN NATION - Jerry Goldsmith
THE BIG BLUE - Eric Serra
COCKTAIL - Maurice Jarre
STARS AND BARS - Elmer Bernstein
YOUNG GUNS - James Horner

These are all the score discs from 1988 movies produced around the time of their films' release (titles with an asterisk received only an LP release at the time, though some were much later released on CD):

The Accidental Tourist, Bad Dreams*, BAT-21, The Beast, Beetlejuice, Betrayed, Big Top Pee-Wee, The Blob, Child's Play, Cocoon: The Return, Critters 2, Crossing Delancey, D.O.A., Dangerous Liaisons, Dead Heat*, The Deceivers, Dominick and Eugene, Eight Men Out, Feds, Five Corners, Frantic, Gorillas in the Mist, A Handful of Dust, Haunted Summer, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hero and the Terror, High Spirits, In a Shallow Grave*, Julia and Julia, The Land Before Time, Lady in White*, Madame Sousatzka, Midnight Run, Mississippi Burning, The Moderns, Moon Over Parador, Off Limits, Oliver & Company, Pascali's Island, Patty Hearst, Poltergeist III, Powaqqatsi, Promised Land, Punchline, Rambo III, Red Heat, Rent-a-Cop, Return to Snowy River, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The Seventh Sign, Sister Sister*, Stand and Deliver, Stormy Monday, A Summer Story, They Live, Tiger Warsaw*, A Time of Destiny, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, White Mischief, A World Apart, Zelly and Me

Virgin released Eric Serra's score CD to The Big Blue in the U.S., even though American prints featured Bill Conti's replacement score. Varese Sarabande's CD for Stewart Copeland's Talk Radio paired selections (burdened with dialogue) with cues his earlier Oliver Stone collaboration Wall Street.

FROM: "Preston Neal Jones"
SUBJECT: Not Even Nominated, 1987
Dear Scott,
I, too, have been enjoying your series. Keep up the good work! Some addendums and comments, if you'll forgive me, on today's entry:
1.) Glad you mentioned author/composer Paul Bowles's contribution to THE GLASS MENAGERIE. My first exposure to Bowles's music came in the early 60's when Ernie Kovacs appropriated some of it for one of his TV specials. The particular piece, "Music for a Farce," was originally composed for TOO MUCH JOHNSON, an Orson Welles stage/film project in his pre-Hollywood days. The score is available on CD, and is totally delightful, highly recommended to those who appreciate John Barry's THE WRONG BOX, John Addison's TOM JONES, or Laurence Rosenthal's HOTEL PARADISO.
2.) Immediately after mentioning ROBOCOP as "an unfortunate casualty of the 30-minute rule," you might have said the same thing about Alex North's THE DEAD. The Varese CD ends with Mr. Patterson's vocal of the song, but not with North's underscoring of the film's climax, a great disappointment to fans of the film and of North.
3.) After mentioning Mancini and Bowles on THE GLASS MENAGERIE, it's a pity you didn't include Pete Seeger in connection with Burwell's score to RAISING ARIZONA. The fact of the matter, hidden in the fine print of the movie's credits, is that all the yodeling in the chase sequences you wrote about hails from Seeger's wonderful "Goofing Off Suite," a 10" Folkways LP which is still available on CD from the Smithsonian. Seeger's Suite is a crazy quilt of everybody from Irving Berlin to Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky and Edvard Grieg, the premise being that classical composers have stolen from folk music for years so it's time for folk singers to return the compliment. (Totally aside from film composers stealing from both classical and folk musicians.)
4.) In your list of 1954 nominees, while it's true that conductor Muir Mathiesen received the on-screen credit for the GENEVIEVE score, that was only on the American prints. The original British prints accurately credited the blacklisted composer and mouth organ virtuoso, Larry Adler.
A couple of other corrections to Not Even Nominated Part Eight: the title song to Hope and Glory evokes "I'll Be Seeing You," not "We'll Meet Again." Also, I wrote of a proposed Denzel Washington remake of 1987's Man on Fire. That remake is not only proposed but has actually been filmed -- directed by Tony Scott, written by Brian Helgeland and reportedly to be scored by Harry Gregson-Williams, the remake transposes the story from Europe to Mexico and stars Washington, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke, Giancarlo Gianinni, and the inevitable Dakota Fanning as the imperiled girl.

Thanks again to reader Marc Levy for inspiring this series. Previous articles in this series covering the years 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 can be accessed on the website.

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