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Jerry Goldsmith and “Mulan”


Jerrald King “Jerry” Goldsmith (February 10, 1929 – July 21, 2004) was an American composer and conductor most known for his work in film and television scoring, who composed scores for such noteworthy films as The Sand Pebbles, Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Omen, The Boys from Brazil, Capricorn One, Alien, Poltergeist, The Secret of NIMH, Gremlins, Hoosiers, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Rudy, Air Force One, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, The Mummy, three Rambo films, Explorers and five Star Trek films, collaborating with some of film history’s most accomplished directors, including Robert Wise, Howard Hawks, Otto Preminger, Joe Dante, Richard Donner, Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott, Michael Winner, Steven Spielberg, Paul Verhoeven, and Franklin J. Schaffner, and being nominated for six Grammy Awards, five Primetime Emmy Awards, nine Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and eighteen Academy Awards, though he won only one, in 1976, for The Omen.  Goldsmith, was born February 10, 1929, in Los Angeles, California.   His parents were Morris Goldsmith, a structural engineer, and Tessa (née Rappaport) Goldsmith, a school teacher.

Jerry started playing piano at age six, but only “got serious” by the time he was eleven. At age thirteen, he studied piano privately with legendary concert pianist and educator Jakob Gimpel, whom Goldsmith would later employ to perform piano solos in his score to The Mephisto Waltz, and by the age of sixteen he was studying both theory and counterpoint under Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who also tutored such noteworthy composers and musicians as Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein, André Previn, Marty Paich, and John Williams.  At age sixteen, Goldsmith saw the 1945 film Spellbound in theaters and was inspired by veteran composer Miklós Rózsa’s soundtrack to pursue a career in music.  Goldsmith later enrolled and attended the University of Southern California where he was able to attend courses by Rózsa, but dropped out in favor of a more “practical music program” at the Los Angeles City College. There he was able to coach singers, work as an assistant choral director, play piano accompaniment, and work as an assistant conductor.

In 1950, Goldsmith found work at CBS as a clerk typist in the network’s music department under director Lud Gluskin. There he began writing scores for such radio shows as CBS Radio Workshop, Frontier Gentleman, and Romance.  He later progressed into scoring such live CBS television shows as Climax! and Playhouse 90. He also scored multiple episodes of the television series The Twilight Zone. He remained at CBS until 1960, after which he moved on to Revue Studios and then to MGM Studios for producer Norman Felton, whom he had worked for during live television and would later compose music for such television shows as Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  His feature film debut occurred when he composed the music to the 1957 western Black Patch. He continued with scores to such films as the 1957 western Face of a Fugitive and the 1959 science fiction film City of Fear.

Goldsmith began the 1960s composing for such television shows as Dr. Kildare and Thriller as well as the 1960 drama film The Spiral Road. However, he only began receiving widespread name recognition after his intimate score to the 1962 classic western Lonely Are the Brave.  That same year, Goldsmith composed the mostly atonal and dissonant score to the 1962 pseudo-biopic Freud that focused on a five-year period of the life of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Goldsmith’s score went on to garner him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, though he lost to fellow first-time nominee Maurice Jarre for his music to Lawrence of Arabia (1962). In 1963, Goldsmith composed a score to The Stripper, his first collaboration with director Franklin J. Schaffner for whom Goldsmith would later score the films Planet of the Apes (1968), Patton (1970), Papillon (1973), and The Boys from Brazil (1978).  Following his success with Lonely Are the Brave and Freud, Goldsmith went on to achieve even more critical recognition with the theme music to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), and scores to such films as the 1964 western Rio Conchos, the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, the 1965 romantic drama A Patch of Blue, the 1965 epic war film In Harm’s Way (in which Goldsmith also made a brief cameo appearance), the 1966 World War I air combat film The Blue Max, the 1966 period naval war epic The Sand Pebbles, the 1967 thriller Warning Shot, the 1967 western Hour of the Gun, and the 1968 controversial mystery The Detective.

It is curious that films with significant sequences that involve flight inspired Goldsmith to write some of his most exhilarating music, such as in Supergirl, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, A Gathering of Eagles, Night Crossing, Air Force One and Tora! Tora! Tora!. Goldsmith’s scores to A Patch of Blue and The Sand Pebbles garnered him his second and third Academy Award nominations, respectively, and were both one of the 250 nominees for the American Film Institute’s top twenty-five American film scores.  His scores for Seven Days in May and The Sand Pebbles also garnered Goldsmith his first two respective Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Score in 1965 and 1967. During this time, he also composed for many lighter, comedic films such as the family comedy The Trouble with Angels (1966), the James Bond parodies Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel In Like Flint (1967), and the comedy The Flim-Flam Man (1967).

