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 Posted:   Apr 30, 2015 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

This is another entry in my "Complete Score Breakdown" series, focusing on the complete scores to films that have had abbreviated previous releases or have gone unreleased.

Today we are looking at Ransom (1996) by James Horner.

I'll be honest: there will not be much love for this one. I've rarely heard much praise for James Horner's score to Ron Howard's 1996 thriller Ransom, probably because it's often downbeat, heavy on atmosphere, frequently minimalistic, and was easily outshone in the same period by the likes of Horner's other efforts Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, Spitfire Grill, and Titanic.

Personally, I have always enjoyed the Ransom CD -- and I am not at all referring to the tracks by Billy Corgan, which are horrendous. I do like the Ransom Horner though, because I enjoy Jade, Patriot Games, The Pelican Brief, and Horner's dark thrillers. I enjoy the deep rumbling pianos, Sneakers-type suspense cues, ticking wood block percussion, Braveheart-style single deep hollow drum hits, and to be fair, Ransom definitely employs some moments of gut-wrenching string writing ("A Fatal Mistake") and triumphant fanfare music with Horner's tolling bells (finale of "The Payoff/End Credits") as well. One of my favorite motifs in the score is the 5-note ascending horn motif that can be found as an example in "A Dark Reunion" from 0:06-0:15 -- for some reason it is just this awesome, brief little phrase that I love. I can't get enough of the 12-minute cue "Delivering the Ransom" which is just really special to me, even if it does mirror other scores of his. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded and enjoyable score for me.

However, the complete score does not really add that much variation on material or anything particularly new or exciting. I mean, I personally find it engaging and intriguing on a somewhat mild level, but I doubt many other people would because not that many folks dig the CD to begin with. In rewatching the film today, I discovered that the film contains 72 minutes of complete score, compared to the previously released 48 minutes on CD. This results in 24 minutes of unreleased material. Again, this is not at the top of my wishlist of expansions, even though there is some cool unreleased stuff, most of all the cue I call "Discovery" for the scene towards the end where Gibson realizes that Shaker is the kidnapper when his son starts freaking out in the next room. For the sake of posterity and for anyone else that is interested, and because I was curious and love Horner's work, I'm including Ransom in my Complete Score Breakdown Series.

CURRENT CD RELEASE RUNTIME (omitting tracks by Billy Corgan): 48min 20sec
COMPLETE SCORE RUNTIME: 72min 10sec
UNRELEASED SCORE RUNTIME: 23min 52sec

Complete Score Cue Titles and Cue Times (unreleased tracks named by me for the sake of identification):

1. Opening (1:13)
2. Preparing the Room (1:00)
3. Jimmy Shaker (0:30)
4. The Kidnapping (4:30)
5. Kidnap Video (0:40)
6. False Alarm (1:33)
7. Prison Visit (2:00)
8. Shaker's Approach (1:04)
9. First Phone Call (1:40)
10. Delivering the Ransom (12:00)
11. The Quarry (4:20)
12. To Pay or Not to Pay? (1:38)
13. A Two Million Dollar Bounty (4:14)
14. Change of Plans (1:38)
15. Tom's Broadcast (1:46)
16. Parallel Stories (2:27)
17. Kate's Invitation (0:51)
18. Secret Rendezvous (1:30)
19. Reward Doubled (1:24)
20. A Fatal Mistake (4:32)
21. A Dark Reunion (3:06)
22. Shaker's Back (1:11)
23. Discovery (2:49)
24. Final Negotiations (2:06)
25. The Payoff / End Credits (12:22)

Current CD Release track titles and track times (omitting Billy Corgan tracks):

1. The Kidnapping (4:34)
2. Delivering the Ransom (12:04)
3. The Quarry (4:21)
4. A Two Million Dollar Bounty (4:23)
5. Parallel Stories (2:35)
6. A Fatal Mistake (4:51)
7. A Dark Reunion (3:08)
8. The Payoff / End Credits (12:22)

Thanks for reading, see you next time!

