Sights, Sounds & Insights
LA LA LAND RELEASE :
DISASTER MOVIE SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION
By Scott Michael Bosco
Having been at an age within the 1970s which was impressionable in terms of the movie going experience – I was greatly affected by the then genre craze of “disaster films”.
Found memories of seeing EARTHQUAKE in SENSURROUND and witnessing a child patron rolling down the isle remains a fun visual image within my memory.
I was elated when I first saw the release of a box set from LA LA LAND Records packaging newly mastered edition of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, THE TOWERING INFERNO, and EARTHQUAKE soundtracks. Especially since I had missed out on the limited release of the previous TOWERING INFERNO, and an expanded new EARTHQUAKE released within the box set.
Beginning with the POSEIDON ADVENTURE the newly remastered edition in this set is an improvement in the sound quality right off. The previous release was harsh in tone and came off sounding cheap. Previously it lacked depth. This newer release is much more robust with a solid mid-bass and lower bass support. The over all tone is improved to an excellent extent.
For me Williams score is weak but get stronger as the film develops using the song, “There’s got be a morning after” as a running under tone. It’s rather low key really at most, and supports the visual, but is hard in standing up on its own – also, there isn’t much either. It’s extremely repetitious in medley and very layered. The score grows on the listener however in a strange way. From it main title which is fore boding and dark, the imbedded “there got to be a morning after” in several cues.
The second release in this set is THE TOWERING INFERNO. This 2-disc release is a pleasure in terms of cue amounts, but again it’s rather pedestrian. There is no song, as in POSEIDON, to run through the mix pushing it on with emotional attachment. Most of the score simply comes off as elevator music – aside from a memorable main title and some other fire cues. The score is less character oriented, but more narrative theme related. To me it’s rather simple and nothing what would have been done if handled by Jerry Goldsmith.
I didn’t have the original CD release to compare it to but his one is on target delivering a satisfying listen. It nicely presented in tone with rich smooth highs, that are not harsh. Mostly mid-bass driven it at time digs deep. In all the score’s sound recordings have survived well. The selections are plenty with alternate takes and variations. It’s a nice package with very good liner notes.
The final release in the box is for EARTHQUAKE. The original release on LP and on CD had a total of 13 cues. LA LA LANDS release has been expanded to 30, along with a further 5 alternate (Bonus) selection.
On the down side missing effects (rumble) driven tracks original on the LP entitled EARTHQUAKE: Special Effects (2:42), and AFTERSHOCK (:24). Why LA LA LAND chose not in include these is strange since they have included the 1974 soundtrack, from the LP release.
Still what is here is great as are the alternate cues and additional ones in the New Score release.
As stated here earlier, the love theme for this film was slightly reused by Williams with only a few note changes for TOWERING INFERNO, released a year later. Having the chance to hear them in on boxed set cheapens his lack of work and originality. It wonderfully amazing that EARTHQUAKE has been given this expanded release so many years later – and make this a treasured release.
It’s interesting to note that Irwin Allen who was connected with both THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and THE TOWERING INFERNO used John Williams as composer, and had originally planned for him to also do the score for his third disaster film, THE SWARM. However, things fell through and JERRY GOLDSMITH turned out to be the composer for that film.
The box holding the three CDs is heavy height with a satin grade finish. Even though the artwork for the cover is simple don't be fooled, it's a quality release.
This box set is presented for collector’s and is limited. Be sure to order yours while supplies exist.