Paul MacLean's article, From a Legend to a Dream : A Comparative Critique Of The Two LEGEND Scores (Originally published in Cinemascore, Volume 15, Summer 1987, P.42-45) has been removed from the FAQ at Paul's request but has been replaced by a newer version of the article that Paul has kindly written for us.
The Music of LEGEND
By Paul Andrew MacLean
Whereas BLADE RUNNER reflected the rainy industrial region of Teesside, England, where Ridley Scott grew-up, LEGEND reflected the green wilderness of Britain which lay further inland, a land rife with myth and folklore. LEGEND also bore the influence of the Brothers Grimm faerie stories, as well as Jean Cocteau’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (there are a number references to Cocteau’s film throughout LEGEND). In both BLADE RUNNER and LEGEND, Scott’s selection of composer proved appropriate and powerfully effective.
The claustrophobic Los Angeles of BLADE RUNNER was perfectly suited to the sound of Vangelis Papathanassiou, whose blend of electronic timbres, acoustical instruments and percussion perfectly captured a city choking in its own technology. Likewise Vangelis’ use of ethnic music adroitly evoked the multi-cultural groups crammed together in the city, while jazz references (like the sultry saxophone in the love theme) helped complete the “film noir” atmosphere of the production. The resultant score remains one of the finest and most appropriate electro-acoustic soundtracks ever created for a film.
LEGEND on the other hand, was of a more organic, pastoral aesthetic. Drawn from folklore and traditional faerie stories, the film required a more naturalistic style of music, one that mirrored the story’s familiar, classical influences, yet also carried hints of the unfamiliar and spiritual; essentially, a score more rooted in the classical musical tradition.
Ridley Scott wisely realized that music could and should play a major role in bringing LEGEND to life, and his choice to write the score was the late Jerry Goldsmith. Born 10th February 1929 in Los Angeles, Goldsmith took-up piano at age 6, and after seeing the film SPELLBOUND in his teens, was inspired by Miklos Rozsa’s score to be a film composer. Goldsmith continued his keyboard studies with renowned pianist Jakob Gimpel, and studied composition with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (who, incidentally, was also John Williams’ teacher). Goldsmith attended the Los Angeles City College and UCLA (where he came full circle by studying film scoring with Miklos Rozsa himself).
Soon after, Goldsmith landed a job as a clerk at CBS Radio. With his foot in the door, Goldsmith pestered and nagged the radio staff until he was finally given the chance to write music for radio dramas. In time Goldsmith was promoted to scoring live television productions like Climax and Playhouse 90, and providing scores for TV series such as GUNBSMOKE, THE TWILIGHT ZONE and DR. KILDARE.
Goldsmith’s musical-dramatic talents caught the attention of Alfred Newman, and the elder composer used his influence to get Goldsmith hired to score LONELY ARE THE BRAVE. Within a few years Goldsmith was working on films by legendary Hollywood directors, such as John Huston’s FREUD, Otto Premminger’s IN HARM’S WAY and Robert Wise’s THE SAND PEBBLES.
Goldsmith would eventually come to be the most-imitated and admired film composer of his generation. In particular Elmer Bernstein called Goldsmith “the consummate composer for cinema” and “simply the best.”
As Goldsmith’s career progressed, it became clear he had a particular knack for scoring science fiction and fantasy, as was first apparent during his early years working on THE TWILIGHT ZONE. While he expressed a preference for more “people”-oriented stories, Goldsmith’s sci-fi and fantasy work seemed to garner more attention, probably because it often featured his most inventive, experimental work as in THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, PLANET OF THE APES, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, POLTERGEIST and TOTAL RECALL just to name a few. Likewise it was Goldsmith’s dissonant, surging choral music for THE OMEN that won him his one and only Academy Award.
Fittingly, Goldsmith’s first collaboration with Ridley Scott was on a science fiction film, ALIEN, and the composer delivered a score that thrilled the director, both for its uncompromising savagery, as well as its atmospheric effect. Goldsmith however was disappointed with the way his music was finally used in the film (the ALIEN Quadrilogy DVD covers this issue in detail).
Nevertheless, the composer was eager to work on LEGEND, largely sold on the project by William Hjortsberg’s script, which Goldsmith described as “beautiful”. Goldsmith was probably also attracted to LEGEND for the opportunity to write a more lyrical, broadly romantic score (since many of his recent assignments had required violent, strident music).
Goldsmith’s music for LEGEND was to serve not only as a dramatic underscore, but also a more foreground role. Scott has said, “I hate it when people say ‘you shouldn’t notice the score.’ You should notice the score, and the score if it’s doing if it’s doing its job, will lift and elevate the movie.”