Deputy Riley

smile

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2015 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   ClaytonMG   (Member)

I didn't realize how much was missing until I watched the Blu-ray the other day. I think the album does a pretty good job of representing the score, but there were a few little cues here and there that I enjoyed that weren't released. I believe the Blu-ray has the unreleased opening music in the menu if anyone is interested.

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2015 - 5:41 PM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

Mirror is right, that cue is a copy of the Clear And Present Danger version of the Brainstorm music.

I haven't listened to it in a while, but I remember Howard Shore's original score for this has the same theme that you talk about in your post. Horner likely had a lot of help with this one, given that it was written in like six days or something crazy. Don Davis' (alleged) Woodroom fight music from Clear And Present Danger seems to have inspired the orchestration of the chase section of "The Payoff." It seems pretty easy to pick out the non-Horner Horner material in this score - just pick out the segments he's never repeated.

With that said, I still listen to this a good bit (usually "A Two Million Dollar Bounty," two minutes of excellent rewritten Horner and two minutes of boring brooding).

 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2015 - 7:04 PM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

I really dig the Howard Shore version.

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 1:03 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

I love both the movie and its score! An expanded release would be awesome.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 2:41 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)


I'll be honest: there will not be much love for this one..


This is one of my favorite later Horner scores, love the "Delivering the Ransom" and "A Two Million Dollar Bounty" cues. Great frantic piano and menacing brass. The Billy Corgan "source" material on the CD is unlistenable, I hope an expansion is on the horizon for this one.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 2:44 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

No offense intended, but why spend so much time breaking down these very marginal efforts for 90's thrillers and the like when there are scores like KRULL to a composer's name, far more worthy of in-depth analysis? Ditto for your JNH breakdowns: Why not WYATT EARP or WATERWORLD or ALIVE or KING KONG?

Why the focus on understated mundane 90's thrillers when there's so much more rich music out there?

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 2:52 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Why the focus on understated mundane 90's thrillers when there's so much more rich music out there?

Just because they are scores done for thrillers does not make them mundane, I personally like this style of scoring and the 90s happened to have some of the best thriller scores (Basic Instinct, Jennifer 8, Copycat, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, The Fugitive, ...). Great to see Deputy putting these underrated gems in the spot light IMO.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 2:57 AM   
 By:   Randy Watson   (Member)

No offense intended, but why spend so much time breaking down these very marginal efforts for 90's thrillers and the like when there are scores like KRULL to a composer's name, far more worthy of in-depth analysis? Ditto for your JNH breakdowns: Why not WYATT EARP or WATERWORLD or ALIVE or KING KONG?

Why the focus on understated mundane 90's thrillers when there's so much more rich music out there?


I'm just speculating here but my guess is that DeputyRiley was a teenager in the 90's, so these films mean a lot to him. Or maybe he just likes these scores

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 4:29 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

No offense intended, but why spend so much time breaking down these very marginal efforts for 90's thrillers and the like when there are scores like KRULL to a composer's name, far more worthy of in-depth analysis? Ditto for your JNH breakdowns: Why not WYATT EARP or WATERWORLD or ALIVE or KING KONG?

Why the focus on understated mundane 90's thrillers when there's so much more rich music out there?


I'm just speculating here but my guess is that DeputyRiley was a teenager in the 90's, so these films mean a lot to him. Or maybe he just likes these scores


Ugh, nostalgia rears its ugly and cloying and judgement-clouding head once more.

This is why it's suddenly cool for film scores to sound like retro-synth 80's again, another bad judgement call that will age quickly and poorly.

I was a teenager from 2006 to 2012-ish, and none of my all-time favorite scores come from that window of time (though there were a handful of great scores from then, i.e. PERFUME, PEACEFUL WARRIOR, ASTERIX AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES and a few more, but you take my point).

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 4:32 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)


I'll be honest: there will not be much love for this one.



Many a true word, Dep, many a true word...

But don't stop doing what you dig.

TG

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 4:39 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Why the focus on understated mundane 90's thrillers when there's so much more rich music out there?

Just because they are scores done for thrillers does not make them mundane, I personally like this style of scoring and the 90s happened to have some of the best thriller scores (Basic Instinct, Jennifer 8, Copycat, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, The Fugitive, ...). Great to see Deputy putting these underrated gems in the spot light IMO.


