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The Accidental Tourist
1989 Warner

2008 FSM

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer
John Neufeld

2008 Album Produced by:
Lukas Kendall

Labels and Dates:
Warner Bros. Records
(January 24th, 1989)

Film Score Monthly
(May, 2008)

Also See:
Stanley & Iris
Home Alone

Audio Clips:
1989 Warner Album:

3. Trip to London (0:34):
WMA (220K)  MP3 (274K)
Real Audio (171K)

4. The Healing Process (0:29):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (234K)
Real Audio (145K)

6. On a Rainy Afternoon (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

11. Rose and Julian (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (249K)
Real Audio (155K)

The 1989 Warner album was a regular commercial release, but it was completely out of print by 1996 and valued at $60 or above. The 2008 FSM album is a straight retail re-issue without limitation on unit quantities.

  Nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

The Accidental Tourist
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Used Price: $15.00

Sales Rank: 264792

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Buy it... only if you have already established a liking for John Williams' highly repetitive, subdued character scores of relatively simplistic development.

Avoid it... if you have become accustomed to the inherent warmth and sense of magic that emanate from the complexities of Williams' many superior character scores.

The Accidental Tourist: (John Williams) A film about both depression and laughter, The Accidental Tourist reunited director Lawrence Kasdan with actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. Having established themselves in Body Heat several years earlier, they turned their attention to this adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel. Hurt's character writes travel books for people afraid of traveling, and upon his son's death, he falls into a hopeless depression that causes his wife, Turner, to leave him. Through his dog, the only connection he has to the outside world is the quirky Geena Davis, who he meets at a kennel. Davis begins the task of bringing the author back to life, and she manages to slowly accomplish this through humor and determination. The Accidental Tourist certainly dwells in the lengthy scenes of Hurt's character's loneliness, and much of John Williams' score for the film mirrors that introverted reflection. But the integration of the humor into the story, as well as Kasdan's ability to make the characters likeable even through their troubles, launched The Accidental Tourist to critical success. Coming at the end of a relatively sparse period in Williams' career in the mid-1980's (he had become heavily involved with the Boston Pops at the beginning of the decade and that took time away from his composing duties), The Accidental Tourist would achieve yet another Academy Award nomination for Williams, whose work received awards recognition more often than not at the time. The score also became one of the composer's first debuting works to be offered to fans on the new CD format. His restrained character scores, while obviously not the most memorable in his career, were still considered top products at the time. Debate between Williams collectors continues, however, about the merits of these character works; The Accidental Tourist shares many traits with Stanley & Iris, Stepmom, and Williams' half a dozen other subdued efforts, and to adequately rate them against each other, there are intangible factors of warmth and magic that come into play. Somewhere in the middle of that list, The Accidental Tourist resides.

The structure of this score follows very similar lines as Stanley & Iris, although The Accidental Tourist as a film differs from Stanley & Iris in one important way; whereas Stanley & Iris never seems to mature from beginning to end, The Accidental Tourist builds up to a revelation in both the film and its score. The masses of both underscores suffer from a considerable amount of repetition, though. Williams' theme for The Accidental Tourist is an exact, note-for-note prediction of the title theme for Stanley & Iris and a subtheme for Home Alone, making it instantly recognizable for a Williams collector, but disappointing at the same time. From start to finish, Williams regurgitates this theme endlessly, from the overdrawn sequences of loneliness during the first half to the one strong ensemble performance in "A New Beginning." Unlike Stanley & Iris, the performances of The Accidental Tourist have a fuller orchestral sound, even in the moments of contemplation. Still, in cues such as "Macon Alone" and "The Healing Process," Williams fails to assert his themes with a rhythm or other twist of memorability beyond the very simple elegance of the many piano solos. In a handful of cues, the otherwise flat demeanor of the music (much like Hurt's character) peeks out of its shell. First, in "Trip to London," and then in the concert piece from the score, "A Second Chance," Williams finally bows to some of the playful humor that Davis' character brings into the equation. As mentioned before, "A New Beginning" offers the overplayed theme in the appropriate, but long awaited orchestral crescendo, quickly identifying itself as the highlight of the score. A longer album than that of Stanley & Iris compounds the problem of listenability, for a person could lose patience with this score long before that finale. The original printing run of Warner's CD for The Accidental Tourist was not very long, and the album fell badly out of print and became a high collectible for Williams' fans. Film Score Monthly acquired the rights to the score in 2008 and pressed an identical presentation (without usual unit limitations) to alleviate availability issues. As with Williams' other character scores that have suffered from exorbitant prices through the years, be absolutely sure that you will find relaxation or other satisfaction in The Accidental Tourist. Otherwise, it could leave you surprisingly cold. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 338,226 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.06 Stars
Smart Average: 3.04 Stars*
***** 55 
**** 63 
*** 65 
** 57 
* 49 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Track Listing Error?
  Trackman 2000 -- 4/17/10 (6:45 a.m.)
   Re: A timeless masterpiece
  Roman.-) -- 3/26/10 (2:01 p.m.)
   A timeless masterpiece
  Rob -- 12/20/07 (8:55 p.m.)
   One of Williams' greatest!
  Adam Lewis -- 2/14/07 (2:40 a.m.)
   Incredible Work 5 Stars
  Jared -- 2/13/06 (5:36 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings (Both Albums): Total Time: 41:36

• 1. Main Title (2:31)
• 2. Maron Alone (4:41)
• 3. Trip to London (1:52)
• 4. The Healing Process (5:09)
• 5. Fixing the Plumbing (3:13)
• 6. On a Rainy Afternoon (3:10)
• 7. A Second Chance (3:10)
• 8. Wedding Scene (2:49)
• 9. Back with Sara (4:03)
• 10. Bedroom Conversation (4:36)
• 11. Rose and Julian (2:08)
• 12. A New Beginning (3:26)
• 13. End Credits (A Second Chance - Reprise) (3:10)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert of the 1989 Warner album includes no extra information about the score or film. The 2008 Film Score Monthly album contains the label's usual level of extensive notation about the film and score.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Accidental Tourist are Copyright © 1989, 2008, Warner Bros. Records, Film Score Monthly. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/15/98 and last updated 2/25/10. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.