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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1984 Polydor

2008 Expanded Set

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer
Alexander Courage

Labels and Dates:
Polydor (International)

Concord Records (Set)
(November 11th, 2008)

Also See:
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Audio Clips:
2008 Concord Set:

CD2, 4. Fast Streets of Shanghai (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2, 8. The Scroll/To Pankot Palace (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

CD2, 16. Slave Children's Crusade (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2, 22. End Credits (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

The 1984 Polydor album was distributed in Germany and Japan several times between its debut and 1991 (including a pressing by the regional label Edel in Europe), though all versions were considered collectibles in the 1990's, sometimes fetching $75 or more.

The 2008 set (called "The Soundtrack Collection") is a regular commercial product with a retail price of $60 but initally sold for $43 to $45 at primarily major online outlets.

  Nominated for an Academy Award.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
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Buy it... if you want the flavor of John Williams' music for Raiders of the Lost Ark but are deterred by the composer's scherzo-formatted action material, in which case Temple of Doom is a superior alternative.

Avoid it... only if you're going to allow your dislike of the film to get in the way of a score that is far more impressive on the 2008 remastered and expanded set than it was on all its previous products.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: (John Williams) Some say that 1984's sequel to the classic Steven Spielberg film Raiders of the Lost Ark nearly killed the Indiana Jones franchise. Indeed, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was not received well by either critics or, in the same overwhelming numbers, by audiences. Their serial format wasn't particularly different, though Spielberg and writer/producer George Lucas did their best to push the title character in completely fresh new directions to avoid claims of a rehash. The adventures of America's favorite archeologist took him to India and the Far East, tackling a voodoo fortress, saving a village missing its children, and wisecracking with Spielberg's future wife in tow. The director fought to avoid an "R" rating for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, barely obtaining a "PG" rating instead by toning back some of the intense, ritual sacrifice scenes (though still, in part, inspiring the creation of the "PG-13" rating). In retrospect, the film is better than many gave it credit for, especially the almost nonstop twenty minutes of action near the beginning. The incorporation of a sidekick was a tiresome aspect of the plot, however, and few were ready to accept Kate Capshaw as a replacement for Karen Allen from the original film. Still, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has plenty to offer, and composer John Williams was prepared to build upon Raiders of the Lost Ark, a score destined to be considered among his very best, with an extensive, wall-to-wall effort that balanced familiar themes with an emphasis on a plethora of new constructs. Many listeners readily agree that Temple of Doom stands far apart from the other three scores in the franchise, the only one not to make reference to the theme for the Ark of the Covenant from the first film or share another secondary construct (outside of the title theme and a short in-joke) with another film. The thematic material in Temple of Doom, for instance, would never resurface in the two later scores. Also distinguishing the second score, however, is the incredible amount of source material that Williams had to write and incorporate into the score. Add to this equation the need for chanting choral elements, performed with Sanskrit lyrics, and Temple of Doom exists apart from the remainder of the franchise as a very unique entry.

One area in which Williams hit the nail directly on the head for Temple of Doom was in the exploration of new musical territory while remaining loyal to both the symphonic sound and title march from Raiders of the Lost Ark. With so much music required for Temple of Doom, the composer needed to supply several new themes and a wealth of source material without losing the franchise's identity, and in this task he admirably succeeds. Fans of the title march will appreciate its spirited entrance during the chase sequence in "Fast Streets of Shanghai," including a performance very similar to the early escape sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark (including even the horn-performed bridge section of the theme). The subsequent cue, "Map/Out of Fuel," treats the franchise's famous map sequences with another bubbly performance of the theme, meanwhile introducing two other themes in traditional Williams romanticism. The title theme's trumpet reminders continue in action cues like "Bug Tunnel/Death Trap" and "Short Round Helps" before being allowed extended treatment during the finale and end titles. The only other part of Raiders of the Lost Ark to inform Temple of Doom is "The Basket Chase" cue from the original, translated into the percussive rhythm and wild violin figures early in "Slalom on Mt. Humol" (with a few brass progressions that will also remind of the idea), as well as the humorous reference to the infamous confrontation within "The Basket Chase" in "The Sword Trick" to match a similar scenario in the new story. There are three primary new themes joining the old favorites in Temple of Doom, along with two lesser motifs. These five ideas are surprisingly engrained in both each other and the existing material, producing a very satisfactory level of intelligent development. The primary new identity of Temple of Doom is the theme for the temple itself and the slave children within. This driving march is a complicated piece, consisting of a forceful primary statement in the minor while switching to a secondary phrase that provides some of the score's most victorious major exclamations. Both sections are led by a martial rhythm on snare and clanging metallic percussion. The woodwind overlays and the elegant string bridge of this piece evoke Eastern sensibilities, the meandering string portion eventually used as counterpoint over the primary thematic structure. Williams' concert version of this theme is best heard in "Slave Children's Crusade" and "End Credits."

