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Music Conducted By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By
Arthur Morton

Recorded By

Performed By

Albums Produced By

Lukas Kendall

FSMCD Vol. 8, No. 16

Previous Release(s)
Bay Cities CD, Chapter III CD, MGM LPs

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time
42:30 (Coma)

Limited Edition Release

Cues & Timings


Disc 1

The Carey Treatment (R Budd) and Westworld (F Karlin)

Disc 2

Includes The Carey Treatment And Westworld extra cues

Coma Source

9. Disco Strut ** (2:34)
10. Disco Love Theme (Disco Version) (4:29)
11. Theme From The Prize (1:39)

Coma Soundtrack

12. Stranger on the Street (0:51)
13. Cape Cod Weekend (Love Theme From Coma) (2:35)
14. The Institute (Jefferson Institute)/No Interview (2:26)
15. Hot Wire (2:07)
16. Toys in the Attic (O.R. 8) (5:35)
17. The Charts/Chance Encounter/The Lecture Hall (4:43)
18. Study in Anatomy (3:12)
19. No Address/After Hours/Up for Bids/Illegal Parking (5:31)
20. A Lack of Efficiency/A Free Ride (2:58)
21. A Difficult Position/The Long View (3:44)
22. A Lucky Patient/A Nice Case (5:46)
23. Sunday's Moon (2:32) *

* Lyrics by Carol Goldsmith
** Composed By Don Peake

Soundtrack Ratings








Jerry Goldsmith enjoyed a bumper crop of major movies to score back in 1978 and each one was a high profile box office hit. Coma proved to be one of the biggest. A taught medical thriller from writer and director Michael Crichton. This was Goldsmith's second outing with the director after the earlier TV movie Pursuit. The relationship would continue with the period caper The Great Train Robbery the following year and the sci-fi thriller Runaway in 1985. Not to mention a series of film adaptations for other directors of Crichton's books for Congo, The 13th Warrior and Timeline.

Coma remains one of the composer's finest examples of his thriller scoring technique. A style that is sadly lacking these days. Goldsmith's palette is devoid of brass relying on strings, woodwinds and piano as well as the return of the Echoplex to manipulate and create some chilling effects.

This new two CD set sadly includes two other scores that are of merit but should have been released on their own. The Coma score may be only 42 minutes long but it could have been partnered with the album version to make this a comprehensive look at the Coma score. But beggars can't be choosers and as always I applaud the efforts of Lukas Kendall and FSM to bring us another thorough well produced CD. So Coma's music begins on disc 2 and features a handful of source cues for the film. Beginning with Don Peake's period disco piece and continuing with Goldsmith's disco version of his love theme. The next selection seemed very odd indeed; The theme from Goldsmith's score to the 1968 MGM movie The Prize. FSM reveal Goldsmith re-recorded the theme for a piece of source used in the film.

The score begins proper with track 12 and essentially deconstructs the album selections into the actual score cues. Goldsmith famously left the first hour of the movie un-scored and wrote his 42 minute score for the last hour of the movie. The first sequence to startlingly include music is the reveal of henchman Vince (Lance Le Gault) for Stranger On The Street who stalks our heroine (Genevieve Bujold) throughout the movie. The short piece introduces Goldsmith stark thriller scoring for strings and keyboards with echoplex.

In contrast the love theme for Bujold and her boyfriend Mark (Michael Douglas) who spend a romantic weekend together (Cape Cod Weekend) is the only upbeat and playful cue in the score. Goldsmith's theme is melodic but essentially pop, very much a musical interlude of the time.

The Institute/No Interview coldly introduces the eerie and unwelcoming Jefferson Institute that receives the ever growing list of Coma patients at Susan's Hospital. Goldsmith makes the visitors, especially Susan, as unwelcome as possible at the imposing and desolate facility. Goldsmith's chilling theme for the Institute is almost mournful in its execution. The bleak futuristic building design gives Goldsmith ample opportunity to terrify the audience with strings and an unsettling piano without us even knowing what's inside.

As Susan's suspicions grow at the Hospital she goes to meet a maintenance man with further information only to find he's been electrocuted in the bowls of the hospital's maintenance area (Hot Wire). Goldsmith continues with his terrifying line and heightens the tension as Susan makes her way to the discovery of the body in the gloomy basement.

Toys In The Attic follows Susan's progress as she discovers a mysterious gas tank that seems to be feeding from the basement into the hospital. Susan makes a perilous climb and follows the pipes through a confined shaft only to discover it leads into OR8, where most of the patients appear to be ending up in coma. Goldsmith is allowed to dominate the sequence and emphasises Susan's perilous journey to make the startling discovery.

The Charts/Chance Encounter/The Lecture Hall follow Susan's progress to investigate the series of unexplained coma cases. This cue is made up of three segments as Susan nervously investigates. Goldsmith provides further development of his string effects to create tension and Susan's heightened anxiety. Her second face to face encounter with Vince allows Goldsmith to develop his cue into a minor chase cue with electronic embellishments juxtaposed with aggressive string playing.

The chase develops in A Study In Anatomy as Susan hides in a freezer of dead bodies with Vince close behind. The unpleasant location and the grey lifeless bodies hanging up engender even more horror with Goldsmith's wailing strings and electronics providing the climax as the bodies topple onto Vince as Susan makes her escape.

No Address/After Hours/Up For Bids/Illegal Parking is the major extra music presented here. This stunning cue is made up of four sequences and develops Goldsmith's eerie suspense and chase music into some of the composer's most effective thriller scoring. The prepared piano motif heard earlier is properly developed and backed up by a brooding bass line. Electronic effects explore the sequence further creating a feeling of isolation for Susan as she sneaks around the Jefferson Institute evading the guards.

A Lack Of Efficiency/A Free Ride covers Susan's perilous hiding place above the hanging coma patients as the security guards search the room. The cue then slowly develops into a an elaborate exclamation as Susan makes her escape on the top of an Ambulance. The lengthy sequence is another major highlight of this release.

A Difficult Position was never used in the final cut of the movie, but would have served the sequence well where Dr Harris (Richard Widmark) drugs Susan as she tries to confide in him of her discovery realising he is not only in on it but running the operation. Goldsmith creates a nightmare dreamlike state for Susan as she slowly looses consciousness. The sequence continues and the second part of the cue The Long View makes its appearance in the film.

A Lucky Patient is the finale cue as Mark is finally confirmed as one of the good guys and makes his way to the basement to find and switch off the gas. Goldsmith's cue switches between Mark's frantic attempts to switch it off in time and the relaxed and chilling deception to unnecessarily operate on Susan to kill her off. As Dr Harris' plan fails and Susan wakes Goldsmith brings resolution and relief to the score as Mark comforts Susan (A Nice Case) and the love theme returns, while Dr Harris' is left to be arrested by waiting Police. The score closes with a chilling but elaborate orchestral crescendo.

Sunday's Moon is partly a vocal of the love theme for Coma and may have been intended for the Cape Cod weekend with lyrics by Carol Goldsmith. It makes for a surprisingly effective song and deals with the couple's relationship rather than the Coma storyline.