SUPPORT FILMTRACKS! CLICK HERE FIRST:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
iTunes (U.S.)
Amazon.ca
Amazon.fr
eBay (U.S.)
Amazon.de
Amazon.es
Half.com
Glisten Effect
Editorial Reviews
Scoreboard Forum
Viewer Ratings
Composers
Awards
   NEWEST MAJOR REVIEWS:
     1. Jurassic World
    2. Tomorrowland
   3. San Andreas
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road
 5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Cinderella
   BEST OF JAMES HORNER (1953-2015):
         1. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
        2. Willow
       3. The Land Before Time
      4. Glory
     5. Legends of the Fall
    6. Apollo 13
   7. Titanic
  8. The Legend of Zorro
 9. Avatar
10. The Amazing Spider-Man
Home Page
Alien
(1979)
Album Cover Art
1988 Silva
2007 Intrada
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed by:

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Conducted by:
Lionel Newman

Performed by:
The National Philharmonic Orchestra

2007 Album Produced by:
Mike Matessino
Nick Redman
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Silva Screen Records
(1988)

Intrada Records
(November 20th, 2007)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The 1988 album from Silva Screen was a regular commercial release but fell out of print in the 1990's. The 2007 2-CD set from Intrada Records is not limited, but it retails for $30.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe.
Also See Icon
ALSO SEE




Decorative Nonsense
PRINTER FRIENDLY VIEW
(inverts site colors)





Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the 2007 Intrada Records album if you seek a comprehensive examination of how Jerry Goldsmith intended for his challenging score to be placed in the film.

Avoid it... if you expect the listening experience to be pleasant, for outside of the ten or so minutes of Goldsmith's whimsically romantic title theme of mystery, the remainder of Alien is difficult to enjoy for purely entertainment purposes.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #979
WRITTEN 7/15/09
Shopping Icon
BUY IT

2007 Album

Goldsmith
Goldsmith
Alien: (Jerry Goldsmith) While Ridley Scott's 1979 space thriller Alien is looked upon with high admiration thirty years after its debut, the film owes James Cameron's 1986 sequel for much of that praise. The Scott production wasn't the knockout blockbuster of the summer season that 20th Century Fox had hoped, losing the box office battle to several other major pictures. That said, Alien has acquired significant respect through time, mostly due to its conceptualization and the subsequent development of the idea into further stories. From the depiction of Sigourney Weaver as one of the big screen's first major female action stars to the design of the terrifying alien creature itself, Alien was a successful haunted house-style of story set in the already perilous and unfamiliar setting of space. The title character in Alien, as well its strikingly grotesque reproductive process, is about as memorable an adversary ever to challenge a group of unsuspecting human beings. Despite all of the accolades that Scott has received through the years for Alien's various production qualities, there remains one area in which the film was a total disaster: its music. Scott was enthusiastic to work with veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith, arguably at the height of his career at the time, for this production. Equally pleased was Scott's former sound and music editor and, for Alien, his lead editor, Terry Rawlings. Upon securing Goldsmith for the assignment, Rawlings, with Scott's blessing, had assembled a wealth of Goldsmith's previous music for employment as a temp track in the film. Goldsmith, who was never a fan of temp tracking in the first place, was disdainful of these placements and completely disregarded them when fashioning his music for Alien. From there, matters only got worse. The composer completed the recording of almost an hour of music for Alien and moved on to other projects, returning to the production for a handful of re-scoring duties not long after. To his horror, the finished version of Alien would only place one (yes, one) of his cues in its entirety and in its proper place in the film. His music had been completely mangled by Scott and Rawlings, chopped into pieces and moved indiscriminately throughout the film. To make matters worse, significant portions of Goldsmith's 1962 score for Freud and a 1967 recording of Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2" were interspersed between Goldsmith's original Alien material as well. It was, in short, a nightmare.

In the long and illustrious career of Jerry Goldsmith, there was perhaps no film score assignment that bothered the man more than Alien. While both Scott and Rawlings showered praise upon Goldsmith for some of his efforts for the film (as well as his career in sum), they never withheld the fact that they considered his approach to some of the film's sequences to be plain wrong, claiming that the score did not solicit the proper emotional response that Scott had desired. Unfortunately, anyone familiar with Scott's career before and after Alien will easily recognize that the director has never had a keen sense for a cohesive musical arc in his films. His insistence upon using any particular piece of music from any genre for any scene without consideration to the overall musical identity of a film is a persistent problem for him. Goldsmith claimed at the time that Scott simply didn't know what he was doing in terms of musical direction because of his youth. But that's too easy on Scott; instead, the man's inability to gauge the musical needs of his films is plainly evident, and Alien is the most clearly recognizable testimony to this fact. Goldsmith's approach to Alien was one that was far more intelligent that Scott's. The composer handled the film's opening (and briefly in it is closing) with a whimsical atmosphere of mysterious fantasy. This was his way of defining the wonders of space travel without forcing the horror elements down the audience's throats (insert face hugger joke here as you see fit) from the very beginning. In fact, Goldsmith maintains a level of fantasy without the burden of heavy suspense for quite some time in the score as he wrote it for the film. Only upon the fierce battle between the alien and the Nostromo crew does Goldsmith truly emphasize his exotic instrumentation and stinger tactics for the outright horror of the plot. He then returns to the somewhat romantic tone of fantasy for the resolution and end titles of Alien, creating a solid sense of cohesion. Unfortunately, Scott completely refused all of these romantic leanings that Goldsmith had assigned the score, insisting that the composer re-score the early and late cues without the statements of the score's primary theme and instead emphasizing the suspenseful motifs and instrumentation from the start. Goldsmith complied with these requests, but even such alterations didn't save the score from its ultimate butchering. The entire process exposed Scott's refusal to recognize the intelligent (and, in retrospect, obvious) progression of the composer's work.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
439 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.48 Stars
***** 154 5 Stars
**** 82 4 Stars
*** 79 3 Stars
** 73 2 Stars
* 51 1 Stars
  (View results for all titles)

Comments Icon
COMMENTS
7 TOTAL COMMENTS
Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Disdain for Scott?   Expand >>
Indiana Schwartz - July 20, 2009, at 5:07 p.m.
2 comments  (2034 views)
Newest: February 5, 2013, at 10:49 p.m.by Jamie
What?????   Expand >>
Bernardo - July 20, 2009, at 10:27 a.m.
2 comments  (2162 views)
Newest: June 26, 2010, at 5:52 p.m.by Impersonator (name removed)
I just have 1 question - How the hell do you lose master tapes in the 1st place? *NM*   Expand >>
R_S - July 19, 2009, at 10:11 p.m.
2 comments  (1938 views)
Newest: July 20, 2009, at 2:46 a.m.by Mark Malmstrøm
Good warrants
JBlough - July 19, 2009, at 4:20 p.m.
1 comment  (1028 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
1988 Silva Screen Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 35:28
• 1. Main Title (3:34)
• 2. Face Hugger (2:35)
• 3. Breakaway (3:04)
• 4. Acid Test (4:37)
• 5. The Landing (4:33)
• 6. The Droid (4:45)
• 7. The Recovery (2:47)
• 8. The Alien Planet (2:31)
• 9. The Shaft (4:00)
• 10. End Title (3:02)
2007 Intrada Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 126:20

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert of the 2007 set includes extensive information about the score and film.
Copyright © 2009-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Alien are Copyright © 1988, 2007, Silva Screen Records, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/15/09 (and not updated significantly since).
Reviews Preload Scoreboard decoration Ratings Preload Composers Preload Awards Preload Home Preload Search Preload