We keep getting letters from readers around the world that add interesting insights into the fact that Fox reused portions of Jerry Goldsmith's previous scores for the 1976 western The Last Hard Men.
Now comes this informative letter:
My name is Gergely Hubai. I'm a Hungarian film music
I feel that I must clarify this particular story. This is what happened:
Jerry Goldsmith never worked on The Last Hard Men
(he was working on The Omen at that time). What happened was that Andrew.
McLaglen requested an avantgarde score from composer Leonard Rosenman, which was
eventually thrown out because it turned out it wasn't what he was looking for.
Apparently he wanted to reflect the early 20th century setting by having
contemporary avantgarde music playing in the picture or something to that
effect. Eventually the studio pulled out a number of cues from previous
Goldsmith Westerns, including 100 Rifles and Stagecoach. These were done without
any consultation from the composer, so no, Jerry Goldsmith didn't reuse his own
Gergely also addresses the issue of John Barry reusing his score from Zulu for Cry the Beloved Country:
Barry doesn't reuse his own score - the common melody he reuses in both scores
were done deliberately as it is based on a native piece. The theme was used
deliberately since both pictures take place in South Africa. There are many
cases when composers use shorthand and freely quote from their previous works -
I have written whole article series on that subject! These two titles however do
not qualify for that.
The plot thickens: we're now told that Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Last Hard Men also incorporated some of his work from the 1965 spy movie Morituri!
Graham Rye's letter regarding Jerry Goldsmith's score for 100 Rifles which was recycled for The Last Hard Men, has drawn a number of comments from readers, some of whom have shed some light on the mystery of why such a revered composer might want to use a previous score in a new movie:
Well Graham is both correct and incorrect about the soundtrack for
the above. The story of The Last HardMen score is that a score by
Leonard Rosenman was rejected and, whether due to time constraints or cost, Fox
simply chose to track the movie with cues from three Jerry Goldsmith Fox westerns
(100 Rifles, Rio Conchos and the remake of Stagecoach) and also his score for
the thriller Morituri.Therefore, Jerry received the music credit even
though no original score was written for the movie by him. Hope this
clears things up?
Empire Leicester Square Theatre- London
Retro responds: Thanks, Dave...Graham was perceptive in picking up on this, as I wouldn't have noticed. You've added some context to the situation. In my view, Goldsmith was actually harmed by having his name credited on the film because movie music lovers probably thought he was just making a lazy effort, when in fact, he had no control over the situation because he was under contract at Fox at the time and studio executives called the shots on such matters. By the way, the mention of Morituri brings up yet another underrated film that Cinema Retro should turn its attention to. This compelling 1965 WWII spy thriller (shot in glorious black-and-white), featured the pairing of two legends: Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner. It's an outstanding film that bombed at the box-office in an age where the spy movie craze favored Bond movies and their knock-offs. Curiously, Fox attempted to re-marketed the film in mid-release by changing the title to the rather cumbersome The Saboteur- Code Name: Morituri. The film also features the only screen pairing of Brando and Wally Cox, his former New York City room mate when the two were struggling actors.(For info about the soundtrack to Morituri, click here)
I have just seen the latest post regarding Jerry Goldsmith, having visited the IMDB site over the years, I believe the original composer was sacked for his score on The Last Hard Men and time was running out. So you are right in saying Jerry recycled the score from 100 Rifles. There must be studio executives from who sit and twiddle their pens wondering how to sell movies to the public. If they would only go through their back catalogue, they would see people are crying out for films that have not seen the light of day on DVD.Your magazine is a godsend because you have inspired me to obtain my own copy of The Outrage with Paul Newman plus try and get the newly restored version of The Big Gundown. As Columbo would say "Just one more thing, sir..." My girlfriend and I visited New York in January where we saw Gran Torino. It received a positive reaction from the audience. Last Friday, I gave the movie a second viewing in my own town. Strong applause drowned out Jamie Cullen's song at the end. So keep up the good work!
Retro Responds: Ian, you're correct on The Last Hard Men, as Dave Norris notes above. Thanks for your kind support of Retro. We really appreciate the fact we're having such an impact on popular opinion when it comes to sharing news of classic and underrated films. I'm also delighted that Gran Torino is being well received in the UK, as indicated by your experience. In an age where great movie songs are as rare as hen's teeth, it's all the more lamentable that he and Jamie Cullen's superb end title song for the film was completely overlooked by Oscar.(Click here to listen to the song...but keep it mind, it is far more moving when heard in context with the film)