In 1968, Goldsmith caught massive critical attention with his landmark, controversial soundtrack to the post-apocalyptic science fiction epic Planet of the Apes, which was one of the first film scores to be written entirely in an Avant garde style. The score went on to garner Goldsmith another Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score and now ranks in No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s top twenty-five American film scores.  Though he did not return to compose for its 1970 sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Goldsmith scored the third installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise, 1971’s Escape from the Planet of the Apes.  Goldsmith concluded the decade with scores to such films as the 1968 western Bandolero!, the 1969 spy thriller The Chairman, the 1969 science fiction film The Illustrated Man, and the 1969 western 100 Rifles. In 1969, he also composed the theme to the comedy-drama television series Room 222.

Goldsmith received more critical praise with his daring music to the 1970 World War II biopic Patton.  The film’s music subsequently earned Goldsmith an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score and was one of the American Film Institute’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.  Goldsmith’s critical success continued with his emotional score to the 1973 prison escape film Papillon, which also earned him an Academy Award nomination and a nomination as one of the AFI’s top twenty-five American film scores. In 1973, Goldsmith also wrote the theme for the TV series Barnaby Jones.  In 1974, Goldsmith was faced with the daunting task of replacing a score by composer Phillip Lambro to the neo-film noir Chinatown. Goldsmith received an Academy Award nomination for his efforts though he lost to Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for The Godfather Part II. The score to Chinatown is often regarded as one of the greatest scores of all time and ranks No. 9 on the AFI’s list of top 25 American film scores.  It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Goldsmith earned more critical praise with his score to the 1975 epic period adventure film The Wind and the Lion. The score garnered Goldsmith an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, though he lost to fellow composer John Williams for his score to Jaws. The Wind and the Lion was also one of the AFI’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.  In 1976, Goldsmith composed a dark choral score to the horror film The Omen, which was the first film score to feature the use of a choir in an avant-garde style. The score was successful among critics and garnered Goldsmith his first (and ultimately only) Academy Award for Best Original Score and a nomination for Best Original Song for “Ave Satani.”   It was also one of the AFI’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.  His wife, Carol Heather Goldsmith, also wrote lyrics and performed a vocal track titled “The Piper Dreams” released solely on the soundtrack album.  Goldsmith would go on to compose for two more entries in the franchise; Damien: Omen II (1978) and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981).

Goldsmith continued to have critical success with scores to such films as the 1976 dystopian science fiction Logan’s Run, the 1977 period drama Islands in the Stream (which remained one of his personal favorites),  the 1978 science fiction suspense Coma, the 1978 science fiction thriller Capricorn One, the 1978 disaster film The Swarm, the 1979 period comedy The Great Train Robbery, and his Academy Award-nominated score to the 1978 science fiction thriller The Boys from Brazil, in which he utilized lively waltzes to juxtapose the film’s horrific concept, cloning Adolf Hitler.  In 1979, Goldsmith composed a score to the landmark science fiction film Alien.  Goldsmith’s score for the film earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score and was one of the AFI’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.  That same year, Goldsmith concluded the decade composing what is widely considered his most recognized and celebrated score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

His score for The Motion Picture earned him Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations and was one of the AFI’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores. Goldsmith would later compose the scores for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), as well as the theme to the television series Star Trek: Voyager in 1995. In addition, his theme for The Motion Picture, as arranged by Dennis McCarthy, was reused as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.

Throughout the 1980s, Goldsmith found himself increasingly scoring science fiction and fantasy films in the ongoing wake of the successful 1977 film Star Wars, composing for such films as the The Omen sequels Damien: Omen II (1978) and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), 1981 space western Outland, 1982 animated fantasy The Secret of NIMH, and the movie version of Twilight Zone: The Movie, which he composed in four different styles to accompany the film’s four stories.  In 1982, Goldsmith was hired to compose the music to the classic Tobe Hooper-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced horror film Poltergeist.  The film’s score garnered him an Academy Award nomination, though he lost again to fellow composer John Williams for Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Goldsmith later returned in 1986 to compose the more synthetic score to Poltergeist II, the first of two sequels.  He did, however, still manage to compose for such non-fantasy productions as the 1981 period television miniseries Masada (for which he won an Emmy Award), the controversial 1982 war film Inchon, the 1982 action classic First Blood, and his Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominated score to 1983 political drama Under Fire.

