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Section Header
Twilight Zone: The Movie
2000 Warner

2009 FSM

Composed and Conducted by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Albums Produced by:
Bruce Botnick
Lukas Kendall
Mike Matessino

Labels and Dates:
Warner Brothers

Film Score Monthly
(April 14th, 2009)

Also See:
Twilight Zone (TV)
Under Fire
Amazing Stories

Audio Clips:
2009 Album:

12. That's All, Ethel (0:29):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

13. Teach Me/No More Tricks (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

16. On the Wing (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

19. Overture (Twilight Zone Theme and End Title) (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

The 2000 Warner album was a regular commercial release but is long out of print. The 2009 Film Score Monthly album is a limited to 3,000 copies and available through soundtrack specialty outlets for $20.


Twilight Zone: The Movie
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Buy it... if you seek twenty minutes of truly lovely Jerry Goldsmith material for light and airy melodic situations, a sound that betrays the reputation that this score has with some listeners because of its generally darker whole.

Avoid it... if you distinctly remember the chopping rhythms and ominous brass theme for the memorable airplane segment that concludes the film and expect to hear more than just a few minutes of that impressively harrowing material.

Twilight Zone: The Movie: (Jerry Goldsmith) Much time had passed since the 1959 debut of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" on television by the time Warner Brothers finally kicked the production of a feature film into gear. Despite Serling's death in 1975, there was a revival of interest in the concept in subsequent years, leading to a cult phenomenon complete with its own magazine. The format of Twilight Zone: The Movie came under much consideration in the early 1980's, and director-turned-producer Steven Spielberg took control of the production and struck a balance between the artistic freedoms of the directors he hired for the project and Warner Brother's own inclinations. The resulting film consisted of four parts that served as mini-episodes, with links between characters in each episode drawing the four disparate stories into one overarching universe. Ultimately, Twilight Zone: The Movie wasn't quite as tightly woven as Spielberg would have liked, but the film was destined to be greeted by audiences that preferred one segment over another (much like the "Amazing Stories" series on television that was a direct descendant of Twilight Zone: The Movie). The film performed modestly well, but it failed to really enthrall audiences as expected until George Miller's fourth and final installment. The production also had to contend with the high profile death of three actors, including star Vic Morrow, during the filming of a helicopter sequence in the first episode. Still, one of the aspects of Twilight Zone: The Movie that the production definitely had going in its favor was its loyalty to the television show. Spielberg was careful to incorporate Serling and other familiar elements into the film, and this nostalgia factor led to the hiring of Jerry Goldsmith to handle the scoring duties for all four segments of the film. Not only had Goldsmith been nominated for an Academy Award for the music for Spielberg's production of Poltergeist just prior to his work on Twilight Zone: The Movie (the director/producer often mused about wanting to collaborate more with Goldsmith despite his partnership with John Williams for his own films), but he had also written a fair amount of creative material with limited instrumentation for the original television show. Additionally, Goldsmith's extremely popular score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture had proven his ability to translate a televised science fiction concept into a larger on-screen orchestral presence.

While there exist common threads in Goldsmith's melodic progressions in between the two middle sequences in Twilight Zone: The Movie, the composer mostly tackled the episodes with separate scores meant to accentuate the style of each director's work. Before he gets started, however, the audience is treated to a faithful recreation of Marius Constant's original theme for the television show, a very memorable piece despite being largely unlistenable. Recreating the sparse precision of this theme was reportedly a tricky endeavor for Goldsmith, but he pulls it off well enough to reprise the idea at the conclusion of the picture. The ensemble for the first of the four episodes within the film is unique from the other three, as well as the need to record source songs for this segment. As such, the amount of score material in "Time Out" is lessened. This is something of a blessing on the album presentation, for the employment of four pianos (including James Newton Howard and Mike Lang performing), synthesizer, and six percussionists leads to striking but alienating tones devoid of memorable melody. The songs, ironically, are pleasant enough light rock entries for the era that are harmless and comparatively more engaging. The Spielberg-directed portion of Twilight Zone: The Movie yields the first of the two highlights from Goldsmith. As expected, Spielberg provided the mushy and sentimental portion of the film, and Goldsmith responds with an equally warm orchestral accompaniment that would become the primary identity of the entire score upon the assembly of the themes for the famous end title concert suite arrangement. The pleasant and often beautiful tone of the music in "Kick the Can" isn't quite as memorable as Goldsmith's concurrent material for Under Fire, but it remains one of the more touching collection of cues ever written by the composer. A traditional orchestral ensemble, still aided by synthesizers that are performed as an equal member within the group during the overall recording, is highlighted by several lovely flute and string performances of melody. The ten minute cue "Young Again/Take Me With You/A New Guest" is as effortless as Goldsmith gets, fluffy and airy in the perpetually harmonic variations of the theme for the episode. An overarching theme of mystery for the entire film is previewed in this sequence as well, transferring over to a fuller realization as the main theme of "I Remember/The House" as the Joe Dante portion begins. The music for "It's a Good Life" relies more heavily on synthesizers, true to the cartoon heart of the episode (though skewed into the realm of the bizarre).

