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The Shadow
Album Cover Art
1994 Arista
2002 Bootleg
Album 2 Cover Art
2012 Intrada
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton
Alexander Courage
Labels Icon
Arista Records
(June 23rd, 1994)


Intrada Records
(July 23rd, 2012)
Availability Icon
The original Arista album was a regular U.S. release, but it went completely out of print by 1996. The initial bootleg albums of 2002 are listed with full promotional disclaimers under the Universal Music label and have the number 4431-9436-2. They had a limited circulation at soundtrack specialty outlets and were later traded in normal bootleg channels. The 2012 Intrada 2-CD set is a limited product of unspecified quantities, originally available through soundtrack specialty outlets for $30.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you can't resist the idea of a heroically affable guilty pleasure that you will hate to love and your neighbors will love to hate.

Avoid it... on any of the albums prior to the 2012 Intrada 2-CD set, a fantastic presentation of an often overlooked score that features Jerry Goldsmith's later adventure and fantasy techniques at their organic and synthetic best.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 8/16/12
The Shadow: (Jerry Goldsmith) Who knows what guilty pleasures lurk in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows... And apparently director Russell Mulcahy thought he knew as well. Unfortunately, the 1994 adaptation of comic book character Lamont Cranston, long in development and once under the guidance of Robert Zemeckis, was a popular failure despite its many redeeming qualities when compared to other ridiculous comic inspirations on the big screen in the 1990's. The lavish production suffered from a somewhat incoherent plot, Cranston mentored by a Tibetan mystic during the "nomad period" of his life and thus given the ability to cloud men's minds and exercise superhero activities back in New York City. Meanwhile, sophisticated Mongolian villain Shiwan Khan uses the same training to stage a takeover of the city using mass hypnosis and an atomic bomb. A fantastic cast of B-rate stars litters The Shadow, with several vintage comedians placed in somewhat serious cameo roles to maintain levity. Likable performances by John Lone, Peter Boyle, Jonathan Winters, Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, and Penelope Ann Miller balance Alec Baldwin's efforts to be both mysterious and heroic in the lead, a role built primarily around the actor's distinctive voice. The production's loyalty to the 1930's setting and the legend of the original Orson Welles radio show from that era, not to mention some outstanding art direction and sound effects editing, have allowed The Shadow a limited cult following. Contributing to its mystique is a memorable and surprisingly accomplished score by Jerry Goldsmith that went largely unnoticed at the time due to the fact that the film competed against The Lion King in cinemas. In fact, if there were ever to be the need to identify the ultimate, relatively obscure "score of guilty pleasure," then Goldsmith's The Shadow could very well be it. The quirky personality of both the film and score, led by the movie's unstated charge to parody the very superhero genre it belonged to, caused the pair to be an undeniable romp for enthusiasts of comic book dramatics. Aided by the music, the film's highlight is its remarkable layers of sound, whooshing through a Gotham-like setting with a classical yet electronically modern touch. It's hard to imagine that such a dominant synthetic edge to Goldsmith's music could function so well in the noir-like streets of the 1930's, but the composer infuses his style very well with both the film's lighter plot elements and the impressive sound effects.

Overblown and silly at times, Goldsmith mocks everything from Batman to Lawrence of Arabia in The Shadow, exercising a youthful exuberance not always heard in the composer's darker scores. Just like those who created the wacky story and visuals for the film, you get the sense that Goldsmith had more fun scoring The Shadow than he did for the typical romances and children's films he had otherwise been engaged with at the time. That sheer enthusiasm can be heard in the faster than usual tempo of electronic rhythms that Goldsmith employs throughout the score, as well as the complexity with which he develops his countless themes and motifs. There is no doubt that The Shadow did not deserve the complicated layers of motifs that Goldsmith afforded it, such intelligence defied by the substandard screenplay, but his effort for the genre is easy to appreciate when heard outside of context. The title theme for the film, originally hoped by the studio to be the identity for an entire franchise to follow, is as simplistic and heroic as you can get while also preserving the basic concept of duality that runs through the entire score. The duality, of course, represents the masked and unmasked personalities of the Baldwin's mysterious Cranston (whose face literally transfigures depending upon the character's mood), and the idea manifests itself in the music through the constant shifts between major and minor keys, sometimes as frequently as every other measure of music. It was a tactic that Danny Elfman so masterfully manipulated for his classic Batman score and Goldsmith's theme for The Shadow is largely an exaggerated and extended brass version of the same basic minor/major progression. Since the occasionally nebulous time frame of the film (once again, a la Batman) displays numerous elements of a more innocent decade long past, the noble and bold brass theme is a perfect statement of campy triumph during the scenes of comic book heroism. Goldsmith's loyalty to the idea carries it into innumerous softer incarnations throughout the score, often introduced by a distinctive rhythmic figure that becomes its own motif much like the bass string rhythms prior to John Williams' Superman theme serve their own anticipatory purpose. This bouncing rhythmic motif often exists before, under, and after statements of the main theme, and even it can be boiled down to a descending major third progression that becomes a calling card of its own. The rhythm turns mysterious when it is lightly plucked by harp or delicately performed by others in conversational scenes.