Throughout the decade, many of his compositions became increasingly laced with synthetic elements such as his scores for the 1983 horror sequel Psycho II, the 1984 comedy horror film Gremlins (for which he won a Saturn Award for Best Music), the 1984 fantasy superhero adaptation Supergirl, Ridley Scott fantasy Legend (initially heard only in European prints and then years later in a 2002 director’s cut, 1985 action sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1985 family fantasy Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, and 1986 horror movie Poltergeist II.   He garnered another Academy Award nomination for his innovative, critically acclaimed score to 1986 sports drama Hoosiers, though he lost to Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight.  During the 80’s, Goldsmith scored the Michael Crichton film, Runaway, the composer’s first all-electronic score. Goldsmith finished out the decade with noteworthy scores to such films as the 1985 science-fiction fantasy family film Explorers, 1987 medieval adventure Lionheart, the 1987 science fiction comedy Innerspace, the 1988 action film Rambo III, the 1989 science fiction horror Leviathan, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), his second Star Trek film score.  His critically acclaimed comedy score to The ‘Burbs (1989) is also noteworthy for the use of pipe organ, recorded dog barking sound effects, and for parodying the trumpet “call to war” triplets on an echoplex from his previous score to Patton (1970).

In 1990, Jerry Goldsmith received critical acclaim for his score to the romantic drama The Russia House.  He also composed critically acclaimed music for the 1990 science fiction action film Total Recall. Other noteworthy scores of the era include Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) (in which Goldsmith also made a brief cameo appearance), the 1991 psychological thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, the 1991 family comedy Mom and Dad Save the World, the 1992 fantasy romance Forever Young, the 1993 thriller The Vanishing, and the 1993 family comedy Dennis the Menace. In 1992, Goldsmith also composed a critically acclaimed score for the medical drama Medicine Man.  In 1992, Goldsmith composed and conducted a score to the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. The soundtrack, an unsettling hybrid of orchestral and electronic elements, garnered him another Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination.  In 1993, Goldsmith also wrote an acclaimed score for the classic sports film Rudy,[48] which has since been used in the trailers for numerous films including Angels in the Outfield (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), and Seabiscuit (2003).  Goldsmith composed acclaimed scores for such films as the 1994 superhero adaptation The Shadow, the 1994 thriller The River Wild, the 1994 romantic comedy I.Q., the 1995 action film Congo, the 1995 fantasy adventure First Knight, the 1995 science fiction drama Powder, the 1996 action film Executive Decision, and his third Star Trek film installment Star Trek: First Contact (1996) which he composed with his son Joel Goldsmith.  In 1995, Goldsmith also composed the theme for the UPN series Star Trek: Voyager for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.

In 1996, Goldsmith composed the critically successful score to the horror action film The Ghost and the Darkness which featured a traditional Irish folk melody interwoven with African rhythms.  In 1997, he was hired to replace a score by Randy Newman for Air Force One.  In 1997, Goldsmith also composed a percussive, jazzy score for the critically acclaimed crime drama L.A. Confidential.  His score garnered him Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, and was also one of the AFI’s 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.  In 1997, he composed a new theme for the Universal Studios opening logo, first heard in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  He also continued with scores for such films as the 1997 survival drama The Edge, his fourth Star Trek film installment in 1998, Star Trek: Insurrection, the 1998 science fiction horror Deep Rising, and the 1998 action thriller U.S. Marshals.  In 1998, he also composed a score of combined Eastern, orchestral, and synthetic elements for the Disney-animated film Mulan, which subsequently earned him his final Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations along with songwriter Matthew Wilder and lyricist David Zippel.  Goldsmith concluded the decade with critically successful scores to such popular films as the 1998 action film Small Soldiers, his penultimate Star Trek film Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), the 1999 action adventure horror The Mummy, the 1999 horror film The Haunting, and the 1999 action adventure The 13th Warrior.  In 1999, he also composed “Fanfare for Oscar” for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

During the early 2000s, Goldsmith composed scores to the 2000 science fiction thriller Hollow Man, the 2001 mystery film Along Came a Spider, the 2001 drama The Last Castle, the 2002 action/political thriller The Sum of All Fears, and his last Star Trek film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), which would also be the last film to feature the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Goldsmith had composed the scores to five of the first ten Star Trek movies up to that point. Goldsmith also composed an original score to the simulator attraction Soarin’ Over California which debuted in 2001 at the Disneyland Resort, and the same attraction Soarin’ which opened in 2005 in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Goldsmith’s final cinematic score, composed during declining health, was the critically acclaimed music for the 2003 live action/animated film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, directed by long-time Goldsmith collaborator Joe Dante.  His last work was with another long-time collaborator, Richard Donner (for whom Goldsmith had scored The Omen in 1976), on the 2003 science fiction film Timeline. However, due to a complicated post-production process, Goldsmith’s score was rejected and replaced by a new score by composer Brian Tyler. Goldsmith’s rejected score was later released on CD in2004 through Varèse Sarabande, not long after his death on July 21, 2004.

My collection includes the following works by Jerry Goldsmith:

Air Force One (1997): Main Title.

Mulan (1998): Suite.

Star Trek, the Motion Picture (1979): End Titles.


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