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Music Conducted By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By
Arthur Morton

Recorded By

Performed By

Album Produced By
Lukas Kendall

Film Score Monthly FSMCD 1220

Previous Release(s)
US 33 Monogram JG 7711 (Boot)
US 33 Centurion 1210 (Boot)

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time

Limited Release

Reviewed By
Brandon Moore

Cues & Timings

1. Main Title 3:19
2. The Boys Arrive 3:02
3. Pillow Fight 1:12
4. Is Ten Too Old? 4:09
5. Night Attack 3:22
6. The Marlin 11:54
7. The Boys Leave 2:53
8. The Letter 3:28
9. How Long Can You Stay 3:10
10. I Can’t Have Him 2:44
11. The Refugees 4:27
12. Eddie’s Death 4:39
13. It Is All True 5:18

Soundtrack Ratings







Islands In The Stream

Islands in the Stream (1977) was Jerry Goldsmith's fifth feature score for director Franklin J. Schaffner. The film is based on one of the last works of Ernest Hemingway, Schaffner's favourite writer. Goldsmith often described pictures that dealt with human emotions and relationships as an inspiration to score and had mentioned on few occasions that Islands in the Stream was his personal favourite.

This inspiring work uses one of Goldsmith's finest themes written for the character of Thomas Hudson, (George C. Scott) an artist who is coming to terms with the separation from his wife and the relationship with his sons. The theme on solo French horn is often supplemented by a playful theme for his sons in a slight diminutive form. Both are tightly connected to one another with similarities in intervals. Mostly the boy's theme is short with harp, oboe and pizzicato strings used with accented xylophone (Pillow Fight, The Letter, Marlin). Most prominent is the introduction of a central whole tone rising and falling motif for the sea. It is often played in the clarinet and becomes an omniscient presence throughout.

The focus of the score delves into the emotions that Hudson keeps hidden, and Goldsmith establishes more than what is visible on the surface. The Pillow Fight begins playfully on the boys theme but soon becomes furious and anguished as Hudson's younger son Davy continues to focus his fight, hitting on his father relentlessly after the others have stopped. The music brings out the hurt and the resentment Davy has for his father who had once beaten his mother. Marlin, a watershed cue in the score, is an incredible achievement in Goldsmith's entire oeuvre. Xylophone begins with the boys theme and horns add plenty of power on the sea motif under a dramatically stated Hudson's theme in the strings. Goldsmith weaves the three thematic ideas together seamlessly as they develop. Trumpets and horns pass off to each other in a masterful section where the two themes battle against the sea motif. In subtext, the composer captures the struggling sides between Davy, who is trying to reel in a Marlin he has hooked, and his father fighting for his son's love. Goldsmith's music swells on the cuts to the Marlin leaping out of the water making the opening motif fully orchestrated. Polyrhythmic textures (with plenty of 7/8 and 10/8 mixed meters) add to the flavour of the setting and the excitement. Ultimately the line breaks, and the fish escapes leaving the father/son struggle resolved with Hudson's heartbreaking, simple theme on flute solo, harp and strings.

The Letter opens with a bright use of the boy's theme in piano and oboe as they are excited to get a letter from their father. Hudson's theme develops on Flute and then into an atmospheric sound of clarinet arpeggios and strings over a montage of Hudson continuing his artwork. Finally, It Is All True closes the score, with a feeling of surrender as Hudson's theme, scaled down to a sad piano solo, underscores a dying Hudson while his confidant, Joseph, pleas for him not to die. The music settles into the final statement of the theme for the end title.

There is an impressionistic influence on Goldsmith's scores, more so in music he wrote for Franklin J. Schaffner and works in the late 70's and early 80's. Impressionism in Islands in the Stream is uniquely translated into the composer's style giving the film the perfect sound to emotionally express and support the picture's story. The film was unfortunately at odds in a year with releases like Star Wars and Close Encounters but it's still a thoughtful film and possibly the most touching of the Goldsmith/Schaffner collaboration.