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 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 2:36 AM   
 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 The Last Castle (2001) by Jerry Goldsmith.

Jerry Goldsmith’s score to the 2001 military prison drama The Last Castle was a bit uneven for me. Despite the sad distinction of being one of the last five films the legendary composer ever worked on, a fair amount of the score was a bit too dull and uninteresting to me. I’m not a huge fan of the trumpet, it is undeniably effective in scores like this or L.A. Confidential and numerous others, it’s just not my favorite sound, and it plays a substantial role in this score. Some of the tracks feature somewhat uninspired electronic supplementation, usually Goldsmith’s strong suit. Having said that, the main theme, when presented in certain ways, is very touching and quite powerful. It really adds substantial gravitas and depth to the film. The action tracks are hit-and-miss; some don’t go anywhere too interesting (“Hold Them”) but some are terrifically written action writing at Goldsmith’s best (“Taking Command”). Overall, the CD has always been an average Goldsmith effort for my taste.

Given that the existing CD runs right around 33 minutes (not including the 2 songs) and the film itself runs well over 2 hours, I thought there might be the possibility of some interesting missing music and thought I would intrepidly investigate. It turns out that The Last Castle is pretty sparsely scored; the complete score runtime only totals 53 minutes, resulting in 20 minutes of unreleased score. A lot of this bonus material is extensions of the main theme, more contemplative underscore and typically dramatic writing, some of it not terribly interesting but some of it quite moving, as in the scene where the character Aguilar is forced to hold his salute for hours in the pouring rain, a very sad yet heroic piece. The cue I call “First Night” scores Robert Redford’s first night in the prison and Goldsmith does such a good job highlighting the tragic nature of this mighty military figure with his lonely strings and trumpet. There are some cues that are more militaristic/dramatic that I really dug, such as the cue “Solidarity” where the prisoners begin to follow Redford’s lead and the music takes an uplifting, heroic nature, and the outstanding cue at the end of the film “Formation” where the prisoners assemble in detailed fashion into formation in the prison yard after their uprising. During “Formation” Goldsmith utilizes plenty of snare drums, string and trumpet writing, making it a very powerful, almost march-like dramatic piece.

Then there’s the unreleased action music! This is where I get really excited. Thanks to user Francis who brought it to my attention, I learned that due to time constraints some of the action material was written by Mark McKenzie. If he had a hand in any of this unreleased action music, I'm very impressed. Guys and gals, I’m only talking about two unreleased action cues totaling about 5 and ½ minutes of music (“Water Tank Assault” and “The Helicopter”), but it’s some of the most thrilling and energetic stuff the guy wrote in the last 5 or more years of his career. I’m talking “The Hijacking” from Air Force One-level excitement here. Hard to be completely sure as I had to try to filter out action movie sound effects and yelling, but the cues sounded brilliant, with Goldsmith adding in pounding anvils that were missing from anywhere else on the existing CD. The cue “Water Tank Assault” in particular is my favorite. In the film, the action music is complex and furious as the Water Tank sprays a jet of water at the prisoners while one of them tries to turn off the water underground. When he finally does, the inmates rush the tank and overtank it, and as soon as they have their opportunity, Goldsmith’s music changes to a heroic and triumphant action statement of the main theme. It’s the most necessary missing cue from the CD, in my opinion, along with “Formation”.

CURRENT CD RELEASE RUNTIME: 33min 15sec
COMPLETE SCORE RUNTIME: 53min 20sec

UNRELEASED SCORE RUNTIME: 20min 05sec

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

+ – previously unreleased (or includes previously unreleased material)

1. The Castle (1:32)
2. Irwin Arrives (2:18)
3. First Night (1:13) +
4. Retired (1:00) +
5. The Long Salute (2:00) +
6. The Rock Pile (5:00)
7. Out of the Hole (0:54) +
8. Solidarity (0:44) +
9. Winter’s Cowardice (0:44) +
10. Aguilar’s Death (1:00) +
11. Let’s Go Ladies
12. The Aguilar Salute (1:01) +
13. General Wheeler (0:39) +
14. Full Alert (2:43)
15. Winter Reveals (1:14) +
16. Military Justice (2:12)
17. The Countdown (2:18)
18. Hold Them (1:49)
19. Catapult (0:33) +
20. Taking Command (3:36)
21. Catapult Backfires (0:21) +
22. Water Tank Assault (2:43) +
23. The Helicopter (2:48) +
24. The Formation (2:36) +
25. Last Order (1:02) +
26. The Flag (5:45)
27. Theme from The Last Castle / End Credits (2:47)

Current CD Release Track Titles and Track Times (not including songs performed by John Hammond and Dean Hall):

1. The Castle (1:33)
2. Irwin Arrives (2:18)
3. The Rock Pile (5:04)
4. Let’s Go Ladies (2:41)
5. Full Alert (2:54)
6. Military Justice (2:23)
7. The Countdown (2:20)
8. Hold Them (1:52)
9. Taking Command (3:37)
10. The Flag (5:54)
11. September 11, 2001 – Theme from The Last Castle (2:46)

Thanks for reading, see you next time!

