Posted by Oscar Flores
Added on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Cocoon and The Hunt For Red October
By 1985, composer James Horner's career was flying fast and furious after scoring Star Trek II just a few years earlier. By the mid-80s Horner had broken the sound barrier, and in the summer of '85 he established his relationship with director Ron Howard on the 20th Century Fox film Cocoon. From the opening notes that evoke a sense of wonder, the viewer knows the film will take him on a magical journey. The music itself is no less a magical journey. At times the score evokes playfulness, adventure, romance, heartbreak, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and glory. All dimensions James Horner excels at and was his hallmark throughout the '80s.
Intrada's expanded re-issue of Cocoon is a long overdue reissue, less so for its expansion than for its sonic upgrade. The original album released in 1985 was prepared in accordance with that era’s aesthetics, with agreeable results, yet far removed from the original dynamics captured by engineer Armin Steiner on the Fox scoring stage. This release uses Steiner’s original 3-track mixes, resulting in a definitive presentation of one of the composer’s major early efforts.
Cocoon stars Wilfred Brimley, Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon, and Herta Ware as denizens of a Florida retirement community. They constitute a kind of geriatric wild bunch, most of whom find themselves mysteriously rejuvenated after a spot of trespassing and a series of dips in a nearby estate swimming pool that just happens to be a temporary holding tank for a bouquet of alien pods imbued with an invigorating “life force.” But little do they know that while the water may cure all that ails them, it comes with a high cost.
INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 260
Composer Basil Poledouris was a natural choice to provide the musical accompaniment for Jack Ryan’s memorable first film adventure, The Hunt for Red October. Not only had much of the film been tracked with his music, but the film’s story combined elements that recurred in many of the composer’s projects, including U.S.–Soviet relations (Red Dawn, Amerika), men and machines (Iron Eagle, RoboCop), and the ocean ( Big Wednesday, The Blue Lagoon. For the opening titles, Poledouris invented his own 'Russian folk' song, one from which the thematic material for the rest of the score is drawn.” Although much of Poledouris’ score consists of short, subdued cues, which mix orchestra and electronics, a few stand-out sequences gave Poledouris the opportunity to bring his full orchestral and choral forces to bear - depicting underwater navigation with a musical sense of wonder, adapting the choral material with a more menacing quality and a lengthy, pivotal sequence in which a a nuclear accident is faked.
Basil Poledouris and his team put considerable creative effort into the original mixes. Many cues were mixed not just once but two or three times, getting the balances between orchestra, chorus and electronics exactly right, adding electronic “sweeteners,” and in some cases subtly altering the musical timings to fit revised film footage. The score truly exists in these master mixes, which have been newly transferred and mastered from ¼″ two-track tapes in the Paramount vaults for this release of the expanded score. For this expanded edition, Intrada presents these mixes and nearly doubles the length of the previous MCA release.
The Red October of the title is a state-of-the-art Typhoon-class submarine captained by Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a veteran commander of the Soviet navy. Shortly after leaving port, Ramius murders the sub’s “political officer,” making it look like an accident, and burns his official orders before obtaining both of the keys that can unlock the ship’s nuclear missile capabilities. The U.S. submarine Dallas becomes aware of the Red October’s presence in the North Atlantic and pursues the sub discreetly, but while U.S. officials worry that the Russians’ new silent propulsion system will allow the Red October to launch a nuclear first strike against America, CIA analyst and naval historian Jack Ryan (Alex Baldwin) has a different theory...
INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 257