Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

December 2011  



Music Composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
Conducted by Lionel Newman.

Disc One (Total Playing Time = 70:22)

The Film Score

1. Overture (2:17)
2. Main Title (2:56)
3. Getting Acquainted (3:32)
4. The San Pablo (1:02)+
5. Hello, Engine (1:24)
6. Trial Run - Part I (0:24)+
7. Trial Run - Part II (0:22)+
8. Death of a Coolie (0:57)
9. Molly Appears (1:07)
10. The Student (0:40)
11. Repel Boarders (2:39)
12. Chang-sha Dock (2:04)
13. Death of a Thousand Cuts (4:07)
14. Not in Vain (0:59)
15. Chang-sha (Entr'acte)(1:02)
16. Unfriendly Welcome (0:33)
17. My Secret (4:00)
18. Jake and Shirley (4:22)
19. A Matter of Ideals (2:01)
20. The Wedding (6:10)
21. Coolies Jump Ship (1:50)
22. Restless Months (4:35) ++
23. Frenchie's Death (2:18)
24. Molly's Abduction (2:49)
25. Worried Captain (0:33)
26. Final Mission/Commence Firing (6:11)
27. Fire Aft! (2:13)
28. Almost Home - Part I (1:46)
29. Night Mission (0:34)+
30. The Sniper (0:58)
31. End Title (Almost Home - Part II) (0:59)
32. Cast Credits (Almost Home - Part III) (0:38)

Disc Two (Total Playing Time = 39:06)

Additional Music

1. Overture (Original Version)(2:53)
2. Trail Run - Part I (Alternate)(0:25)+
3. Trail Run - Part II (Alternate)(0:25)+
4. A Crushing Affair (Music & Effects)(1:35)+
5. Unfriendly Welcome (Alternate)(0:48)+
6. Jake and Shirley (Alternate)(0:49)++
7. Restless Months (Alternate)(4:37)+
8. Final Mission (Unedited)(3:36)
9. Commence Firing (Alternate)(2:14)+
10. Almost Home (Edited Version)(3:01)
11. Chinese Love Theme (2:27)
12. And We Were Lovers (Exit Music)(2:39)
Additional Music Time = 26:28

Source Music

13. Toot Toot Tootsie (2:03)+
14. Five Foot Two (1:25)+
15. Stumbling (1:48)+
16. Sleepy Time Gal (3:25)+
17. I'll See You In My Dreams (1:59)+
18. Linger Awhile (1:59)+
Source Music Time = 12:32

+ = Previously unreleased
++ = Contains music previously unreleased

Album Produced by Nick Redman and Mike Matessino. Executive Producers: Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson. Orchestrations by David Tamkin. Score Restoration by Mike Matessino. 35mm assembly by Ron Fuglsby. Score recorded by Murray Spivack and Douglas Williams at 20th Century Fox Studios. Edited and Mastered by Daniel hersh. CD Art Direction by Joe Sikoryak. Production Assistant: Regina Fake.

Original 1966 Soundtrack LP Album released as 20th Century-Fox Records 4189.

Intrada MAF 7116

Rating: ****

Back in January, Jerry Goldsmith's score to POLTERGEIST was chosen as Best of the Month. Now at the end of the year, another wonderful Goldsmith score has been chosen as Best of the Month.

The 1960s was really the breakout decade for Goldsmith with such memorable film scores as FREUD (1962 - his first Academy Award nomination), A PATCH OF BLUE (1965), THE BLUE MAX (1966), and best known of all - PLANET OF THE APES (1968). But THE SAND PEBBLES can stand alongside POTA as one of Goldsmith's best scores of the 1960s. It sizzles with his trademark rhytmic intensity and also emotional strength.

I want to especially credit Julie Kirgo for her excellent CD booklet notes which gives a very good summary of the making the film based on the 1962 best-selling novel by Richard McKenna, also about Goldsmith's score itself. She mentions that there are two main love themes which are central to the film's story. One of them is the "American" love theme (Disc One, track 1) and had lyrics written to it by Leslie Bricusse and the song was titled, "And We Were Lovers." The other theme was a "Chinese" one which Goldsmith had used in a 1959 Perry Mason TV episode. That theme can be heard in the Original Version of the Overture (Disc Two, track 1). Both these marvelous themes are used extensively into other cues.

The most exciting part of Goldsmith's score comes at track 26 when the battle takes place. It lasts for slightly more than six minutes and begins with horn calls and drumbeats that leads into a thrilling musical outburst, heavy on the brass and percussion and highly charged dissonant harmonies and dynamic rhythms.

Disc Two has some worthwhile alternate version of key themes and six old songs used as source music but never released before until this CD set.

Julie Kirgo summarizes it quite well when she writes:

"Goldsmith wrings us out with this score - as [Robert] Wise and company do with the film. And yet, their metholds are never heavy-handed, merely (merely!) enriched by emphatic humanity."

This is heard especially in the incredibly moving "Almost Home - Part I" (track 28), a powerful dirge lasting less than two minutes but delivering a powerful message of sorrow.

At the end of the film score, a final cue for the credits (track 32) clocks in at only 0:38! -- is there any film today that can match that conciseness?

In the 20 page CD booklet, besides Julie Kirgo's extensive notes, there are additional notes by score restorer, Mike Matessino, and a useful "cue assembly" list for this CD. There is also a complete list of the orchestral musicians. Bravo for listing them all! I was very pleased to read my music professor at Binghamton University, Sam Chianis, was the cimbalom player. He was one of the best musicians around on this ethnic instrument.

Anyone who enjoys listening to a memorable film score and especially the multitiude of Goldsmith fans will surely enjoy this excellent 2 CD set.

Back in 2008, I named a Lifetime Achievement Sammy Award in memory of Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) and listed a previous CD of THE SAND PEBBLES. But this new release is obviously far superior to that earlier incomplete soundtrack.

I believe Goldsmith would have been very proud of this Intrada release. It brings one of his best film scores of the 1960s back into circulation as it was meant to be heard.

This is a major film score restoration and one of the best vintage score releases of the year. Kudos to all involved in making this 2 CD set such a success.

Highest recommendation.

-- Roger L. Hall, 31 December 2011

Comments regarding this review can be sent to

Film Music Review


The isolated Jerry Goldsmith score with commentary by Nick Redman, Jon Burlingame, and Len Dobbs is available on a highly recommended Cinema Classics Collection 2 DVD set with both the Theatrical and Roadshow Versions of the 1966 film as well as many other extra features...





















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