Deputy Riley

smile



 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 3:01 AM   
 By:   Talos   (Member)

Thanks for the breakdown.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 3:02 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

You don't like the trumpet? I love the trumpet and especially the magnificent theme for Last Castle. By the way, Goldsmith didn't write all the action material due to time constraints, Mark McKenzie composed some of it and he even posted part of it on his website! enjoy:

http://markmckenzie.org/discography/the-last-castle-3/

P.S. this is one of those where I suspect the score will play better in C&C mode, the album version for me lacks some of the action sequences and at times just plods along. Much like the Nemesis release around that time.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 3:52 AM   
 By:   LEONCIO   (Member)

Thanks for the breakdown.

Yes, thank you very much, mr. Deputy Riley. Your work is invaluable.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 5:42 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

You don't like the trumpet? I love the trumpet and especially the magnificent theme for Last Castle. By the way, Goldsmith didn't write all the action material due to time constraints, Mark McKenzie composed some of it and he even posted part of it on his website! enjoy:

http://markmckenzie.org/discography/the-last-castle-3/

P.S. this is one of those where I suspect the score will play better in C&C mode, the album version for me lacks some of the action sequences and at times just plods along. Much like the Nemesis release around that time.


The trumpet's okay, it just doesn't do it for me as much as it does for some and I generally am not that excited by it. It is appropriate for this film, no doubt.

Thanks for the info re: Mark McKenzie. Very interesting, and very impressive of the man. Works very well in the film and adds an injection of energy to an otherwise lackluster drama. I've added that info to my Breakdown breakdown.

I also think C&C is the way to go, but that's kind of my default, it's how I enjoy my scores. In this case, natch, I agree witcha.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 5:42 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Thanks for the breakdown.

You got it!

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 5:43 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Thanks for the breakdown.

Yes, thank you very much, mr. Deputy Riley. Your work is invaluable.


Thanks Leoncio!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 6:15 AM   
 By:   Shock-Wave   (Member)

Totally forgot about that score. Excellent breakdown DeputyRiley.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 8:58 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Thanks for another great complete score breakdown, Deputy! I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all of these, even the Zimmer ones! I read them all (just, y'know, to feed my fetish), even if I don't take the time to post.

I did want to make a note about album vs. film alternates -- I'm pretty sure either The Rock Pile or The Flag or both are supposed to have different film versions which are more powerful. I have actually seen the film many years ago but it was before I owned the score so I can't be much help for the specific differences, but I'm hoping someone else here can.

I personally LOVE Goldsmith in "lonely trumpet mode" from Lonely Are the Brave (actually he did it even before, in City of Fear) to the Rambo films. I kinda regard The Last Castle as a Rambo sequel, or rather, a musical sequel to Rambo III in particular. Its main theme is extremely similar to the new theme written for Rambo III, which in general was a more muted and moving score than its predecessors. I would be all over a complete release of The Last Castle with everything Goldsmith recorded for the film including alternates.

Yavar

P.S. I've been loving your Goldsmith choices in particular lately, with you prioritizing a lot of Varese held-in-perpetuity stuff. I may need to expand their coverage in my "What Goldsmith scores are left to expand?" thread just to link to your breakdowns. Just curious but would you ever consider doing Complete Score Breakdowns for any pre-80s scores? I'm particularly interested in Goldsmith's High Velocity, a score I love on album but one which feels like important connective tissue is missing. Other possibilities: MacArthur (I think the album may even be a rerecording), Raggedy Man, Damnation Alley, The Chairman, Ransom...

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 9:44 AM   
 By:   The Thing   (Member)

20 minutes of unreleased music, and it's not a Varese title.

Any thoughts on why we haven't seen an expanded release?
Are Decca problematic with their licences?
Or is this just a regarded as a far lesser Goldsmith title, and the labels simply think they can shift more copies of the other more popular scores they release (and re-re-release...)?

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

It is a lesser Goldsmith title, sadly, and the unreleased music that sounded cool in the movie isn't by Goldsmith.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   The Thing   (Member)

It is a lesser Goldsmith title, sadly, and the unreleased music that sounded cool in the movie isn't by Goldsmith.


Ok, so the initial post mentions Mark McKenzie.

Would that cause a problem having an expanded release, even if it features Goldsmith and McKenzie?

Or would people prefer to have an expanded Goldsmith score (i.e. no McKenzie) rather than an expanded Last Castle score (i.e. all the music regardless of composer)?