The other two major new themes are often intertwined in their upbeat spirit, one frequently used as an answer to the other and both existing in fragments that appropriately accompany the returning title march. The first of these two is the theme for Short Round, a Spielberg favorite that represents Indy's young sidekick. This distinctly Oriental-flavored theme is first heard in "Fast Streets of Shanghai" and receives its own concert arrangement in "Short Round's Theme" (actually used in the elephant riding scene) before making several noteworthy appearances in "Short Round Escapes," "Short Round Helps," and as counterpoint to the other remaining themes in the finale before its obligatory reference sandwiched in the middle of the theme parade in "End Credits." First heard in two flourishing string performances during the flying sequence of "Map/Out of Fuel," the love theme is perhaps the least entertaining of the new ideas that Williams provides for Temple of Doom, though it is appropriate to the period and, at the very least, memorable in its romantic sways. Occupying much of the first half of "Nocturnal Activities" in comical fashion, this theme receives several fragmentary references before repeated attention in the finale sequence (and closing the central "End Credits" section). Two other motific identities exist in Temple of Doom, neither making much impact but both of moderate interest. The first of these is a five-note progression for the magical stones worshipped and stolen in the story. Williams extends this theme to represent the village that the main troop encounters after their descent from the plane. Performed on what sounds like an electronically mutated sitar at its lowest capabilities, this theme (which some might consider similar to the forthcoming crystal skull motif) can be heard in this subtle form in "Indy and the Villagers" and "The Scroll" before being transferred to choir for scenes actually involving the stones later in the film, including "Approaching the Stones" and "The Broken Bridge." The final theme is for the evil voodoo priest, Mola Ram, and the Pankot Palace that stands above the temple. This impressive theme explodes in "To Pankot Palace" and is heard during a later exterior shot. The idea eventually accompanies the priest in his struggle for the stones in "The Broken Bridge." This theme, which would seemingly fit in comfortably with Williams' later Star Wars prequel work, is a hidden gem in the score, taking the form of resoundingly bold brass proclamations over exotic percussion in "To Pankot Palace." It is unquestionably the most surprising highlight of the entire work.

Aside from these three major and two minor new themes, Williams' source usage yields significant influence over the straight underscore in two portions of the film. The opening night club scene in Shanghai introduces Capshaw's character through her mostly Cantonese performance of Cole Porter's song "Anything Goes." Williams follows a snippet of Busby Berkeley thrown into the stage rendition of the song with a few adaptations of the theme into the score, first as straight background material and then as a frantic passage within the cue "The Nightclub Brawl." Unfortunately, this cue on album includes Williams' original recording, and while you can hear a piece of Porter's intro at about 0:45 and a little more at 2:00, the actual portion of "Anything Goes" recorded to take the place of Williams' action material (a hysterical rendering) is missing. The other section of the score highly influenced by source-like material is all of the music heard in the actual Temple of Doom scenes. Most of this material is summarized by the Sanskrit and percussion performances heard in the cue by that name, but the rest of the worship and ritual-related music is unavailable on album. Another part of Temple of Doom needing discussion is its action material. Only in "Bug Tunnel" does Williams directly emulate the Nazi fighting and snake evading structures from Raiders of the Lost Ark; otherwise, despite the infusion of the title march into several places, the adventure rhythms and associated sounds for the chasing in Temple of Doom are fresh. Williams' music for the opening half hour is, like the nonstop chasing, remarkably appealing, matching the first score in intensity and orchestral complexity, introducing most of the new themes along the way. This style of material does become anonymous in the entire underground sequence later in the story, leading to cues that are really only highlighted by their short bursts of thematic grandeur (the use of the temple/slave and sidekick themes in "Short Round Help" are a good example). This changes with "The Broken Bridge," which offers massive choral interludes for the temple and stone themes that effectively provide a body-crushing, jaw-snapping climax for the score. In "British Relief," Williams offers a singular fanfare for the cavalry that reminds of the composer's many pastoral concert works. Throughout the score, some of the most evocative conversational material comes in the form of the temple/slave theme on yearning strings in "Indy and the Villagers." Otherwise, Temple of Doom is mostly a powerful symphonic romp of suspense and adventure from start to finish.

