World of Westfahl | Encyclopedia Introduction | All Entries | Acknowledgements
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

G Entries
  Frederic Gadette
  Beverly Garland
  Fred Gebhardt
  William Gibson
  Jeff Goldblum
  Jerry Goldsmith
  Bernard Gordon
  Bert I. Gordon
  Peter Graves
  Lorne Greene
  Sir Alec Guinness
(1929–2004). American film composer.

Wrote music for: "Casino Royale" (1954), episode of Climax!; "The Four of Us Are Dying," "The Big, Tall Wish," "Nightmare as a Child," "Nervous Man in a Four-Dollar Room" (1960), "Dust," "Back There," "The Invaders" (1961), episodes of The Twilight Zone; "The Cheater" (1960), "The Poisoner," "Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook," "Well of Doom," "Late Date," "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper," "Mr. George," "The Terror in Teakwood," "Dark Legacy," "The Grim Reaper," "What Beckoning Ghost?", "Guillotine," "The Weird Taylor," "God Grante That She Lye Stille," "Masquerade," "The Last of the Sommervilles," "The Closed Cabinet" (1961), "The Bride Who Died Twice" (1962), episodes of Thriller; Seven Days in May (John FRANKENHEIMER 1964); The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (tv series) (1964-1968); "Jonah and the Whale" (1965), episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; The Satan Bug (John Sturges 1965); Seconds (Frankenheimer 1966); Our Man Flint (Daniel Mann 1966); In Like Flint (Gordon Douglas 1967); Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. SCHAFFNER 1968); The Illustrated Man (Jack SMIGHT 1969); The Mephisto Waltz (Paul Wendkos 1971); Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Don Taylor 1971); The Man (Joseph SARGENT 1972); The Other (Robert Mulligan 1972); The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (J. Lee THOMPSON 1975); The Omen (Richard DONNER 1976); Logan's Run (Michael ANDERSON 1976); Damnation Alley (Smight 1977); Twilight's Last Gleaming (Robert Aldrich 1977); The Swarm (Irwin ALLEN 1978); The Boys From Brazil (Schaffner 1978); Damien: Omen II (Taylor 1978); Magic (Richard Attenborough 1978); Coma (Michael CRICHTON 1978); Capricorn One (Peter HYAMS 1978); Alien (Ridley SCOTT 1979); Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert WISE 1979); The Final Conflict (Graham Baker 1981); Outland (Hyams 1981); The Secret of NIMH (animated) (Don BLUTH 1982); Poltergeist (Tobe HOOPER 1982); Psycho II (Richard Franklin 1983); Twilight Zone — The Movie (Joe DANTE, John LANDIS, George MILLER, and Steven SPIELBERG 1983); Gremlins (and appeared in) (Dante 1984); Supergirl (Jeannot SZWARC 1984); Runaway (Crichton 1984); Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (B. W. L. Norton 1985); Explorers (Dante 1985); Legend (Scott 1985); King Solomon's Mines (Thompson 1985); Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Brian Gibson 1986); "Boo!" (1986), episode of Amazing Stories; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (uncredited) (Gary Nelson 1987); Innerspace (Dante 1987); Warlock (Steve MINER 1989); Leviathan (George P. Cosmatos 1989); Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (William SHATNER 1989); Gremlins II: The New Batch (and appeared in) (Dante 1990); Total Recall (Paul VERHOEVEN 1990); Mom and Dad Save the World (Greg Beeson 1992); Forever Young (Steve Miner 1992); Matinee (Landis 1993); The Shadow (Russell Mulcahy 1994); I.Q. (Fred Schepisi 1994); First Knight (Jerry Zucker 1995); Congo (Frank Marshall 1995); Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan FRAKES 1996); The Ghost and the Darkness (Stephen Hopkins 1996); Chain Reaction (Andrew Davis 1996); Air Force One (Wolfgang Petersen 1997); Fierce Creatures (Robert Young 1997); Star Trek: Insurrection (Frakes 1998); Small Soldiers (animated) (Dante 1998); Mulan (animated) (Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook 1998); Deep Rising (Stephen SOMMERS 1998); The Mummy (Sommers 1999); The Haunting (Jan De Bont 1999); The 13th Warrior (John McTiernan 1999); Hollow Man (Verhoeven 2000); The Sum of All Fears (Phil Alden Robinson 2002); Star Trek: Nemesis (Stuart Baird 2002); Looney Tunes: Back in Action (Dante 2003).

