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Black Sunday (1977)
Music by John Williams
Black Sunday Black Sunday
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.95
Limited #: 10000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: January 2010
Catalog #: Vol. 12, No. 19
# of Discs: 1

Pop quiz: What was, until now, the most recent John Williams feature film score completely unreleased? Black Sunday (1977)—new on CD from Film Score Monthly.

Black Sunday was a large-scale thriller about an attempted terrorist attack on the Super Bowl, adapted from a novel by Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs), produced by Robert Evans (Chinatown) and directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate). Robert Shaw (Jaws) stars as an Israeli Mossad agent teaming with the FBI; Marthe Keller plays a terrorist who is manipulating an ex-POW pilot (Bruce Dern) into flying a blimp over the crowd at the Super Bowl and exploding rifle darts into the 85,000 spectactors.

Black Sunday is a minor masterpiece of grim 1970s international espionage (decades later, Steven Spielberg and John Williams would revisit the genre in Munich). Much of the film’s success is owed to director Frankenheimer, renowned for his handling of large-scale physical action in films such as The Train, Grand Prix and French Connection II. The film’s climax at the Super Bowl—much of it shot at the actual Super Bowl X—features some of the most spectacular footage ever captured for a Hollywood movie.

John Williams was a natural choice to score Black Sunday. Not only was he a veteran of the 1970s disaster cycle (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno) but his landmark score to Jaws marked him as Hollywood’s top composer at a time when Paramount Pictures was positioning Black Sunday to be the blockbuster of 1977 (a claim to fame shortly taken by Star Wars).

For the Frankenheimer film, Williams composed a taut, suspenseful score with an obsessive terrorist motive and grim but noble minor-mode theme for Shaw’s character. As the film expands in scope from claustophobic backrooms to the sprawl of the Super Bowl, so does the score grow from quiet tension to large-scale action-adventure, climaxing in furious symphonic writing for a showdown aboard the (would be) killer Goodyear blimp.  

This premiere release (in any form) of the Black Sunday soundtrack is in complete chronological order, remixed by Mike Matessino from the original 16-track 2” masters recorded on the Paramount Pictures scoring stage for stunning sound quality. Liner notes are by Scott Bettencourt, Mike Matessino, Jeff Eldridge and Alexander Kaplan.

A final note about this release: In recent years, a limited edition of this sort would sell out quickly. FSM has negotiated with the American Federation of Musicians (whose players performed the music and are due “re-use” fees for the album) to make this CD a limited edition of 10,000 copies (not the customary 3,000)—enough so that everyone can get one. But if your response to this is, “Good, I’ll get it later”—truly no good deed goes unpunished, and we’ll never try this again! Black Sunday is John Williams action scoring circa 1977—what are you waiting for? Buy it now!

John Williams Scores on FSM
About the Composer

John Williams (b. 1932) is not only the composer of most of the biggest blockbusters of all time—including Star Wars, E.T., Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and many more, many of them directed by Steven Spielberg—but he has transcended film music to become the world's most famous living composer, and an American institution. His popular symphonic scores are so iconic that they often overshadow the fact that he has been equally proficient at sophisticated, adult fare (Schindler's List, Images) and had a successful career in composing (for television and often comedy features), arranging and performing well before he even met Steven Spielberg. FSM, like most labels, will release everything it can of Williams's music, and has concentrated (for reasons of availability) on his early years as "Johnny" Williams when he was doing sterling work on relatively little-known television and films—always with an amazing attention to melody and detail. In fact, his early works are fascinating for the ways in which they foreshadow his later, world-renowned efforts. IMDB

Comments (395):Log in or register to post your own comments
Film Score Monthly presents this new never before on CD release of John Williams’ BLACK SUNDAY!

Wow! Wowee wow, wow!

Wow! Wowee wow, wow![/endquote]

I just had a heart attack! One of my all time holy grails. Now, it can´t be too far away for ""The Marathon Man"! Great work, Lukas and gang!

1. Islands In The Stream
2. The Blue Max
3. Black Sunday

All within days of each other! The mind reels...

ORDERED! Thanks, Lukas!

Congratulations, FSM! Amazing release and what a great cover!

"Limited Edition of 10,000 Copies" :D

10,000 copies !!
Now that's a limited edition :D

Thanks, FSM.

Putting it as mildly and politely as possible, HOLY SHIT! This is THE Williams I've been waiting for for many years, his most Goldsmitheque of scores. One more grail delivered. Lukas is a god...or at least a demigod!

My goodness. 2010 is already stacking up to be a banner year.

I predict that by year end we will all be completely broke. But happy, because we'll have a boatload of amazing releases to cart with us to the poor house.

On the flip side, we will surely jump start the world economy in the process of making ourselves blissfully destitute.

Ordered! Thanks so much FSM!!!

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
John T. Williams

Israel Baker, Arnold Belnick, Glenn Dicterow, Harold Dicterow, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Irving Geller, James Getzoff, Debbie Sue Grossman, William Hymanson, George Kast, Louis Kaufman, Jacob Krachmalnick, Yukiko Kurakata (Kamei), Marvin Limonick, Alfred Lustgarten, Alexander Murray, Irma W. Neumann, Stanley Plummer, Nathan Ross, Haim Shtrum, Paul C. Shure, Marshall Sosson, Gerald Vinci, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel)

Denyse N. Buffum, Allan Harshman, Myra Kestenbaum, Virginia Majewski, Sven Reher, Harry Rumpler, David Schwartz

Marie Fera, Kathleen Hougesen (Lustgarten), Armand Kaproff, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Edgar Lustgarten, Nino Rosso, Eleanor Slatkin, Mary Louise Zeyen

Suzanne Ailman (Stokes), Milton Kestenbaum, Abraham Luboff, Peter A. Mercurio, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

Louise M. DiTullio (Dissman), Luella Howard, Sheridon W. Stokes

William Criss, John F. Ellis

Dominick Fera, John Neufeld

Don Christlieb, Norman H. Herzberg, Jack Marsh

French Horn:
James A. Decker, Vincent N. DeRosa, David A. Duke, Arthur Maebe, Jr., Richard E. Perissi, Gale H. Robinson, Harry Schmidt

Malcolm Boyd McNab, Graham Young

Francis L. "Joe" Howard, Richard "Dick" Nash, George M. Roberts, Lloyd E. Ulyate

John T. "Tommy" Johnson

Ralph E. Grierson, Michael A. Lang

Thomas "Tommy" Tedesco

Fender (electric) Bass:
Charles L. Domanico

Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Larry Bunker, Emil Radocchia (Richards), Kenneth E. Watson, Don Williams, Jerry D. Williams

Herbert W. Spencer

Phillip Kahgan

Ralph Fera

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