Goldsmith was brought-on in pre-production to write the songs sung by Princess Lili, as well as music for the dance sequences (for when Jack is nearly danced to death in a magic spell, and later when the wraith-like spirit seduces Princess Lili with a diabolical, hypnotic waltz).
Come post-production, Goldsmith moved to London for a several months, during which time he composed LEGEND’s intricate music. Over 80 minutes in length, the score was recorded it at CBS Studios with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ambrosian Singers (augmented by seven different types of synthesizers) with Goldsmith conducting. The finished score was well received by Ridley Scott, who called it “exactly what was required” for the film, and an unidentified associate of Scott described the score as “monumental”. The highly self-critical Goldsmith himself considered LEGEND “one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever done”, and years later his attitude was unchanged, when he admitted, “LEGEND is my favorite score”.
Stylistically, Goldsmith's LEGEND is essentially a romantic score, but with nods to the later impressionist style of music -- the harmonies are reminiscent of Romantic music, but the orchestration and often fluid texture of the score is more in keeping with the Impressionists. Much as Jean Cocteau was an influence on Ridley Scott, French composers like Claude Debussy and more particularly Maurice Ravel (who was one of Goldsmith’s favorite composers) were an obvious influence on the score. The use of a wordless chorus in LEGEND can be traced back to Debussy’s “Sirenes” and Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloe”, and Goldsmith has himself once said the hypnotic waltz for the scene where Lili is seduced “was definitely influenced by [Ravel’s] “La Valse”.
REPLACING THE SCORE
As was revealed on the LEGEND Ultimate Edition DVD, the infamous San Diego preview screening of the film was disrupted by snide comments from one or two audience members and the smell of pot smoke. This proved extremely discouraging to Scott, who decided to cut-down the film in hopes of improving its prospects. A 90-minute cut of the film was released in Europe, in which Goldsmith’s score was retained.
For its American release of course, Goldsmith’s score was not used. Jack Mathew’s excellent book “The Battle of Brazil”, touched briefly on LEGEND, as both films shared the same producer, Arnon Milchan, and had a similar distribution deal with Fox and Universal (and more specifically each film’s offbeat style presented difficulties to Universal’s marketing arm). According to Mathews, replacing Goldsmith’s score with Tangerine Dream and pop songs was the idea of Universal executive Sidney Sheinberg (who felt more contemporary music would attract teenage audiences), and that Scott “agreed to dump Jerry Goldsmith’s score.”
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic group, headed-up by Edgar Froese. Froese started-out as an art student in the 60s, and while under the tutelage of Salvador Dali, was inspired to create a musical equivalent to is teacher’s surrealist, nonconformist art. Froese founded Tangerine Dream in 1967, and in its early years the group was a more acoustical ensemble (violin, flute and saxophone playing alongside more rock-oriented instruments like electric guitar and bass). Over time the group evolved and changed membership (though Froese always remained at its helm). With the evolution of synthesizers the Dream’s music became more electronic, helping to forge (along with other European musicians like Vangelis, Popol Vuh and Jean Michel-Jarre) a genre commonly labeled “Ambient”, “Space Music” or “New Age” (though the latter would perhaps best describe Tangerine Dream, given Edgar Froese’s Eastern philosophical leanings.).
In time the Dream established a fairly successful reputation as film composers, with scores for films like SORCERER, THE KEEP, FIRESTARTER and RISKY BUSINESS. With electronic scores so en vogue by the mid-80s, Tangerine Dream appeared certain to fulfill Universal’s requirement for something more “popular”. It is indeed ironic that a group that began with such a radical, avant-garde agenda would ultimately be tapped to provide a “commercial” soundtrack, intended to cater to American teenagers.
Although a handful of impressive synthesizer scores were composed in the 80s, electronic music was for the most part a trendy novelty of the time. Electronics were also much less expensive than orchestras, so synthesized scores tended to feature in television and low-budget films. Inevitably, the sound of a purely electronic scores began to suggest “cheap”, and in retrospect many expensive films which had electronic scores now feel much more lower-budget than they actually were (not to mention hopelessly antiquated). Alas, LEGEND was sadly destined to be one such film.
THE THREE VERSIONS OF THE FILM IN COMPARISON
While the removal of Goldsmith’s score was certainly appalling, it has nevertheless afforded a unique opportunity: the chance to examine two radically different musical approaches to the same film. The availability of the Directors Cut on DVD likewise offers the chance to examine Goldsmith’s score more as it was originally intended.
Predictably Tangerine Dream and Jerry Goldsmith had different notions of what makes effective film music. On the subject of film scoring, Dream member Chris Franke commented “We want not to become like film composers who change their style like they change shirts. We still want to keep our identity.” On the other hand Goldsmith, in a 1982 interview in CinemaScore magazine, noted, “certain composers are doing the same thing over and over again, which I feel is sort of uninteresting. I don’t find that you grow much in that way.”
