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1990 Varèse

1995 Milan

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Maurice Jarre

Song Performed by:
The Righteous Brothers

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(July 24th, 1990)

Milan Records
(October 24th, 1995)

Audio Clips:
2. Ghost (0:30):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (233K)
Real Audio (145K)

3. Sam (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

7. Unchained Melody (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

8. End Credits (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

Both albums were regular U.S. releases, though the 1990 Varèse Sarabande album is out of print.

  Nominated for an Academy Award.


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Sales Rank: 208284

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Buy it... if you would be satisfied with eight minutes of "Unchained Melody" (vocal and instrumental) and four minutes of a classic Maurice Jarre theme.

Avoid it... if you desire extended performances of either of those themes or want a compilation of songs from the Righteous Brothers era.

Ghost: (Maurice Jarre) It's hard to associate anything related to the movie Ghost without thinking of Demi Moore, sexually suggestive pottery, or the song "Unchained Melody." Moore and the controversial pottery aside, the tale of promised love and protection became a hit in 1990 partly because of the prominent use of "Unchained Melody" during several scenes in the film. As a story, Ghost is not the typical romantic comedy, hindered by death, melancholy, and remorse. And yet, the mysticism of Sam and Molly's love story was partly elevated to the level of cult status by the film's music. The score rises from the depths of Maurice Jarre's long and storied career, and many casual fans will be able to recognize Jarre's own theme for the film along with the major song adaptation. Some people forget that "Unchained Melody" was written for the film Unchained by composer Alex North, and the offshoot of that original instrumental writing was the Righteous Brothers performance that became famous for decades to follow. The use of the Righteous Brothers song in the film, while definitely the reason why masses of the world's population rushed to the stores for many years to buy the album, is even overshadowed by North's own instrumental version of the "Unchained Melody" theme, which is more true to the original spirit of the composition and appears in the film as well. Film score collectors can make fun of pottery all they want, but nothing will cause Jarre's effort to stand at the same level as the song. That said, Jarre's score is an interesting study in and of itself, combining an early North-like orchestral simplicity of lofty string theme with an often curious and disjointed effort to fill in the remainder of the underscore with electronics. The resulting combination is one that fans found displeasing to an extent on album, causing Ghost to become one of the easiest used-CD bin finds in the history of soundtracks (and a price of $1 for new copies in the 2000's). Aside from saying that North's instrumental version of the "Unchained Melody" song is equal to the vocal performance, there isn't much that can be said about the song that isn't already widely known.

Jarre's score is the surprising element for many first time listeners to Ghost. Nominated for an Academy Award on the back of the song, Jarre's score featured an equally romantic orchestral theme, one which has received enough airtime that casual listeners may even recognize it as well. Unfortunately, Jarre only hints slightly at the theme for the majority of the score until, during the end titles, he finally presents a four-minute suite performance of the lush orchestral idea in all its glory. Its harmonic grandeur harkens back to the expansive days of Lawrence of Arabia for Jarre, and offers perhaps the last great theme of his career. While the composer has been active for many years following Ghost (and writing strong material), he has never again achieved the same mainstream appeal. Not much in the positive category can be said of the tense material, however, which consists mainly of broken action cues and a great length of unpleasantly grinding and droning electronic effects. Without any knowledge of the film, a listener to the album could very well be confused into believing that score is for a horror mystery, which wouldn't be too far from the truth, depending on your opinion of the film. The dissonance and obnoxious synthesized clangs of this underscore continue for lengthy sequences, causing the album to drag significantly in its middle portions. The tone of Jarre's shallow samplings is badly dated, too. In fact, without Jarre's "End Credits" and the instrumental adaptation of "Unchained Melody," a two-star rating would result for this score. The music has been released twice on album, first in 1990 by Varèse Sarabande (an album which became an all-time top seller for the label), and then remastered with seven extra minutes of Jarre's score in 1995 by Milan Records. The additional material may not be stellar, but the remastering and additional packaging give the more recent Milan album the edge (though this may be a moot point given that the Varèse Sarabande album is out of print). At any rate, Ghost is a very mixed bag, with one grand, new orchestral theme and one great song surrounded by mediocre underscore. Mainstream buyers should be aware that neither Ghost album is a collection of period songs similar to the Righteous Brothers performance. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.34 Stars
Smart Average: 3.24 Stars*
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 Track Listings (1990 Varèse Sarabande Album): Total Time: 38:37

• 1. Unchained Melody - performed by Righteous Brothers (3:39)
• 2. Ghost (7:24)
• 3. Sam (5:33)
• 4. Ditto (3:19)
• 5. Carl (4:06)
• 6. Molly (6:17)
• 7. Unchained Melody - instrumental version composed by Alex North and Hy Zaret) (4:00)
• 8. End Credits (4:16)

 Track Listings (1995 Milan Records Album): Total Time: 45:44

• 1. Unchained Melody - performed by Righteous Brothers (3:39)
• 2. Ghost (7:24)
• 3. Sam (5:33)
• 4. Ditto (3:19)
• 5. Carl (4:06)
• 6. Molly (6:17)
• 7. Unchained Melody - instrumental version composed by Alex North and Hy Zaret) (4:00)
• 8. End Credits (4:16)
• 9. Fire Escape (bonus track) (3:12)
• 10. Oda Mae & Carl (bonus track) (3:55)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The 1990 Varèse Sarabande insert includes no extra information about the score or film, though the 1995 Milan version includes liner notes by Daniel Schweiger. All tracks on the 1995 album were digitally remastered.

  All artwork and sound clips from Ghost are Copyright © 1990, 1995, Varèse Sarabande, Milan Records. 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 4/24/03 and last updated 3/26/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.