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1985 Varèse

1993 Silva

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Performed by:
The National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande

Silva Screen Records

Also See:

Audio Clips:
1993 Silva:

1. Overture (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. Arrival on Earth (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. The Map - Alternate Version (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

22. The Vortex/The End of Zaltar (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Both the 1985 and 1993 albums are regular commercial releases. The 1985 Varèse Sarabande album went out of print quickly and sold for over $100 until the debut of the 1993 Silva Screen album, which has remained available for about $20 for more than fifteen years.


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Sales Rank: 289160

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Buy it... if you don't mind your superhero scores flying into the realm of ultra-positive, campy and lofty optimism, especially if they're performed with a massive scope of symphonic power.

Avoid it... if you detest adventure and fantasy scores that can't seem to decide if they're going to address their subject matter seriously or in parody fashion, because while Jerry Goldsmith was apparently attempting to give Supergirl a credible identity, his fluffy tone betrays that purpose.

Supergirl: (Jerry Goldsmith) Rarely are films as terrible as Supergirl. Being terrible doesn't necessarily doom a film if there are either redeeming aspects of its production or a campy taste to its ambience that causes it to unintentionally become a comedy. Neither saving grace came to the rescue of Supergirl, a small studio attempt to draw earnings away from the concurrent Superman franchise. It was originally the intent to explicitly connect the two in Supergirl, though with Christopher Reeve bowing out of his cousin's franchise at the last minute, only slight references are made to establish a connection. In the revised lore of the Superman universe, adapted for the convenience of this picture, there were apparently many survivors of the demolished planet of Krypton, floating about space in small cities. When a young woman accidentally disturbs the power source for her little residential utopia, the city's power source is accidentally lost to Earth and the woman follows it in pursuit. There, she has to wrestle the power source away from Faye Dunaway, fall in love with a dork who eventually connects her two identities, go back to the purgatory where General Zod escaped from and save Peter O'Toole, and generally look cute in her outfit while doing all of this. The script was so unsalvageable that the film was edited several times before its various international release dates. Nothing could save the film once it decided not to tackle its silly subject matter with anything other than complete seriousness. Too many dumb secondary elements and too much self-deprecating dialogue exist in Supergirl to give it a chance at survival. Someone obviously failed to alert Jerry Goldsmith to fact that this production was a disaster befitting of a cheesy score, because the veteran composer evidently chose to address it with an absolutely straight-laced adventure scheme. He doesn't offer the same completely serious demeanor that John Williams attempted to infuse into the more famous superhero's franchise, but he does stir up a significant amount of power and thematic grace. That said, the formula that Goldsmith employs for Supergirl is remarkably similar to that of Williams, dividing the score between similar thematic components and conveying them with immense symphonic bravado. Goldsmith's take is still much more lighthearted, however, exposing perhaps some recognition by the composer that his endeavors were doomed to accompany a disastrous film. It is precisely this bouncing spirit that defines Supergirl as both a success and failure.

The three primary themes of Supergirl follow a predictable pattern of application. The title theme isn't explicitly a march, but Goldsmith does occasionally use the same rhythmic introduction on low strings to suggest imminent greatness. His title theme for Supergirl is airy and heroic, flighty and optimistic, performed with all the muscle that brass and percussion can muster without losing its lofty attitude. Its ultra-positive tone almost reaches to levels of ridiculous camp, but the power of its performances retain just enough legitimacy to keep the idea from devolving into pure silliness. The construct won't necessarily impress, but the rendering will, for Goldsmith doesn't skimp on the bold counterpoint and other intelligent instrumental aspects of the performance. An alluring love theme with the sappiness of some of James Horner's early romantic identities is a secondary element for high strings that often serves as an interlude to the title theme. By far the weakest aspect of Supergirl is Goldsmith's generally anonymous march for the villains, an elusive piece that is robust in its brass stature, but never appears with enough continuity to be memorable. A short reference to John Williams' Superman theme in one cue is a treat. Generally, the score's blatantly optimistic tone will either attract or repel you right off the bat. So pervasive is the major key exuberance in the title theme and romantic interludes that Supergirl can be too sugary at times. This is especially the case when Goldsmith doesn't blow you out of your seat with symphonic and choral power. Both the chorus and Goldsmith's electronic elements are underplayed in the score, with the singing group only providing ambient assistance to a handful of cues. The electronics are still arguably a detriment to Supergirl, with a rising pitch effect used to address the fantasy element consistently throughout the work. It's a distracting effect that was removed from a few alternate takes that eventually were used in the film instead. Goldsmith had to record multiple versions of several cues in Supergirl for this exact reason, suggesting a possible identity crisis within the score. A 1993 Silva Screen album of a whopping 78 minutes of music provided many of these alternate takes, following a 40-minute CD from Varèse Sarabande in 1985 (a very early digital offering from the label). On the whole, Supergirl is an ambitious and likable score with a massive recording, but its positive tone is simply too overblown to tolerate in many parts. There comes a point when superhero music is so blatantly heroic that it becomes tedious, and Supergirl occasionally reaches that point. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,580 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.31 Stars
Smart Average: 3.22 Stars*
***** 47 
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    * Smart Average only includes
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   fun main theme
  Caio -- 9/7/12 (10:41 p.m.)
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 Track Listings (1985 Varèse Sarabande Album): Total Time: 39:35

• 1. Main Title (3:12)
• 2. "Where is She?" (1:05)
• 3. Black Magic (4:06)
• 4. First Flight (4:14)
• 5. The Butterfly (1:34)
• 6. "Where is Linda?" (1:14)
• 7. The Monster Tractor (7:26)
• 8. The Bracelet (1:24)
• 9. Monster Storm (2:55)
• 10. A New School (2:08)
• 11. The Flying Car (1:25)
• 12. The Map (1:10)
• 13. 9M-3 (1:41)
• 14. End Title (6:05)

 Track Listings (1993 Silva Screen Album): Total Time: 77:37

• 1. Overture (6:07)
• 2. Main Title & Argo City** (3:15)
• 3. Argo City Mall* (0:56)
• 4. The Butterfly (1:36)
• 5. The Journey Begins* (1:12)
• 6. Arrival on Earth*/Flying Ballet (5:36)
• 7. Chicago Lights*/Street Attack (2:23)
• 8. The Superman Poster** (0:52)
• 9. A New School (2:13)
• 10. The Map (1:10)
• 11. Ethan Spellbound* (2:13)
• 12. The Monster Tractor (7:34)
• 13. Flying Ballet - Alternate Version* (2:13)
• 14. The Map - Alternate Version* (1:13)
• 15. The Bracelet (1:44)
• 16. First Kiss*/The Monster Storm** (4:35)
• 17. "Where is She"/The Monster Bumper Cars (2:57)
• 18. The Flying Bumper Car (1:28)
• 19. "Where's Linda?" (1:21)
• 20. Black Magic (4:08)
• 21. The Phantom Zone* (3:42)
• 22. The Vortex/The End of Zaltar (5:49)
• 23. The Final Showdown & Victory*/End Title - Short Version* (12:10)

* previously unreleased
** different from previously released version

 Notes and Quotes:  

Both the 1985 and 1993 albums contain notes about the score and/or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Supergirl are Copyright © 1985, 1993, Varèse Sarabande, Silva Screen 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 7/20/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.