Goldsmith, who once described himself as something of a “method composer” in that he often finds himself adopting the personality of a film as he writes, has embraced virtually every form of musical style in his career, including completely synthesized scores (in fact RUNAWAY, a rhythmic action score which he wrote just prior to LEGEND, was entirely realized on digital keyboards). Tangerine Dream on the other hand stick to a signature sound, that sound being entirely electronic, sometimes minimalist, encompassing elements of eastern music (particularly Indian ragas), and sometimes driving rock and roll rhythms as well.
Even when working in the electronic medium, Jerry Goldsmith always composed with pencil and paper. While he would often use synths to fashion demos for filmmakers, he would always first write-out every note beforehand, and was adamant that composing was something to be done on paper.
Again the Dream differed in their approach, composing direct onto tape or computer disc. Said Froese, “Writing it down on paper is a very old-fashioned thing which is not necessary to do anymore.”
In the interest of fairness it should be pointed-out that while Jerry Goldsmith began work on LEGEND in pre-production, and wrote the final score over the course of several months, Tangerine Dream had only three weeks to create their score. It would also be unfair to dismiss Tangerine Dream’s contributions to film scoring in general, as they have provided effective musical backdrops to a number of pictures, in particular Tom Cruise’s first major film, RISKY BUSINESS (which one suspects influenced their selection for LEGEND). On the other hand, in view of their admitted desire to retain a signature style and sound, and the fact that they work exclusively in the electronic medium, the number of films to which they can effectively contribute is obviously limited.
While both Goldsmith and the Dream make use of synthesizers in their LEGEND score, Goldsmith also employed a full symphony orchestra and chorus, resulting in a musical tapestry which reflected the organic, pastoral visuals of Ridley Scott. The Dream’s music, being exclusively electronic, resulted in a decidedly un-organic sound, as well as lacking the broadness of timbre that the film needs.
While Goldsmith’s score was overall romantic in style, he also integrated the folk influences, composing a Gaelic fiddle reel that becomes part of the faerie motif throughout the film. An ethnic sound is also at work in the Dream’s music. However, it encompasses Eastern pentatonic scales, and the (electronically sampled) sounds of an Indian sitar and Japanese shakuhachi (bamboo flute), which are culturally out-of-place in the European faerie story. Dream’s score was not however limited to an ethnic sound. Electric guitar samples and occasional rock and roll rhythms were also present (which, if not intentionally “commercial” on the Dream’s part, probably satisfied Sheinberg’s requirement for something more contemporary).
Whereas Jerry Goldsmith sought to create a score for LEGEND that was stylistically homogenous to the film itself, Tangerine Dream composed a Tangerine Dream score. And this is where the soundtrack for the American release fundamentally goes wrong. The Dream approached a story that is consummately based on Western European folklore and Medieval Christian ideas of good and evil, with an electronic score heavily influenced by Eastern music styles and philosophies. Beyond that, the cool, “trendy” nature of the Dream’s score is aesthetically incongruous to what is onscreen. Their music, while likeable on its own, simply has nothing to do with the subject matter and works against the film. LEGEND is an old-fashioned kind of faerie story, but the Dream’s music is constantly trying to sell the film as something it really isn’t.
Tangerine Dream’s music also tends to be devoid of warmth or sentiment -- in sharp opposition to Goldsmith’s highly romantic approach. A minority have expressed the feeling Goldsmith’s score was overly sentimental (I disagree). But while it is decidedly lush and romantic, Goldsmith’s score is dramatically the more subtle of the two. The Dream’s music is comparatively simplistic and blunt, often functioning in a “hey, look at this!” manner. Yet their music is not assertive enough in scenes of dramatic intensity, and is generally cool and detached, providing inadequate support for the characters. Often, the Dream’s music is not so much a dramatic score as it is musical sound effects “mood chords” and abstract timbres, which adequately serve as an aural accompaniment, but not as a particularly dramatic one.
Goldsmith’s score is thematically complex, with motifs or themes for all of the principal characters -- Jack, Lili, Darkness, the unicorns, faeries, goblins -- all are in some way represented in a specific musical idea. The Dream also provide character motifs, though there are fewer of them, and they are more simplistic in nature.
I want to add that I actually do like some of the music Tangerine Dream crafted for LEGEND; it is just completely wrong for the film, and severely compromises the production.
THE TWO SCORES, SCENE-BY-SCENE
Obviously the Goldsmith-scored directors cut is longer than the cut scored by Tangerine Dream, and Goldsmith wrote music for a number of sequences not included in the American release (and are severely truncated in the European).