Agree with you about 90's thriller there, Francis, and thank you for saying what you said. A lot of these scores I spotlight are indeed underrated and under-the-radar so it's cool when people are interested in the details other than myself!

To clarify, my criteria for selecting scores for my Complete Score Breakdown Series as previously mentioned is complete scores that have either had abbreviated previous releases or have gone unreleased.

Additional criteria, though, is that I want to spotlight complete scores of which there is no known info. For example, you can do a simple web search and find complete score info (cue titles, cue times, complete score runtime) for scores like Krull, King Kong, Alive, Waterworld. There is no known info online (that I know of) for complete score details for scores like Ransom, Drop Zone, Beyond Rangoon, A Perfect Murder, A Devil's Own, etc. Wyatt Earp has already been officially released in 3-disc form, so I wouldn't bother watching the film to learn the complete score breakdown, it's already been done.

Further criteria...I have to have a vested interest in the score I'm examining and I have to really dig the composers. Zimmer, Howard, Horner are some of my favorite composers and the scores I've looked at by them are some that I've always been personally curious about and wanted to hear the unreleased stuff by watching the movie, and I've been curious exactly how much music is missing from official releases. Unfortunately, doing a Complete Score Breakdown takes time: the time to watch the movie, and the time to do the write up. Maybe 3 hours per film. I just can't afford to spend that time on some score that I'm not really curious about. As it happens, I in fact do prefer scores like A Perfect Murder, The Devil's Own, Drop Zone, Beyond Rangoon, and Ransom to scores like King Kong, Alive, Waterworld, and Wyatt Earp (although those are all fine scores with amazing tracks to be sure).

Finally, like trstnvnk said (correctly), I was a teenager in the 90's, and a lot of these movies do have significance to me. Drop Zone, for example, was a movie that so thrilled me in its skydiving sequences that I immediately went out skydiving myself at the age of 16, which was one of the best experiences of my life. "Too Many Notes, Not Enough Rests" playing in my head as I free-fell. Most of these other movies I've examined are from the 90's and I enjoy them all so I don't mind spending the time revisiting them to look at the complete scores.

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 4:40 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)


I'll be honest: there will not be much love for this one.



Many a true word, Dep, many a true word...

But don't stop doing what you dig.

TG


thanks TG, you are the man!

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 4:43 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

to bobbengan:

If you don't care for the scores I'm examining in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, then don't read the threads.

If you want Complete Score Breakdowns for the scores that you feel are superior, then feel free to do them yourself.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 9:28 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

to bobbengan:

If you don't care for the scores I'm examining in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, then don't read the threads.

If you want Complete Score Breakdowns for the scores that you feel are superior, then feel free to do them yourself.


Deputy,

I'm sorry if my post came off as some sort of attack, as I did not intend it that way at all - Though I can see why the way I worded it would seem as such. So alow me to apologize publicly here.

I asked because I do enjoy your breakdowns, and would love to see similar ones for perhaps, shall we say, more "narratively overt" scores from some of these composers.

Carry on and again, sorry for the perceived rudeness.

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 9:50 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

to bobbengan:

If you don't care for the scores I'm examining in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, then don't read the threads.

If you want Complete Score Breakdowns for the scores that you feel are superior, then feel free to do them yourself.


Deputy,

I'm sorry if my post came off as some sort of attack, as I did not intend it that way at all - Though I can see why the way I worded it would seem as such. So apologize me to apologize publicly here.

I asked because I do enjoy your breakdowns, and would love to see similar ones for perhaps, shall we say, more "narratively overt" scores from some of these composers.

Carry on and again, sorry for the perceived rudeness.


Thanks for this post. I appreciate it.

I'm not sure that we share the same taste in composers, but if you would like to see a Complete Score Breakdown of a score of which there is no complete score info online somewhere, from a composer such as Goldsmith, Howard, Zimmer, Horner, Silvestri, Tyler, Orvarsson, maybe some others, I'm open to that, who knows? smile Since they take awhile to do and I am relatively busy in general I have to be picky but someone may suggest one that hadn't occurred to me that I'd be interested in exploring.

