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Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)






Music composed by Akira Ifukube.

33 Tracks (Playing Time = 70:00)

Album produced by MV Gerhard and David Hirsch. Executive Album Producer: Matt Verboys. Digitally Mastered by Micahel Matessino. Liner Notes: David Hirsch. CD Ar Direction: Mark Banning.

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1041

Rating: **


This CD is another Japanese score from the Toho Studios in their Godzilla series. Having seen some of the early efforts such as GODZILLA (1954) and RODAN (1956), I honestly can't understand why they are highly regarded. They look cheaply made and the effects look bad even by standards of 1950s and '60s special effects techniques.

This score to KING KONG VS. GODZILLA by the recently deceased Japanese film composer Akira Ifukube also sounds very weak. What's really going on here? It doesn't sound like suspense, action or comedy, even though the film tries to bring some of that across. Where are the dramatic highpoints?For example, "Godzilla's Resurrection" (track 11), which should have made a strong impression, but it doesn't with the repeated pattern becoming annoying. Then there's "The Invincible King Kong" (track 16), which doesn't sound much different. By the time we get to "King Kong vs. Godzilla" (track 17), I was getting tired of the same heavy-footed (no pun intended) repetitions with no contrasts in the orchestration. Just more and more repetitions, such as "Godzilla vs. King II" (track 30). The final track ("Ending" - track 31) lasts a mere 0:28! There are also two bonus choral tracks (32-33): "Main Title" (mono) and "Main Title" (A cappella). Neither one is essential except for completists of this score.

The notes by David Hirsch seem to make apologies for the weaknesses in the film. But his descriptions do provide a decent background for the score and his quotes from Monstrous Movie Music producer, David Schecter, are helpful in sorting out how the film and score were both mutilated for the American release, with extensive use made from the Universal film music library. But I think that having Hans J. Salter's music used is preferable to Ifukube's limp score.

Fans of Ifukube's scores will probably like this CD soundtrack. Others might wish to skip it.

--Roger Hall, 27 March 2006

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