The original opening of LEGEND which depicted four Goblins investigating a strange light and discovering a stand of unicorns’ hair -- was never used in any version. This sequence was apparently scored by Goldsmith however, as the cue entitled “The Goblins” on the CD is an interplay of the frenetic goblin motif and the heavenly unicorn theme, and seems to follow the action as described in the script. (The workprint cut of this sequence included on the DVD is obviously not the version Goldsmith scored, as the music timings do not match-up.)
The opening of American version of LEGEND begins with an expository (and largely pointless) title scroll that didactically explains the film’s scenario and even hints at its outcome. The scroll is accompanied by Tangerine Dream’s love theme for Jack and Lili, which is voiced by a “slide-whistle”-like keyboard.
The actual title sequence is the same for all three versions of the film, consisting of a montage of the magical, nocturnal woodland. The Dream’s music follows the images more or less, with a legato tempo and ethereal melody. A sneaky, more sinister turn in the music heralds the appearance of Blix (the chief goblin). The Dream’s music continues as we’re shown the interior of Darkness’ fortress, with eerie, abstract tones.
Goldsmith’s main title is likewise legato, but far more atmospheric. Long, sustained chords from strings, woodwinds, synthesizers and a wordless chorus float about the scene, counterpointed by electronic “chirps” and wails (suggestive of crickets and birds) instantly establish the feeling of a magic forest. As Blix appears, Goldsmith introduces his goblin motif. At once humorous and creepy, the goblin motif is a nasty, piercing motif featuring a somewhat “farting”-like synthesizer, which perfectly captures the goblins’ slimy persona and wicked treachery. (This motif also embodies Goldsmith’s entire approach to film scoring -- his desire for his music to express character above all else.) The Dream also supply a goblin motif (though it does not appear until much later in the film), which is comparatively non-melodic, consisting of rhythmic percussion sounds (a processed drum sample coupled with a sound like tuned bamboo being struck).
In the Euro-version, we are first introduced to Princess Lili as she strolls thought the forest, singing a short song, “My true Love’s Eyes”, by Goldsmith and lyricist John Bettis. The same song features in the DC, but curiously, in the Euro version we initially hear Lili singing without the instrumental accompaniment; in the DC we initially hear the instrumental accompaniment but without Lili singing.
The ensuing cue, featuring chorus and lyrical strings, captures the enchanted, pastoral setting. However, Lili is followed by the treacherous goblins, whose appearance is sharply signaled in the music, breaking the pastoral tone for a moment. The music takes an innocently mischievous, staccato turn as Lili unties Nell’s laundry line and scurries into Nell’s cottage. As Lili enters, Goldsmith plays a dreamy variation of Lili’s theme using mainly strings, chorus and synthesizer, expressing Lili’s innocence and naïve perception of the simple peasant life as magical and “rich” (again Goldsmith’s music is emphatic of character).
Obviously Lili’s song is missing from the American version. The Dream’s music for Lili’s walk through the woods is one of their best cues, and features a pleasant, ethereal-yet-melancholy theme (but they curiously elect not to accent the appearance of the goblins). As Lili enters the cottage, the music becomes inexplicably sinister and menacing, as though she has entered a dark and dangerous place.
In actual fact no danger ever surfaces in this scene. Lili merely chats with Nell. In the Euro / DC cuts, Goldsmith continues with the ethereal Lili theme. The Dream however refrain from scoring their conversation. Goldsmith’s ends the scene with a playful phrase, as Lili skips out of Nell’s cottage to search for Jack.
Goldsmith stays silent until Jack appears and startles Lili. However, the Euro version includes a brief, playfully mysterious phrase as Lili nervously says Jack “if you’re here say something!” The DC unfortunately excludes this phrase, the music starting as Jack drops-down in front of her. In both versions however, when Jack appears, Goldsmith provides a lyrically playful, yet heroic version of Jack’s theme. In the DC, Goldsmith’s music remains playful, yet also pensive, as Lili tosses Jack a biscuit.
The Dream on the other hand resume scoring as Lili leaves the cottage, returning with the “slide-whistle” love theme (first heard in the opening scroll title) as Lili searches for Jack. The slide-whistle theme continues as Jack and Lili meet, and then run into the woods to enjoy some tawdry kissing. (The kissing scene is not in the Euro version or DC; these characters were never supposed to have kissed until the end. But since Universal wanted LEGEND to cater to teenagers, a tacky “make-out” scene was cut-together from alternate angles of Jack and Lili’s kiss at the film’s conclusion).
In the Unicorn sequence, Goldsmith’s music crescendos in enchanted splendor with chorus and strings, as the two unicorns frolic in the effervescent stream. But this moment of fleeting bliss is broken by the arrival of the goblins, who wait to strike from a hidden position.
