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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Adventure > Soundtrack > Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1961, Limited CD)

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1961 Feature Film)

(Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B-     Music: B



I was never a big fan of the 1961 feature film version of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, I liked some of its cast, yet I also found the music to be odd.  Film Score Monthly’s FSM CD label has issued the music for the film for the first time on its own, and the result is emphasizing the “dreamy” dream sequence-like glissando strings that open the film are its most dated aspect.  However, the Paul Sawtell/Bert Shefter score comes across better in other areas when separated from the problematic film.


In the informative booklet (as always included in all FSM CDs), they correctly site Track 2 (Dive) as a future influence on the work of James Horner (specifically his work on the Star Trek films, for which I would specifically site The Wrath Of Khan) and Basil Poledouris (with his underrated work on Paul Verhoeven’s terrific Starship Troopers), but this made me think also of Horner’s work in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, which owes something to the space music sequences (both have moments where spaceships have their functions kicking in) in John Barry’s remarkable James Bond score for Diamonds Are Forever.  It is the kind of influence music fans will most readily note.  The problem is that the good and poor moments of the score are both seated with the feel of stagnation the film itself offers, but it did not stop some good music from being produced here, just the same.


The Frankie Avalon-vocal on the title song further demonstrates the problems.  At this point, many in power had yelped a collective sigh of relief that the rock genre was dead, with Elvis in the Army and neutralized by assimilation with old school stars, plus the fates of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Richie Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis and other “troublemakers” who listened to “that music” in the late 1950s.  Those disturbed higher-ups used perceived “safe” stars like Frankie Avalon to fill in and hopefully offer Pat Boone’s for a new generation in an effort to keep the 1960s like the 1950s.  It didn’t work, and neither does this song.  Too bad co-star Barbara Eden wasn’t asked.  There are some bonus tracks, including a mono-version of the title song by vocalist Bill Lee that is little improvement over the final product.


The PCM CD 2.0 Stereo sound has separation, but not what it could or should be, even for its age.  Despite the fact that this came from original magnetic stereo sources, except for that bonus track, this does not feel like the expanding deep sound that most effectively accompanied CinemaScope films.  Why earlier such scores like How To Marry A Millionaire (reviewed elsewhere in this site) sound better is odd, but it is what it is.  The film was issued on a DVD double feature from Fox back in 2000 with Fantastic Voyage, while the TV series has yet to hit the format.  That DVD had the feature in Dolby Digital 4.0, but it is too old to compare to this CD, so we’ll wait for a reissue.


Though I was not a fan of the film and its plot is dated severely (i.e., blasting nuclear weapons in space to “save” earth), I did find that the TV series had much more merit and actually holds up better, an exception to the rule of such spinning-off and maybe FSM will do that TV soundtrack down the line.  In the meantime, this CD has been limited to only 3,000 pressings, so if you want it, go to www.filmscoremonthly.com for ordering information.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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