The Second Disc

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It’s Better Down Where It’s Wetter: “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” Arrives On CD, Plus Rare Goldsmith “Explorers”

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Not even a holiday can slow down the folks at Intrada.  On Monday, Labor Day, the Intrada team announced its two latest releases, both of which will begin shipping on Wednesday, September 7.  The Intrada Special Collection welcomes Jerry Goldsmith’s score to Joe Dante’s 1985 The Explorers, while the Walt Disney Records/Intrada co-branded line brings Paul J. Smith’s score to the 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to CD.

The very first film adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic undersea fable dates back to 1907 (!), but of tens of film and television versions of the story, the 1954 Walt Disney production is likely the most familiar.  Years before he directed Fantastic Voyage, Richard Fleischer directed the Walt Disney Productions picture about the fantastic voyage of Captain Nemo (James Mason) and the Nautilus.  Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and Paul Lukas joined Mason for the undersea adventure, which was one of the costliest films ever made at the time of its release.  Walt Disney, personally producing the film, was hailed by The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther: “As fabulous and fantastic as anything he has ever done in cartoons is Walt Disney’s “live action” movie made from Jules Verne’s ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’  Turned out in CinemaScope and color, it is as broad, fictitiously, as it is long (128 minutes), and should prove a sensation—at least with the kids.”  Kids of all ages delighted in the film, which was rewarded with two Academy Awards out of three nominations, and became the second highest-grossing film of the year. 

While Disney turned to major Hollywood stars like Douglas, Mason and Lorre to populate the film, many bona fide Disney legends were in charge, offscreen.  In fact, a number of these talents would be recognized later as Disney Legends, with the capital “L.”  (Walt Disney even had history with the Fleischer family, as Richard’s father Max was one of his only real rivals as a producer in the early days of the animation medium.)  One such Legend was Harper Goff, a concept artist for Disneyland who served as art director and designed the now-familiar Nautilus.  Another was special effects designer John Hench, who was one of the artists who created the iconic giant squid.  A third Legend was Paul J. Smith, enlisted to provide the score.  Read on after the jump, mateys!

Paul J. Smith (1906-1985) isn’t one of the more recognizable names in film scoring, but his contribution to the Walt Disney Company, and as a result to cinema, is substantial.  An Academy Award winner for his underscore to Pinocchio, Smith’s history with the studio can be traced back to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia.  He composed music for Disney’s True-Life Adventures series and a great number of animated short subjects.  His other live-action films for the Mouse House include The Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Parent Trap and In Search of the Castaways.  Outside of Disney, Smith worked on the original Blondie movie series and the television sitcom Leave It To Beaver.

Intrada’s new release is the score’s first appearance on compact disc, and it features the same program that premiered in 2008 as an iTunes exclusive.  Composer/conductor Smith’s symphonic portrait of Nemo’s undersea world is the centerpiece of a 78-minute disc loaded with bonus material and derived from the original mint condition three-channel elements housed in the Disney vaults!  Also included is Kirk Douglas’ vocal performance of the song “A Whale Of A Tale” plus its single B-side, “And the Moon Grew Brighter and Brighter.”  A lavish full-color booklet is also included, with a collection of stills, comments by eminent composer John Debney and album producer Randy Thornton on both the score and its restoration.

The 2008 soundtrack, introduced here on CD, was the first true soundtrack for the acclaimed film.  The first 20,000 Leagues album as issued in 1954, and starred William Redfield as Ned, the role played onscreen by Kirk Douglas.  This book-and-record set was originally released on RCA Victor. The second album, issued on the Disneyland label in 1963 in conjunction with the film’s first re-release, featured some alterations but again presented a story-and-songs format that eliminated much of Smith’s score. Neither album contained a full cast list or listed the film’s originators in the credits.  The 1963 Disneyland cover style has been adapted for the new Intrada release.

But that’s not all.  Intrada’s Special Collection series is delivering the first release of Jerry Goldsmith’s complete score to Joe Dante’s 1985 fantasy film Explorers, starring Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix and Jason Presson.  Like 20,000 Leagues, its original LP release was a highly truncated affair.  The MCA soundtrack offered 30 minutes of Goldsmith’s score plus three songs.  Intrada’s new release is a generous 77+ minutes in length, and the label promises a “haunting melody for Dick Miller character, warm Americana music for three boys (featuring harmonica!), cool music for creation of ‘bubble,’ metallic action music for spider attack on alien planet, [and] much more! Major new highlight: ‘Home Flight’ sequence, including richly nostalgic music as trio watches spacecraft slowly sink into river – showcasing Goldsmith’s gift for writing lean, transparent string music. Cue is warm, emotional, [and] exquisite.”