In the DC, Lili is unexpectedly charged by one of the unicorns. Goldsmith’ music begins with of pulsing synths, which are joined by strings and chorus. This music appropriately evokes the terror of the moment, but ironically it is actually the music written for a later scene. This cue was supposed to accompany Jack as he searches for Lili’s ring under water, while the storm brews above. It is not known if Goldsmith actually scored the unicorn charge (I’m assuming he did not).
As the unicorn relents, Goldsmith’s music returns with ethereal beauty, but as Lili sings to the unicorn there is also sense of inevitable tragedy and doom, as Blix prepares to fire a poison dart into the stallion. Once Blix strikes, and the unicorn runs-off, Goldsmith attacks with the goblin motif, now sounded in bellicose triumph by blaring French horns.
Tangerine Dream introduce the unicorns with a motif for synthesized shakuhachi (investing the music with an incongruously Japanese flavor). A sampled electric guitar is added, and while the music crescendos in triumph, the pop-rock sound of the electric guitar shatters the delicate, faerie-tale atmosphere. (Also, without Lili singing to lure the Unicorn, there is no plausible reason that Unicorn should approach her.)
In the Goldsmith versions, Lili now attempts to soothe Jack’s troubled heart with another song (called “Bumps and Hollows” on the CD). In the European cut, the music subsides after Lili’s song until Jack dives into the pool to retrieve Lili’s ring. This is unfortunate, because Goldsmith’s phrase for Jack’s dive into the pool is later repeated when he returns to find the ring toward the end of the film, and the nice sense of continuity provided by the music is lost.
Happily, the DC does retain Goldsmith’s music following the song, which consists of Jack’s theme, and which culminates in a wondrous crescendo when he dives-in after the ring. Once Jack pierces the water’s surface (in both versions), the music shifts into a darker tone as Jack dives deeper into the pool and a storm starts to brew.
Tangerine Dream’s music for Jack and Lili’s conversations is underscored with sampled voices, while Jack’s dive into the pool is accompanied by a low, downward glissando.
Goldsmith’s music for the storm sequence is hard to appreciate in either the Euro and DC of the film, being not only dubbed at a low level, but also savagely re-cut for no apparent reason. As mentioned earlier, part of Goldsmith’s cue for this sequence (“The Freeze” on the CD) was used over the earlier unicorn charge. However this cue is not used intact in the scene for which it was actually written. Instead the “Freeze cue” is crudely inter-cut with the cue for the climactic dungeon battle (titled “Darkness Falls” on the CD). Fortunately the cue’s most powerful moment a surging choral passage is heard intact as the goblins sever the unicorn’s horn (or “alicorn”). (Incidentally, on CD the pulsing synth that accompanies Jack’s first moments under water is mostly cut-out presumably deemed to programmatic for listening apart from the film.)
Tangerine Dream are likewise subject to a low dub in this sequence, but there is not too much on which to comment. The music consists of various wails and electric guitar twangs, again functioning more like sound effects than dramatic music. A melancholy cue accompanies Lili’s as she frantically searches for Nell’s cottage. In the ensuing scenes, the Dream’s goblin “theme” reappears, its abstract series of rhythmic percussion samples depicting the mayhem they wreak, but not so much their character.
As Jack is awakened by Oona, Goldsmith brings in her theme -- a three-note motif, played here (as in much of the film) in the high register of a Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer. Strings join the synth, and as the faeries appear, Goldsmith supplies additional electronic “whistles” and “bubbles” which evoke the euphoric faerie magic about the scene. This culminates in a solo fiddle quoting the reel like “faerie” motif, as Jack is greeted by Honeythorn Gump.
Tangerine Dream open the same scene with a sustained chord as Oona approaches Jack. As the other faeries appear, the Dream employ a sampled panpipe with noisy, metallic percussion sounds, which play more like sound effects than music.
Much of this scene is in fact missing in all three versions of the film. Originally, when Gump learns of Lili’s attempt to touch the Unicorn, the enraged faeries cast a spell on Jack to make him dance uncontrollably as punishment. Gump accompanies the dance playing a furious reel on his fiddle. The surviving sound track from this dance sequence can be heard in the bonus features on the Ultimate Edition DVD. (The “Faerie Dance” on the Silva Screen CD is a different arrangement than that heard on the DVD I suspect it was arranged specifically for the album, as it features a fuller, more orchestral arrangement, although it was not included on the original album release).
As Gump offers Jack the chance for absolution if he answers a riddle, Goldsmith employs strings and synths to create an uncertain, suspenseful tone. Solo violin pizzicati reflect the pensive mood as Gump awaits Jack’s answer. As Jack bests him with the correct answer, Goldsmith plays Gump’s erupting tantrum with another fiddle reel, counterpointed by piercing xylophone glissandos and synths. (Ironically, this “riddle” scene was restored for the American TV version of LEGEND, so that Goldsmith’s music suddenly starts playing in the otherwise-Dream scored cut, resulting in an awkward clash of styles.)