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In its entirety, the music from Temple of Doom is, like the film, underrated. A poor representation of the score on album helped fuel such low opinions for years. The Polydor label issued the LP contents of the score on CD outside of the United States during the first ten years after its debut, with both the identical Japanese and German editions extremely rare. These CDs presented 40 minutes from a score than ran, with all of the source recordings, over 125 minutes. Williams, as per usual, edited together several cues and chose alternate takes over those that were heard in the film for inclusion on the product, yielding a basically sufficient but still unsatisfactory presentation. For decades, fans expressed interest in a proper treatment of Temple of Doom, and that relief finally came in late 2008, when all four Indiana Jones scores were released together in an extensive set from Concord Records (which had purchased the rights with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) that expanded the amount of material available from the first three scores. For many collectors, the cost of the $45 set was worth attaining Temple of Doom alone, and, true to the label's claims, the score's remastered sound in this case is very impressive. There will still be some controversy involving this set's treatment of Temple of Doom, however, for it provides 86 minutes from the score (with three less vital cues on a fourth, compilation addendum CD), leaving at least another twenty of actual orchestral music unreleased. Not well represented is both the palace fine dining scene and the sacrifice rituals in the middle of the film. The latter is especially unfortunate, with eight minutes of missing material including a notable performance of Ram's palace theme. Also missing is "The Child Returns" and the percussion of "The Rope Bridge." Fans still hoping to hear the correct merging of the "Finale" and "End Credits" will note that the 30-second bridge connecting them is still missing. On the whole, though, the Concord presentation of Temple of Doom is very strong, and with the improved quality of sound, proves that the performances by the Los Angeles performers for this recording were up to the task of matching their London counterparts. Only the most ardent fans will truly miss the 40 unreleased minutes of music from this score, and for everyone else, the set is a fantastic opportunity to finally appreciate a score that is, for those who have little interest in hearing Williams' frenetic scherzos, an arguably superior work to The Last Crusade. Eat your heart out! ***** 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 337,529 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings (1984 Polydor Albums): Total Time: 40:16

• 1. Anything Goes - performed by Kate Capshaw (2:54)
• 2. Fast Streets of Shanghai (3:43)
• 3. Nocturnal Activities (5:57)
• 4. Shortround's Theme (2:32)
• 5. Children in Chains (2:45)
• 6. Slalom on Mt. Humol (2:26)
• 7. The Temple of Doom (3:01)
• 8. Bug Tunnel and Death Trap (3:32)
• 9. Slave Children's Crusade (3:25)
• 10. The Mine Car Chase (3:42)
• 11. Finale and End Credits (6:19)

 Track Listings (2008 Concord Set): Total Time: 86:14

CD2: (75:22)

• 1. Anything Goes - performed by Kate Capshaw (2:51)
• 2. Indy Negotiates* (3:59)
• 3. The Nightclub Brawl* (2:32)
• 4. Fast Streets of Shanghai (3:39)
• 5. Map/Out of Fuel* (3:22)
• 6. Slalom on Mt. Humol (2:24)
• 7. Short Round's Theme (2:29)
• 8. The Scroll/To Pankot Palace* (4:26)
• 9. Nocturnal Activities (5:54)
• 10. Bug Tunnel/Death Trap (3:31)
• 11. Approaching the Stones* (2:39)
• 12. Children in Chains (2:42)
• 13. The Temple of Doom (2:58)
• 14. Short Round Escapes* (2:22)
• 15. Saving Willie* (3:35)
• 16. Slave Children's Crusade (3:23)
• 17. Short Round Helps* (4:49)
• 18. The Mine Car Chase (3:41)
• 19. Water!* (1:55)
• 20. The Sword Trick* (1:05)
• 21. The Broken Bridge/British Relief* (4:47)
• 22. End Credits (6:19)

CD5: (51:46)

• 2. Interviews with John Williams, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas - hosted by Laurent Bouzereau (17:58)
• 4. Indy and the Villagers* (3:54)
• 5. The Secret Passage* (3:31)
• 12. Return to the Village/Raiders March* (3:27)
• (Other eight tracks from Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade)

* Previously unreleased

(total time reflects only music from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, not the other scores and interview on the set)

 Notes and Quotes:  

None of the inserts for the 1984-1991 Polydor products contain extra information about the score or film.

The 2008 Concord set contains bloated packaging with extensive photography and short notes from the composer and director, but it surprisingly contains no analysis of the music itself.

  All artwork and sound clips from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are Copyright © 1984, 2008, Polydor (International), Concord Records (Set). 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 8/16/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.