Film Music Review
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IN HARM'S WAY (1965)

Music composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.

15 Tracks (Playing Time = 35:59)




Orchestrated by Arthur Morton. Original LP production for RCA by Neely Plumb. CD reissue produced by Douglas Fake. Cover art work by Saul Bass. Music recorded at the MGM Scoring Stage, Culver City, CA, December 16-18, 1964, and January 25, 1965. CD art direction by Joe Sikoryak at designWELL, Berkeley, CA.

Intrada Special Collection 100

Limited edition of 3000 copies.

Rating: ***


After much speculation as to what the “special” 100 th Special Collection would be, Intrada provided this straight re-issue of a classic RCA Victor album. IN HARM’S WAY was only the second Jerry Goldsmith score issued on LP, the other being LILIES OF THE FIELD. This Otto Preminger film, featuring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and a host of great Hollywood actors was the most ambitious project Goldsmith had been assigned to at this point in his career. It also marked the first time he appears in a film.

There is a lot to recommend the score as a pure listening experience. The opening “Love Theme” is among the composer’s finest, cast in an appropriately light jazzy pops vein. Great syncopated ideas, in multi-meter settings, abound in the score’s more serious underscoring moments. They are especially on display in the “Battle Theme” that illustrates the composer’s style had quite cemented itself already in this stage of his career. There are plenty of jazz moments, mixing a bit of West Coast sounds with a semi-1940’s big band sound. Even a little experiment with Asian sounds and jazz appears in “Native Quarter,” and he tries his hand at island music in “Hawaiian Mood.” The jazz here is a bit cooler than Mancini’s orchestral scores, favoring bass figures that walk about with subtle changes in color. These moments, coupled with the amazing action sequences, which every fan of Goldsmith will admire here, are balanced on the release with the other styles of music making for a most enjoyable listening experience.

Intrada’s release is essentially a straight digital remastering of the original stereo masters and leaving everything in the sequential order of the album. The sound is crisp and clear for a CD that will likely be found often in your pile of favorite listening CDs. It makes an interesting companion to the recent release of Film Score Monthly’s NONE BUT THE BRAVE by John Williams. Two different composers working on WWII pictures with interesting results that manage to reveal the developing styles of both masters. It’s unfortunate that Intrada could not fill out the album more, or pair it with something else, no doubt the result of licensing.

But for fans of Goldsmith this will be a welcome release.


--Steven A. Kennedy , 3 July 2009

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