As Gump passes the wine around, Goldsmith's music is based on the faerie theme (the melody heard in “Sing the Wee” on the CD), which he sets in an arrangement for woodwind, celeste and strings (with a little synth coloring), expressing the goodness of the faerie folk. Dream's music for this same scene has by contrast an almost 20s-style “jazzy” feel to it, with synthesized shakuhachi and pan flute.
As Jack and the faeries find the stallion dead in the snow, the surviving mare confronts the hero. As the mare has no voice of her own, it falls to music to express her inner feelings. Goldsmith uses the goblin motif (voiced by angry brass) to express the mare’s bitter rage toward Jack for causing this tragedy. As Jack begs her to forgive him, the music settles into a gentle, melancholy flute (playing the unicorn theme), which now expresses the mare’s forgiveness. Once more Goldsmith’s music expresses character.
The Dream on the other hand use their unicorn theme, but do not express the mare’s anger, or her change of heart (thus the unicorn’s inner feelings are not communicated in the American version).
In the cave scene, where Jack learns Oona's true identity, Goldsmith returns with Oona's theme on the DX7 synthesizer as she leads Jack through the cave. As she transforms into human appearance, high strings take over her theme reflecting the transition from tiny light to her human form. Dainty and sensual, the music at once captures Oona’s ethereality and seductiveness. When Jack goes to remove the sword from its resting place, Goldsmith comes in with heroic French horns that convey his heroism and purity.
The Dream's music for the cave scene is oddly rhythmic, with an almost rock and roll sound, yet at the same time rather static. “Tinkley” chimes capture the a faerie feeling of Oona, but the cue is largely non-melodic (again more like sound effects than score) and fills the space, but offers no insight into Oona's character. When Jack reaches for the sword, the Dream use their “Jack” theme (the melody that opens "Loved by the Sun" on the album), but its feeling is one of cool and self-assuredness, as though this is Tom Cruise’s character from RISKY BUSINESS, not a naive woodland boy who has never handled a sword.
As Brown Tom is attacked by the goblins and struggles to hold them off with his frying pan, the music (in both the Euro and directors cuts) is cut together from the dungeon fight cue from the film’s climax (“Darkness Fails” on CD). Goldsmith actually wrote something else for this scene -- a frenetic, feisty cue that adroitly combines the faerie and goblin motifs. Goldsmith’s cue played-up both the danger and humor of the scene (the tone of his cue was a little reminiscent of his score for GREMLINS). Unfortunately this clever cue was not selected for inclusion on Silva Screen’s CD (probably owing to its brief duration). The edited version of “Darkness Fails” which was ultimately used in the scene is far darker in tone; presumably Goldsmith interpreted the scene as more humorous than Scott intended.
As Jack and the faeries first come upon Darkness’ fortress (or “the great tree”), we hear a cue very similar to the one written for Jack’s underwater search (also used over the unicorn charge). In fact it is essentially the same cue, but here employs different synth timbres. While it has more of a “cricket”-like sound earlier in the film, it has a “whooshing” quality here. Again it is not certain whether Goldsmith intended it for this scene (though it does work well).
As Screwball edges his way toward the great tree, he hear the “Freeze” cue however in this instance it is stripped-down to the synth lines, with the orchestra and choral parts mixed-out (it is unknown whether or not this was done with Goldsmith’s cooperation).
In the American cut this scene is underscored with assorted wails and chords, again more like a musical sound effects.
The appearance of Meg Mucklebones is un-scored in the Goldsmith version. However, after she is slain by Jack, an eerie cue featuring male voices and woodwinds underscores the shot of the fortress and the scene of Lili and the unicorn trapped in the dungeon. This cue is re-used several more times in the film (during Lili’s later conversations with Darkness) but I believe it was actually composed specifically for this sequence.
In the American version the Meg Mucklebones scene is scored by a repetitive “electric bass”-like figure and “creepy” chords, which do little except provide sonic wallpaper (to a scene which doesn’t really need music anyway). The shot of the great tree and the brief dungeon scene are scored with “electric organ” tones and assorted creepy chords, with the unicorn accented by the “shakuhachi” call.
Later, when Oona promises to help Jack and co. escape from the larder if he will kiss her, Goldsmith's music is delicately sensuous as Oona attempts to coax a kiss from the hero. As she impersonates Lili in order to better woo him, Goldsmith employs Jack’s theme on flute, counterpointing it with a high-pitched DX7 -- reminding us that there is faerie magic at work here.
Tangerine Dream on the other hand, provide low wails counterpointed with the "slide-whistle" synth when Oona asks Jack to kiss her. This music is appropriately strange and mysterious, but again doesn’t probe into characterization. Whereas Goldsmith plays on the flirtation, longing and desire between these two characters, the Dream merely play the superficial “strangeness” of the moment. As Oona impersonates Lili, the love theme comes-in, which glosses over the nuances of the scene.
