(aka The Terrorists)
A rather gritty, or should
I say grubby looking 70's thriller afforded Jerry Goldsmith an
unusual opportunity to write an overblown period orchestral score
for Casper Wrede's tedious thriller. Even with the odd set piece,
most notably a 737 airliner making an emergency landing and blowing
its tyres in the process, and picturesque snow covered vistas
it remains unremarkable.
So feeble are the thrills it's only watchable for Goldsmith's
at times bombastic score. And definitely one of those efforts
that would be a lot of fun properly re-recorded. In fact Goldsmith's
elaborate theme and major cues often seem to resemble a symphony.
A grand scale score that does not befit Ransom the movie
but was clearly intended to help make it exciting and suspenseful.
The film itself includes a good crop of extra cues that should
have appeared on the official soundtrack album. Clearly there
was room and it was unnecessary to include an alternate airliner
cabin source cue and three repeated cues! It is bizarre that
some of the classic additional suspense cues were not considered
ripe for inclusion. The cue when Connery's Colonel Tahlvik starts
to realise what has been going on is pure Goldsmith.
Sadly this new CD does not include any extra music, it is assumed
these tapes are lost forever, but it does at least allow fans
to banish Silva Screen's dreadful sounding and looking CD to
the waste bin. The new CD from Prometheus at least makes this
score look and sound a lot more respectable, principally by presenting
a dramatically cleaned up LP source. Years ago the thought of
an LP source would make a soundtrack fan's heart sink. Now days
modern technology has allowed an LP to be cleaned up and resemble
a tape. In fact unless you play it with headphones you probably
won't spot what this is. Admittedly it still sounds a relatively
rough recording and sometimes a little bright but it is most
definitely a listenable soundtrack rather than a space filler
for a Goldsmith fan's CD collection.
The Ransom Main Theme introduces Goldsmith's warm and
at times powerful theme dominated by brass and percussion. It
is here you spot that Goldsmith has gone off into a completely
different direction to the movie he should be scoring. The film
has no romantic element but Goldsmith's theme is almost a love
theme. I can't quite fathom what the motivation was though. At
a long shot it was the odd Swedish winter vista. Though apart
from one sequence it all looks rather cold and bleak. Either
way Goldsmith's ability to come up with a good theme in difficult
and uninspiring circumstances reminds us how great Goldsmith
was at writing music, let alone fashioning a film score to a
Standard Issue is a variation of the source cue heard
in the airliner cabin during the hostage sequences but not the
one used in the film. Nothing special apart from a pop variation
of the main theme more akin to a lounge or elevator.
Queen's Messenger introduces Goldsmith's powerful action
theme for Ransom. Thunderous percussion dominates the
early part of the cue before a reflective middle section, rounding
out with a tense drawn out final flurry of piano, woodwinds and
Along with Sky Chaser, Mission Aborted is the other major
score set piece. Again a rather tedious sequence is transformed
into a thrilling and tense set piece courtesy of the maestro.
A lone security operative makes his way round the airport and
manages to board the hostage plane through a concealed entrance
under the cockpit. Goldsmith's wily brass provides the momentum
as strings provide the bed for classic Goldsmith piano and percussive
exclamations adding further to the tension.
No Alternatives begins with another powerful quote of
the Ransom theme before leading into a melancholy arrangement
of the main theme. Goldsmith supports his delicate tempo with
strings while piano and woodwinds showcase the melody.
Sky Chaser is the most elaborate cue of the score for
what I suppose is the most elaborate sequence of the film. A
small plane that has been helping the hostage takers keep an
eye on what is going on at the Airport is spotted by the Police
and makes its escape. It is then 'chased' by a Police plane.
Goldsmith's lengthy cue plays at full volume, as does the majority
of the score, but here particularly dominating the impressive
scenery. Watching and listening to this sequence leads me to
believe someone involved in the film was a huge Goldsmith fan
and clearly wanted Goldsmith to run away with the sequence.
Course Of Action initially returns to the brooding drama
following on from the elaborate Sky Chaser before introducing
a rhythmic action variation of the main theme as the security
forces attempt to smoke out the watcher on the Airfield. Goldsmith's
suspenseful cue is another highlight with delicate strings dominated
by more of Goldsmith's infectious jagged piano.
Just Sit Tight should have the word 'reprise' in brackets
after its name as it is nothing more than Queen's Messenger!
No Alternative (reprise) originally turned up on side
two of the LP where I assume someone thought the listener would
not spot or care too much that it was a repeated cue from Side
one. As mentioned earlier there were extra cues that could have
filled the gaps when the original album was compiled!
Peeping Tom refers to the photographer that has been watching
the hostage drama on the Airfield and is found by the security
forces. Musically the first part of this cue is another warm
rendition building into an aggressive variant of the main theme.
More akin to the film main title presentation which shows the
identi-kit image of the lead Terrorist. The second portion deals
with the photographer's discovery.
Ransom - End Credits (Main Theme Reprise) closes the score
and is the third repeated cue that combines a rather confused
downbeat ending with a reprise of the main theme.