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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Soundtrack > Stagecoach (1966)/The Loner (TV) (Limited CD)

Stagecoach (1966)/The Loner (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Stagecoach Music: B-     Loner Music: B



Sometimes a composer gets pulled into one too many of the same type of film, and when Jerry Goldsmith composed the music for the 1966 remake of Stagecoach, he was somewhat repeating his work on the superior Rio Conchos two years before.  One of the reasons this may have happened is the same director, Gordon Douglas, and that was such a success, why not.


However, it does not quite work out as it should and makes for one of the less exciting scores by Goldsmith.  It is still very professional, smart, and flows well enough, but it feels restricted somehow when it does not feel like we’ve heard it all before.  Even those who have never heard Rio Conchos will wonder why is this score feeling held back?  Maybe a problem is simply remaking a classic and hedging one’s bets.  Douglas had more to worry about than Goldsmith in this respect.  Perhaps too the approach was due to the film being part of a more innocent time in the West, but that feels backwards after their previous film and the Leone/Morricone films that were being made at the time.


This also dates it more, but not as much as the Wayne Newton vocal on the end theme.  On the other hand, the music for the Rod Serling Western series The Loner (1965-66) plays much better, because Goldsmith knew Serling was trying something innovative with the genre even feature films were not.  The result is about 20 minutes of music for a show that did not make it, but could have.


Goldsmith had created brilliant music for his Twilight Zone, so it is no surprise Serling would have him again on another series.  As a result, when this material has the feel of Rio Conchos and happens to be derived from work from his breakthrough score Lonely are the Brave; it has more of a point and impact.  This “Mexican flavored, revisionist approach” as the liner notes define it, works best for Goldsmith and the films, usually appropriate for most of his vision of the West and where applicable in the film (or TV) project relevant.


The PCM CD sound is good, especially surprising on the TV tracks, which include a spoken section on the main title.  That is the final track on this CD, which is limited to only 3,000 copies.  You can obtain a copy of this, other Goldsmith scores (including many of his Westerns) through the FSM label of Film Score Monthly magazine and all you have to do is visit www.filmscoremonthly.com to learn more.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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