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Indeed, parts of the third, Dante portion sound familiar to future collaborations between Goldsmith and the director, even down to the silly synthetic noisemakers and Carl Stalling imitation material. Other than the electronic theme of mystery that bookends this sequence, however, much of this portion receives mundane treatment that fails to impress compared to surrounding episodes. The final and most famous sequence, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," yields the kind of quirky, uneasy employment of strings that would inform some of Danny Elfman's similar material several years later. Goldsmith deploys a rhythmic churning of bass strings, low brass, and timpani that reflects the mental turmoil of John Lithgow's performance on screen as he witnesses a goblin tearing his passenger plane's engine apart and taunting him through the window. The jumpy rhythmic device is accompanied by muted trumpets and chopping violin figures that remind of Bernard Herrmann's influence on the concept. By the cue "On the Wing," this rhythm has been elevated into a full action motif reminiscent of Goldsmith's classic horror scores. The fiddle-like tone for the goblin is perfect for its scratching claws and remains one of the composer's most unnerving pieces. Goldsmith segues from a performance of Constant's theme into the famed concert arrangement of the themes from the three final episodes in order (reportedly by chance). Each idea is fleshed out with weightier orchestral treatment in this presentation, easily making for the highlight of the score. The 45-minute LP record release of Twilight Zone: The Movie was a faithful representation that well balanced the different segments, and Warner pressed CDs of that presentation in 2000 that were only distributed through German and Japanese channels. In 2009, Film Score Monthly added twelve minutes of underscore material (including some lovely filler music in "Kick the Can") and 21 minutes of alternate recordings in addition to the "Nights Are Forever" song that exists on all the releases. The restored sound of the FSM product (which was limited to 3,000 copies as part of their Silver Age Classics series) is very strong, though it exposes a few performance flubs in the brass section in later sessions. This 2009 album is as complete as any representation of Twilight Zone: The Movie can be, even providing the previous album edits of a few cues for purists. On the whole, this score is less suspenseful than many may remember, offering at least twenty minutes of gorgeously harmonic material saturated with the best of Goldsmith's style for sensitive occasions. **** 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 138,499 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings (2000 Warner Album): Total Time: 45:01

• 1. Twilight Zone Main Title - composed by Marius Constant (0:42)
• 2. Overture (5:13)
• 3. Time Out (6:45)
• 4. Kick the Can (10:12)
• 5. Nights Are Forever - performed by Jennifer Warner (3:39)
• 6. It's a Good Life (10:52)
• 7. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (6:53)
• 8. Twilight Zone End Title - composed by Marius Constant (0:45)

 Track Listings (2009 Film Score Monthly Album): Total Time: 78:57

• 1. Main Title: Twilight Zone Theme* (0:45)

Time Out:
• 2. Time Change/Questions/The Ledge (4:51)
• 3. The K.K.K./Yellow Star (3:53)

Kick the Can:
• 4. Harp and Love (1:27)
• 5. Weekend Visit (1:34)
• 6. Kick the Can (0:37)
• 7. Night Games (1:53)
• 8. Young Again/Take Me With You/A New Guest (10:10)

It's a Good Life:
• 9. I Remember/The House (2:29)
• 10. The Picture/The Sister/I Didn't Do It (1:20)
• 11. Cartoon Monster (3:06)
• 12. That's All, Ethel (1:47)
• 13. Teach Me/No More Tricks (3:54)

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet:
• 14. Cabin Fever/Nervous Pills (2:39)
• 15. No Smoking (2:06)
• 16. On the Wing (1:20)
• 17. A Face in the Window (2:10)
• 18. Hungry Monster/Engine Failure (1:35)

• 19. Overture (Twilight Zone Theme and End Title)* (5:55)

Additional Music and Alternates: (25:44)
• 20. Nights Are Forever - performed by Jennifer Warner (3:36)
• 21. Anesthesia - performed by Joseph Williams (3:02)
• 22. Time Change/Questions/The Ledge (Time Out Album Edit) (3:01)
• 23. Young Again/Take Me With You/A New Guest (Kick the Can Alternate Segments) (5:01)
• 24. Cartoon Monster/That's All Ethel (It's a Good Life Album Edit)
• 25. Cartoon Music (It's a Good Life) (1:26)
• 26. On the Wing/A Face in the Window/Hungry Monster/Twilight Zone Theme (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Album Edit)* (4:59)

* contains TV theme written by Marius Constant

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert of the 2009 FSM album contains extensive information about the score and film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Twilight Zone: The Movie are Copyright © 2000, 2009, Warner Brothers, Film Score Monthly. 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 7/16/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.