The Dream do provide an effective cue for the scene where Lili wanders lost throughout the Dark Lord’s fortress. While the electronics are limited in their spectrum of timbre, their use of plummeting arpeggios nicely evokes Lili’s almost feverish state, as Oona follows her at a distance.
The music Goldsmith originally wrote for this scene was unfortunately not used (nor included on the Silva Screen CD). This is a shame as Goldsmith provided a hypnotic waltz, whose 3/4 tempo perfectly captures Lili’s dazed, frightened condition, while the “Oona” motif is cleverly blended in. For reasons unknown, the scene was tracked with the main title (which does not work nearly as well).
In few places is Goldsmith so sorely missed as in the "Dress Waltz" scene. Dizzying and seductive, the surging chorus of his waltz perfectly underscores Lili's seduction by the dark wraith. The orchestra and chorus crescendo in magical fury, finally reaching an explosive climax. Swelling glissandi from synthesizer appear as Lili finds she is transformed into the dark figure herself.
If this scene is one of Goldsmith’s strongest in the film, it is ironically one of Tangerine Dream’s weakest. The Dream merely provide a kind of light “calliope” waltz. There is a hint of darkness to it, but unlike Goldsmith’s waltz it doesn’t build to any kind of climax, and is simply too subdued to add any dramatic intensity to the scene. Lili’s dance with the apparition comes-off as utterly foolish set to this music.
As Darkness emerges from the mirror, the Euro version and directors cut use a brief choral track extracted from “The Freeze” (with the instruments mixed-out). As he steps toward Lili, we hear the “Dungeon” cue from earlier in the film (which comprises the first part “Darkness Falls” on the CD).
Tangerine Dream employ appropriately sinister sampled male voices as Darkness appears, but then bring-in in a sampled sitar, which causes a little head scratching on the part of the viewer (is the Lord of Darkness from India?).
A discussion of the kitchen scene is worth including, if only to defend Goldsmith, for the music in this was not part of his score for the film. For reasons unknown, the kitchen scene uses music from Goldsmith’s 1983 score for PSYCHO II. As Jack and the faeries collect a pile of giant plates, a terror cue from PSYCHO II underscores their efforts. While it does create an appropriate feeling of fear (as the demon chefs could wake up at any moment) the “slicing” synth-effect (originally written for a grisly murder scene) doesn’t quite work here.
The actual fight with the demon chefs is merely tracked with library music by the late Tim Souster. While appropriately aggressive, it does not stylistically fit-in with Goldsmith’s score at all. Goldsmith’s Main Title from PSYCHO II is then used in the aftermath of the fight as Jack is cheered by the faeries.
Why Goldsmith did not score the kitchen scene remains a mystery. One suspects that Ridley Scott did not initially intend to use music in this scene (and it doesn’t seem to need music), but late in post changed his mind. Still, one would think they could have found music that was a little more appropriate to the tone of the film (like maybe something from Goldsmith’s SECRET OF NIMH or TWLIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, which are much closer in style to LEGEND than PSYCHO II or the library music!).
The Dream’s music for the kitchen scene at first works well, utilizing a staccato melody as the heroes pile-up the plates. However as the fight ensues the music degenerates into a rhythmic cue featuring a synthesized electric guitar and drum machines, again evoking not the character of Jack the hero, but sounding more appropriate to Cruise’s persona of Maverick in TOP GUN.
In the Euro and directors cuts, Darkness’ prolonged conversations with Lili feature the same cue (the first part of “Darkness Fails” on the CD), repeated several times. Again it is a mystery as to why it is used repeatedly, or whether Goldsmith wrote more original music for their scenes.
Tangerine Dream scores the climatic dungeon scene with a fairly simplistic cue that is more or less an extended thumping rhythm, underscoring the scene with little variation. On the other hand, Goldsmith invests the scene with a strong sense of culmination, quoting most of the film’s major motifs. A frightened and suspenseful variation of the love theme is heard as Jack is faced with having to kill Lili, who has apparently turned to evil. As Lili cuts the Unicorn's chain, proving Jack's suspicious wrong, Darkness strikes her down. Jack confronts the Dark Lord to do battle with him, and Goldsmith accompanies this with a heroic trumpet fanfare.
As Darkness gets a hold of Jack and traps him between his massive horns, Goldsmith masterfully conveys Jack's feelings of fright and horror with a searing, dissonant chord sustained by synthesizers and strings. As their swordfight ensues, Goldsmith's music becomes bold and heroic, with brass becoming a foreground element, while the high synth “Oona” motif is cleverly worked-in as she attempts to rouse Brown Tom.
