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Black Sunday
(1977)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Conducted by:

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer

Produced by:
Lukas Kendall
Mike Matessino
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Film Score Monthly
(January, 2010)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Limited specialty release of 10,000 copies. The unusually high quantity of the FSM pressing was intended to keep the album available at its initial retail price of $20 for a few years.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek a grim, but intelligent maturation of John Williams' morbidly suspenseful thriller material that developed throughout his disaster scores of the 1970's.

Avoid it... if you expect any part of this score to rival Williams' famous alternatives in 1977, for as technically precise as his subdued ideas for Black Sunday may be, they are not as memorable in most of their elaborations.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,583
WRITTEN 2/22/10
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Williams
Williams
Black Sunday: (John Williams) The spectacular success of disaster films in the first half of the 1970's had fizzled by 1977, but that didn't stop studios late to the party to attempt their own thrillers with unlikely plotlines. By the time of Black Sunday and The Swarm, among others, the genre was no longer attracting massive box office returns or awards consideration, especially with the space fantasy era officially in full swing. Paramount's Black Sunday stretched the concept beyond the usual realm of natural disasters and instead fashioned its story as one of political revenge, though mass terror and death were still the potential outcome. After the Israelis turn up the heat on the Palestinians in response to the Black September terrorist attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics, their battle is carried to America. There, the Palestinians almost succeed in their plan to smuggle a massive, dart-shooting bomb into the country, hang it from the bottom of the Goodyear blimp, and detonate it at the Super Bowl (with the American president in attendance). After solving logistical hurdles involving the use of the Goodyear name on the blimp and the shooting of actors interacting at (and interfering with) actual NFL events, director John Frankenheimer was left to populate the film's earlier portions with a suspenseful cat and mouse game featuring actors Robert Shaw, Bruce Dern, and Marthe Keller. The film was well received critically but failed to generate much popular interest, a circumstance that extended to John Williams' score. In the year that otherwise brought Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind from the quickly ascending composer, it's no surprise that Black Sunday became lost in the mix. By comparison to its two highly recognized peers of 1977, the score for Black Sunday was thematically functional but underwhelming, edited extensively in the final version of the film and, despite the composer's early intentions, neglected on album. There is nothing in the instrumentation or constructs of Black Sunday that can compete with the memorable elements in Williams' other scores of the year, though his collectors will undoubtedly find merit in his subdued but still technically precise ideas for the concept.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
150 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.02 Stars
***** 22 5 Stars
**** 36 4 Stars
*** 38 3 Stars
** 32 2 Stars
* 22 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 63:57
• 1. Beirut (0:37)
• 2. Commandos Arrive (1:15)
• 3. Commando Raid (5:30)
• 4. It Was Good/Dahlia Arrives/The Unloading (3:11)
• 5. Speed Boat Chase (1:50)
• 6. The Telephone Man/The Captain Returns (2:14)
• 7. Nurse Dahlia/Kabakov's Card/The Hypodermic (3:28)
• 8. Moshevsky's Dead (1:57)
• 9. The Test (1:55)
• 10. Building the Bomb (1:53)
• 11. Miami/Dahlia's Call (2:26)
• 12. The Last Night (1:28)
• 13. Preparations (2:42)
• 14. Passed (0:31)
• 15. The Flight Check (1:49)
• 16. Airborne/Bomb Passes Stadium (1:46)
• 17. Farley's Dead (1:33)
• 18. The Blimp and the Bomb (3:12)
• 19. The Take Off (1:43)
• 20. Underway (0:39)
• 21. Air Chase (Part 1) (1:12)
• 22. Air Chase (Parts 2 and 3)/The Blimp Hits (7:19)
• 23. The Explosion (2:36)
• 24. The End (2:15)

Alternates and Source Music: (8:58)
• 25. Hotel Lobby (Source) (1:49)
• 26. Fight Song #1 (Source) (0:51)
• 27. Fight Song #2 (Source) (1:45)
• 28. The End (Alternate, Without Percussion) (2:20)
• 29. The Explosion (Revised Ending)/The End (Film Edit) (2:12)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The album contains Film Score Monthly's usual level of extensive notation about the film and score.
Copyright © 2010-2015, 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 Black Sunday are Copyright © 2010, Film Score Monthly and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/22/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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