The sweeping string interlude during the primary theme's major performances in The Shadow is eventually revealed to be a lovely romance motif that only receives true recognition in a handful of sequences. Given that the relationship between Cranston and Margo Lane isn't particularly well developed in the film, the lack of fuller expressions of this idea in more cues is perhaps understandable, though the swelling finale performance in "Frontal Lobotomy" is outstanding. Goldsmith's applications of the theme are most frequently fragmented and barely audible, tenderly expressed by solo woodwinds or piano in less active cues. He manages to create a constant sonic battle between hero and villain within the instrumentation and structures of the score, and while the noble title theme's obvious placements in the movie are certainly crowd pleasers, equally powerful are the Mongolian-styled outbursts for Khan. For this character's larger than life personality, Goldsmith offers the bloated presence of Taiko drums, as well as his The Wind and the Lion-inspired array of metallic and wooden percussion, to rock the soundscape with equal force. No better an alternating, orchestral battle of wills is conveyed than that between the grand, brass theme and raw, percussive pounding at the end of "Chest Pains." The actual woodwind theme over these sequences for Khan is completely overshadowed by its underlying rhythm, suggested in several places throughout the score (and introduced in particular in "Don't Open It!") but dominated by the villain's more forceful musical elements. The "Frontal Lobotomy" finale showcases the Mongolian percussion and theme in, ironically, its fullest form, followed by the heroic brass title theme and string-dominated romance interlude all in succession, yielding a fantastic conclusion to the score and film. Aside from these three major themes (four, if you include the rhythm under the main theme to be a separate entity), Goldsmith unleashes a number of secondary motifs, all of which explored several times in the work. The Monolith Hotel and the concept of brainwashing receive a creepy, brass-slurring identity that is first heard after massive gong early in "The Clouded Mind" but shines later in that cue, throughout "The Hotel," and at the end of "Fight Like a Man." A separate motif for chasing and movement in "The Sanctum," "A Mission," and "Get Dr. Lane" often launches into the main theme. A dedicated fight motif highlighted at the start of "The Mirrors" is pure Goldsmith action at its best, and when slowed down for high drama, as in "The Call" and the conclusion of "What I Know," which accompanies the film's nightmare sequence, the tumultuous personality of Poltergeist is resurrected.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.98 Stars
***** 1,149 5 Stars
**** 940 4 Stars
*** 497 3 Stars
** 182 2 Stars
* 109 1 Stars
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Alternative review at
Southall - December 18, 2012, at 2:13 p.m.
1 comment  (1337 views)
complete   Expand >>
steve - July 18, 2008, at 9:56 a.m.
2 comments  (3415 views)
Newest: December 27, 2008, at 10:13 a.m. by
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shadowfan - June 24, 2006, at 7:53 p.m.
4 comments  (4982 views)
Newest: April 14, 2008, at 1:45 a.m. by
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expanded vs complete   Expand >>
F - June 9, 2005, at 6:21 a.m.
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The President
The Shadow soundtrack
Lisa Kwaterski - July 23, 2004, at 7:47 p.m.
1 comment  (5206 views)
the shadow rules
zimmer fan - October 24, 2003, at 4:28 a.m.
1 comment  (2762 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1994 Arista Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 46:15
• 1. The Shadow Knows... 1994 - dialogue performed by Alec Baldwin (0:08)
• 2. Original Sin - song performed by Taylor Dayne (6:27)
• 3. The Poppy Fields (Main Title) (3:16)
• 4. Some Kind of Mystery - song performed by Sinoa (3:48)
• 5. The Sanctum (3:33)
• 6. Who Are You? (4:02)
• 7. Chest Pains (3:26)
• 8. The Knife (3:05)
• 9. The Hotel (5:53)
• 10. The Tank (4:08)
• 11. Frontal Lobotomy (2:28)
• 12. Original Sin - Film Mix - song performed by Taylor Dayne (5:02)
• 13. The Shadow Radio Show 1937: Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men? (0:29)
      - dialogue performed by Orson Welles
2002 Bootleg Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 43:26
2012 Intrada Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 134:49

Notes Icon
The inserts on the Arista album and initial bootlegs contain extensive credits but no extra information about the score or film. That of the 2012 Intrada album features notes about both.
Copyright © 1996-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 The Shadow are Copyright © 1994, 2002, 2012, Arista Records, Bootleg, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 8/16/12.
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