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 Posted:   Jun 19, 2014 - 12:44 AM   
 By:   JSDouglas   (Member)

My mania for film music was beginning to kick into high gear in 1980. John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, the "Classic Film Scores" series on RCA, and so many more composers, who were then new to me, came to my attention - including Elmer Bernstein.

Bernstein was in his "comedy phase" and it was beyond frustrating that these scores were not being made available. I was therefore excited to find an LP for AIRPLANE! sitting in the bins at a local store. I took it home and was energized by the dynamic opening titles music...until...a voice began to speak and I realized I had been "had." I was the miserable owner of a collection of audio highlights with narration and almost no Bernstein music in-the-clear.

29 years later and La-La Land Records brought this score in for a proper release on CD and I was finally able to explore what turned out to be the goofiest of Elmer Bernstein's comedy work. This is the most cartoony-sounding music I think I've heard from him (even his scores for animated films rarely sound like cartoon music). As a fan of Carl Stalling I can appreciate the approach - although it can sometimes make for a challenging listen.

All the amusing references to JAWS, "The 1812 Overture," "Notre Dame Victory March," and the rest aside (including a comical rendering of Bernard Herrmann's Murder Motif from TORN CURTAIN), the real meat of this score is his "Love Theme." Even though written to be over-the-top, it is still grounded by Bernstein's flair for melody. When the B section hits I can't help but get caught up in it. The big band instrumental arrangement (titled "Love Theme from AIRPLANE!" on the CD) is so perfect I wish he had been able to expand it a bit - it's over way too quickly.

Other highlights for me include the "Malumbo" piece with it's 1950's jungle ambiance, "Failure" which manages to sound so heartfelt until it leads into the "Notre Dame" music, "Farewell" also creating a moment that makes me forget this is a comedy score, and then there's that "Main Title" with its dynamic rhythms and mock-earnestness.

I'm very pleased with the CD produced by La-La Land - Dan Goldwasser's liner notes are well researched and informative and I enjoy the clever touches in Mark Banning's art direction (especially the LP-style treatment of the disc). I loved learning how Bernstien cast himself mentally as a B-movie composer attempting his first big score - a great approach.

AIRPLANE! is dynamic and witty and oddly moving at times and distinguishes itself from Bernstein's other comedy scores with its delightfully off-kilter zaniness. If Mad Magazine produced film scores they would likely sound like this. I just wanted to give a thread over to the appreciation of this score and continue my journey through the many and varied film works of Elmer Bernstein.


 Posted:   Jun 19, 2014 - 1:06 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

MAIN THEME was always catchy to me and the love theme is a melodic fine theme. Good score in my book, only enhances this very funny film to better levels.

 Posted:   Jun 19, 2014 - 1:07 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)


 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 9:58 PM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

This says isolated score on the new blu ray.

 Posted:   Jul 29, 2020 - 2:19 PM   
 By:   paulw   (Member)

If you liked the movie Airplane you'll love Zero Hour.

 Posted:   Jul 29, 2020 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   BornOfAJackal   (Member)

The isolated score on the new blu-ray is Dolby 2.0.

Lovin' it! When things go to hell in the movie, it's just as funny with only the score playing.

 Posted:   Jul 29, 2020 - 3:41 PM   
 By:   NSBulk   (Member)

The isolated score on the new blu-ray is Dolby 2.0.

Lovin' it! When things go to hell in the movie, it's just as funny with only the score playing.

Does it match the film or present what was intended? This movie had a fair amount of tracking.

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