View CD Page at FSM Site (More Details)
This CD is an action/suspense doubleheader from the riches of the Twentieth Century Fox vaults, comprised of a mid-'60s feature film score by Jerry Goldsmith, showing off the best, astringent attitude of his television music, and a television movie score by David Shire, for a production with feature film ambitions. Each story involves in some way the powerful interactions of nations and the plight of refugees, told with a lean, ascetic sensibility.
Morituri is an obscure but interesting 1965 suspense film starring Marlon Brando as a German deserter blackmailed into accepting an undercover mission as a Gestapo officer on board a freighter during World War II, with Yul Brynner as the ship's tough but sympathetic captain. From this simple premise the film evolves into a complex story of moral ambiguities, torn allegiances and twisted loyalties. Jerry Goldsmith seized upon these tortured undercurrents to provide a gritty, dynamic score that expanded upon his best adventure music for television (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., "Jonah and the Whale" from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) and placed it in the expanding scale of his feature film work (The Satan Bug). Taking his cue from The Third Man, Goldsmith wrote a main theme for solo zither -- sad, mysterious and Eastern European—which, as always for the composer, becomes the hook on which the entire score is hung.
Morituri is presented on this CD in complete form, including music cut from the film. For the first time, the score has been remixed to stereo allowing the composer's aggressive, ostinato-based action music to blast through the way it was meant to be heard—with low-end piano, electric bass and harpsichord adding to Goldsmith's indelible style. (A previous, unauthorized CD release of Morituri was in hissy mono and lacked the zither overdubs for all of the interior scoring.)
Raid on Entebbe was a 1977 telefilm (released theatrically overseas) about a daring hostage rescue carried out by Israeli commandos at the Entebbe airfield in Uganda in summer 1976. Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) directed a skilled cast including Peter Finch, Charles Bronson, Yaphet Kotto, Martin Balsam, Horst Buchholz and a young James Woods in a documentary-style telling of the hijacking and rescue of the Israeli passengers. Scoring the production was David Shire, who had cemented his reputation as one of the most intelligent and sensitive composers to work in the 1970s (The Conversation, The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three, All the President's Men). Shire's sparse score deftly underscores the threat of the terrorists, the anguish of the hostages and the celebration of their return (the last cue featuring an authentic Israeli folksong).
Most notably Shire wrote a pulsating, aggresive theme for the Israeli commandos which is the best—and possibly the only—example of "Jewish action music" in the history of film, with four pianos beefing up the bassline. For this premiere album release, Shire has assembled a four-movement suite of his score to best program the music for independent listening; the action music is collected as "The Raid." The suite is presented in clean mono sound.
Morituri and Raid on Entebbe—together again for the first time!