After all, we've had other releases with Goldsmith plus other composers, such as Masada and The Man From UNCLE, so I wouldn't mind this one fleshed out with another composer's tracks if that's how it was done originally for the film.

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 10:55 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Actually this is one I suspect we *will* see a complete version of in the next year or two, since it's not Varese-owned. Probably LLL, though I think Doug at Intrada is an admirer of it...

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2015 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Yavar, I have enjoyed going after the Goldsmith gaps in expansions scores from the 90's, and am considering Love Field and possibly Mom and Dad Save the World. I've thought about The Russia House and Fierce Creatures. Angie doesn't particularly appeal to me, nor does Mr. Baseball, Six Degrees of Separation, or I.Q. There are two more 90's Goldsmith CSBs that I have in the pipeline at the moment.

There are some pre-80's Goldsmith scores I'd be interested in doing CSBs on, if I could find the time, and you named them: Ransom, The Chairman, High Velocity, Damnation Alley. More than that, maybe. The problem with those older films is they are harder to get a hold of and therefore more trouble for me. They aren't available on Netflix and they aren't available on Amazon Instant Video. If you can recommend another way to watch them other than ordering DVDs off Amazon (which I'm not really inclined to do at this point) then let me know, and I'll watch them and CSB them, most likely. If anyone had these films and wanted to mail them to me on loan, I could CSB them and mail them back. At this point, though, the older films are generally tougher to access with ease and therefore tougher to CSB with ease...

 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Love Field would be great; at least one FSM member has posted about a major highlight cue that was left off the Varese album. And I personally am a fan of Mom and Dad Save the World so I'm looking forward to that too. Fun score!

I'm pretty sure that Fierce Creatures, I.Q., and Six Degrees of Separation are supposed to be the complete scores (or more, in the case of Fierce Creatures). I.Q. for sure because LLL said it was complete on their release of a few years ago. The other two might have some differences between film versions and album versions of cues or something, which I'd be curious to know about, but just thought I'd give you the heads up not to expect more music.

The Russia House, on the other hand, is missing some somewhat-important material which would provide variety from the existing album. Someone already did a breakdown for the missing cues so I think I can save you the time by linking to it:
http://www.runmovies.eu/?p=7846

Here's also Legend, if you're curious:
http://www.figmentfly.com/legend/music4.html

I do hope you find a way to do those older Goldsmith scores too. Maybe you can talk James Fitzpatrick or Luc Van de Ven into funding a re-recording in the Tadlow Goldsmith series!

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

I'm all over a re-do of this one because:

The songs are dumb and interrupt the flow.

The McKenzie material is awesome, and I'd love to have it.

I haven't seen mention of the sound flaw on the US edition.
There was a bad sound card or something like that, I believe on
the trumpet tracks, so it has background noise distorting the track.
Apparently this was fixed on the UK edition, which I could never find.

Now I've mentioned it, you'll never be able to un-hear it either, your welcome!
:-/
Drives me batshit, everytime I listen to this CD....

-Sean

 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   SBD   (Member)

There are some pre-80's Goldsmith scores I'd be interested in doing CSBs on, if I could find the time, and you named them: Ransom, The Chairman, High Velocity, Damnation Alley. More than that, maybe. The problem with those older films is they are harder to get a hold of and therefore more trouble for me. They aren't available on Netflix and they aren't available on Amazon Instant Video. If you can recommend another way to watch them other than ordering DVDs off Amazon (which I'm not really inclined to do at this point) then let me know, and I'll watch them and CSB them, most likely. If anyone had these films and wanted to mail them to me on loan, I could CSB them and mail them back. At this point, though, the older films are generally tougher to access with ease and therefore tougher to CSB with ease...

I know for a fact that DAMNATION ALLEY is on YouTube. Likewise, THE CHAIRMAN.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   counterpoint   (Member)

Although I have some fond memories of that score since I had the oppotunity to attend the emotional recording session the saturday after 9/11 at Todd/AO, there are definetely more exciting Goldsmith 90s scores I hope to be released in a complete form.

 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 12:47 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Yes, but most of those are Varese-controlled, right? Which means we'll probably see a complete Last Castle before we see many of them...

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2015 - 4:53 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

I haven't seen mention of the sound flaw on the US edition.
There was a bad sound card or something like that, I believe on
the trumpet tracks, so it has background noise distorting the track.
Apparently this was fixed on the UK edition, which I could never find.


No joke, Sean, I have noticed the sound quality issue. I was timid in mentioning it because I didn't know if it was a poorly-taken-care-of CD on my part or I was hearing things, plus you are the only other person I've heard mention it, but now that I've heard you say something too, I feel better about it. The sound quality does need significant improvement, no doubt about it.

 
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