Loner (Limited Edition CD
Stagecoach Music: B- Loner
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