As the shaft of light blasts into the dungeon and engulfs Darkness, the chorus is the dominant force, heralding his demise with storm-like fury. Jack strikes him down and he is sucked into an abyss. In the Euro version we hear a synth glissando steadily rising in pitch after Darkness has been swept away. In the directors cut on the other hand, the same synth glissando is heard over the music accompanying Darkness’ final monolog, before he is struck-down (the glissando is not heard on the CD however; obviously it is a “sweetener” track -- i.e. a separate musical line or lines which a composer records separately which can be added in the final dub if needed).
Goldsmith’s music for the dungeon fight and climax is unfortunately dubbed at a ludicrously low level, greatly hindering its contribution.
In contrast the Dream choose to accent little of the dungeon fight and climax. Jack is cornered by Darkness, but the music does not convey the chilling intensity that Goldsmith’s does. The rock-like rhythm thumps through the whole sequence, never altering to express Oona's ethereal delicacy, or Jack's sterling heroism. Their music does turn momentarily triumphant as the shaft of light burns into the dungeon, and appropriately black-hearted when Darkness is dragged down the corridor, bringing-in their “eastern”-flavored Darkness theme as he is destroyed, but the continual thumping rhythm undercuts its effect.
In both theatrical versions of the film, the final scenes are considerably re-cut. The Euro version is awkwardly cut-down to run at a faster pace, while the American version is more smoothly cut into a montage, cutting between Lili’s resurrection, and Gump’s restoring the horn to the Unicorn (the Unicorn’s resurrection is not shown in the Euro version or directors cut).
Ironically, Goldsmith intended to reprise Lili’s song in the final moments of the film, but it was cut from the Euro version. However her song is heard in the DC, right before she says goodbye to Jack. Goldsmith’s music also feels better suited to the slightly more bittersweet ending of the directors cut, in which Jack and Lili part (as opposed to the more sentimental ending of the theatrical versions in which they run-off together).
Ironically Tangerine Dream never intended there be a song at the end of their score. Someone (probably at Universal) decided the final scenes of the film should be a song so they commissioned Jon Anderson (formerly of Yes) to provide lyrics and sing them over the Dream’s music. While a very nice song (and similar to the albums Anderson did with Vangelis in the 80s) it nevertheless ruins the finale of the film, by reducing it to a tacky music video. Froese admitted to CinemaScore magazine “we are not totally enthusiastic about that”.
At its conclusion the Anderson song cross-fades to the laughable “Is Your Love Strong Enough” sung by Bryan Ferry (which is written in a different key, resulting in an a painfully awkward segue). Mercifully, audiences are spared the image of Ferry in his leather pants and high-heeled boots (which figured so prominently in the bad music video which aired on MTV at the time of the film’s release).
In addition to having his work removed from the film, Goldsmith suffered a further injury to his work. Administrative incompetence and studio apathy toward his score actually resulted in both the session master tape, and the entire written score -- composer’s sketches, conductor’s score and instrumental parts -- being misplaced, and apparently lost for good. A complete tragedy was averted however, thanks to recording engineer Mike Ross-Trevor, who saw fit to preserve a two-track digital copy of the session masters (which he stored safely at his home, and from which Silva Screen’s 1992 expanded reissue of Goldsmith’s score was mastered).
In the aftermath of LEGEND, Ridley Scott commented “I still have to make my peace with Jerry. I want to work with him again.” But alas Goldsmith and Scott never did work again. While it is perhaps understandable from Goldsmith’s point of view, it remains unfortunate there were not more collaborations between these two cinematic titans. ALIEN and LEGEND inspired some of Goldsmith’s best work, (and one wonders, wistfully, what the composer might have come-up with had he been asked to score GLADIATOR).
Scott also did not work with Tangerine Dream again after LEGEND. The director hired Michael Kamen to score his next film, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, and the project that followed, BLACK RAIN, began Scott’s long association with Hans Zimmer.
Since LEGEND Scott has rejected only one other score, curiously enough the work of another acclaimed veteran composer -- Maurice Jarre, whose music for WHITE SQUALL was replaced by Jeff Rona.
Tangerine Dream have not been active in films much since LEGEND, though former Dream member Chris Franke wrote the music for the successful BABYLON 5 series, among other projects.
Jerry Goldsmith maintained a successful career in the wake of LEGEND -- a career which, along with his life, was tragically cut-short in 2004, when at the age of 75 he lost a two-year battle with leukemia. But even during his illness, Goldsmith’s professionalism and passion for music was undiminished, and he completed two scores just months before he passed away Joe Dante’s LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, and Richard Donner‘s TIMELINE. (Sadly, in a case reminiscent of LEGEND, Goldsmith’s music for TIMELINE was rejected and not used in the finished film.)
© 1995-2006 Paul Andrew MacLean. All rights reserved.