Explorers contains every note of music recorded by Goldsmith for the film, taken from Paramount’s mint-condition stereo multi-tracks, engineered by the legendary Bruce Botnick (The Doors).  Among the bonus tracks is “Space Movie” by Golden Age orchestrator and composer Alexander Courage, as heard in the film in a drive-in sequence.  Goldsmith, of course, conducts his own score, and Jeff Bond contributes the liner notes.  None of the songs included on the original MCA record and Varese Sarabande CD reissue (Red 7’s “Less than Perfect,” Night Ranger’s “This Boy Needs to Rock” and Robert Palmer’s “All Around the World”) have been included.  Unlike the unlimited 20,000 Leagues, Explorers is strictly limited to 3,000 copies and is expected to follow other 1980s Goldsmith titles as a quick sell-out.  It’s been produced thanks to the cooperation of both Universal Music (the parent of MCA) and Paramount Pictures.

Both titles begin shipping from Intrada on Wednesday, September 7, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!

Paul J, Smith, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Original Soundtrack (Disney/Intrada D001415702, 2011)

  1. Main Title (Captain Nemo’s Theme)
  2. Street Fight
  3. Aboard the Abraham Lincoln/Hunting the Monster
  4. A Whale of a Tale
  5. The Monster Attacks
  6. Deserted Sub/Burial/Captured
  7. Fifty Fathoms/The Island of Crespo
  8. Storm at Sea/Nemo Plays
  9. Strange Man of the Seas
  10. Nemo’s Torment
  11. Justified Hate
  12. Searching Nemo’s Cabin
  13. Ned’s Bottles
  14. Ashore at New Guinea
  15. Native Drums/Back to the Nautilus
  16. Submerge
  17. The Giant Squid
  18. Ambush at Vulcania
  19. Nemo Wounded
  20. Escape from Vulcania
  21. Finale/Deep is the Mighty Ocean
  22. A Whale of a Tale (Single) – Kirk Douglas (Decca single 1-286-A)
  23. And the Moon Grew Brighter and Brighter (Single) – Kirk Douglas (Decca single 1-286-A)
  24. A Whale of a Tale – Bill Kanady (Disneyland Records Storyteller, 1963)
  25. A Whale of a Tale – The Wellingtons (Disneyland Records Read-Along, 1971/Disneyland DL-557-B)
  26. A Whale of a Tale (Reprise) – Kirk Douglas

Portions of the score originally released on RCA Victor Y-4004, 1954 and Disneyland DQ-1314, 1963

Jerry Goldsmith, Explorers (Intrada Special Collection Volume 180, 2011)

  1. Main Title (Unused Version with Wak’s Boogie)
  2. Main Title (Film Version)
  3. The First Dream
  4. Sticks and Stones
  5. Lori/Intervention
  6. Home
  7. The Bubble
  8. Sci-Fi Flick/The Rooftop
  9. Crazed Bubble/Fuse Box
  10. Free Ride
  11. Peek-A-Boo
  12. The Prospect
  13. The Construction
  14. The Thunder Road
  15. First Flight
  16. No Air
  17. I Want to Live
  18. Time for Bed
  19. More Dreams/Dreams
  20. Let’s Go
  21. Fast Getaway
  22. Wait Up
  23. The Spider
  24. Alien Love Call
  25. We Come in Peace
  26. She Likes Me
  27. Neek Chords
  28. Looks Real
  29. Space Pirates
  30. Gifts/Home Flight
  31. Have a Nice Trip
  32. Tannhauser Overture (Excerpt) (Richard Wagner) (Bonus Track)
  33. Space Movie (Alexander Courage) (Bonus Track)

Portions of the score released as MCA LP 6148, 1985

Written by Joe Marchese

September 6, 2011 at 09:46

One Response

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  1. Intrada announced a change to their limited edition policy this morning due to the (almost) sell out of this title in less than a day. Check it out: http://store.intrada.com/s.nl/it.I/id.10/.f?category=-102&category=-102

    Robert

    September 6, 2011 at 12:44


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