For example I would do Complete Score Breakdowns on a lot of John Powell stuff -- his Bourne scores, Paycheck, The Italian Job, I am Sam, X-Men 3, Fair Game, Green Zone, Hancock -- but all of those complete scores have already been detailed with official cue names, cue times, etc. on sites that deal and trade in unmentionables, so I wouldn't do any of those, even though I'd love to champion expansions of all of those scores.

Additionally, so many complete/expanded scores have come out of the woodwork in the past many years, making my candidates for Complete Score Breakdowns fewer and fewer. A year ago I would jump at the chance to do a CSB for River Wild or Ghost and the Darkness -- no longer necessary.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 10:37 AM   
 By:   Randy Watson   (Member)

to bobbengan:

If you don't care for the scores I'm examining in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, then don't read the threads.

If you want Complete Score Breakdowns for the scores that you feel are superior, then feel free to do them yourself.


Deputy,

I'm sorry if my post came off as some sort of attack, as I did not intend it that way at all - Though I can see why the way I worded it would seem as such. So apologize me to apologize publicly here.

I asked because I do enjoy your breakdowns, and would love to see similar ones for perhaps, shall we say, more "narratively overt" scores from some of these composers.

Carry on and again, sorry for the perceived rudeness.


Thanks for this post. I appreciate it.

I'm not sure that we share the same taste in composers, but if you would like to see a Complete Score Breakdown of a score of which there is no complete score info online somewhere, from a composer such as Goldsmith, Howard, Zimmer, Horner, Silvestri, Tyler, Orvarsson, maybe some others, I'm open to that, who knows? smile Since they take awhile to do and I am relatively busy in general I have to be picky but someone may suggest one that hadn't occurred to me that I'd be interested in exploring.

For example I would do Complete Score Breakdowns on a lot of John Powell stuff -- his Bourne scores, Paycheck, The Italian Job, I am Sam, X-Men 3, Fair Game, Green Zone, Hancock -- but all of those complete scores have already been detailed with official cue names, cue times, etc. on sites that deal and trade in unmentionables, so I wouldn't do any of those, even though I'd love to champion expansions of all of those scores.

Additionally, so many complete/expanded scores have come out of the woodwork in the past many years, making my candidates for Complete Score Breakdowns fewer and fewer. A year ago I would jump at the chance to do a CSB for River Wild or Ghost and the Darkness -- no longer necessary.


There are still several Goldsmith Varese titles that haven't leaked that you could look at (The Haunting, Small Soldiers and Medicine Man come to mind)

Anyway, I also love these breakdowns. Thanks to these, I listen to scores I haven't listened to in quite some while smile

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 10:42 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

There are still several Goldsmith Varese titles that haven't leaked that you could look at (The Haunting, Small Soldiers and Medicine Man come to mind)

Anyway, I also love these breakdowns. Thanks to these, I listen to scores I haven't listened to in quite some while smile


trstnvnk, Medicine Man is a great idea! I will consider that. I would like to do The Haunting, but I have to talk myself into watching the movie again first...

 
 Posted:   May 1, 2015 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

I've been enjoying these breakdowns too, even though I don't generally have anything like the interest you do in these scores, DR.

As proof, I've listened to the existing releases of both Drop Zone and Point of No Return in the last few days specifically because of your work, as I wouldn't have thought to otherwise. I enjoyed both, though the existing releases are enough for me. smile

I enjoy Ransom too, however familiar. I'm almost sheepish to say that I even listen to the Corrigan tracks as well from time to time. Except I'm never sheepish. big grin

Keep doing what you love! It's appreciated.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2015 - 10:59 AM   
 By:   connorb93   (Member)

This thread made me go back and check out the score, which I only remembered disliking. Not top-shelf Horner writing, but with only 2 weeks or so to write over an hour of music, it's definitely more impressive than I thought. I definitely like some of his fresher orchestral inventions which is a welcome surprise but it's mixed in with copy-and-paste work from his other scores of the genre.

Does James just look at his old manuscripts half the time or does he just remember all the old notes he's written? Impressive either way.

Not a bad score, but not great. Doesn't have that "it" factor to make it truly compelling.

 
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