Previously composed music used in: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1963), episode of The Twilight Zone; The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (tv series) (1966-1967); The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R. (animated short) (Abe Levitow 1967); Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (uncredited) (Thompson 1972); Kingdom of the Spiders (John "Bud" CARDOS 1977); The Dark (Cardos 1979); Game of Death II (See-Yuen Ng 1981); Supergirl: The Making of the Movie (documentary) (Peter Hollywood 1984); Star Trek: The Next Generation (tv series) (1987-1994); Omen IV: The Awakening (tv movie) (Jorge Montesi and Dominique Thenin-Girard 1991); "Caretaker" (1995), episode of Star Trek: Voyager; "Damien" (1998), episode of South Park; Behind the Planet of the Apes (documentary) (Kevin Burns and David Comtois 1998); "Small Soldiers: Size Doesn't Matter" (1998), episode of HBO First Look; Hollow Man: Anatomy of a Thriller (documentary short) (2000); Fleshing Out the Hollow Man (documentary) (Jeffrey Schwarz 2000); Visions of Mars (documentary short) (Schwarz 2001); Imagining Total Recall (documentary short) (Schwarz 2001); Creating a Myth ... The Memories of Legend (documentary) (J. M. Kenny 2002); Shock and Awe: The Return of Alien (documentary) (David Hughes 2003); The Beast Within: The Making of Alien (documentary) (Charles de Lauzirika 2003); Star Trek: The Experience—Borg Invasion 4D (short) (Ty Granorolli 2004); The Curse of the Omen (tv documentary) (John McLaverty 2005); The Omen (John Moore 2006).

Appeared in: The Omen Revealed (documentary) (Kenny 2000).

Previously, this volume has been negligent in its duties by completely ignoring film composers, despite their undeniable importance to science fiction films, and to all films. In a sense, however, this was a predictable policy because, more so than any other artistic contributions to film, the soundtrack is supposed to be ignored—in order to most effectively manipulate your emotions. Thus, if you find yourself paying attention to the background music, that is usually a sign that either the movie is awful or the music is entirely wrong for the sequence it is underscoring. Still, there is one conspicuous exception to the rule, a unique talent whose major works are both extremely noticeable and utterly effective, and the man who unquestionably merits the status of the greatest science fiction film composer of all time. I am referring, of course, to Jerry Goldsmith.

What's that, you say? You were expecting another name? Well, I'll mention that other fellow later, but for now, let me focus on the case for Goldsmith. His career commands attention, first of all, because of its breadth and its length. He began by working for television, contributing distinctive music to several episodes of The Twilight Zone, including his extensive, amazing efforts for the classic episode that entirely lacked dialogue, "The Invaders." After he had left the series, his music was surely reused in more later episodes than the one episode ("Nightmare at 20,000 Feet") that I happen to know featured his recycled work. He moved on to other early science fiction series like Thriller, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Man from U.N.CL.E., until John FRANKENHEIMER recruited him to accentuate the suspense of his grim near-future thrillers Seven Days in May and Seconds. He went on to a productive forty years of film work, usually at least one film score per year. But his first major triumph was his score for Planet of the Apes. As a teenager, when I saw the film for the first time, I was struck by the odd-sounding music that accompanied the opening scenes of the film, which was doing far more than the actors or director to convey that the astronauts had indeed landed in a strange, unsettling world full of grim surprises to come. He also had the wisdom to write absolutely no music at all for the film's final scene, fully recognizing that its stunning conclusion would have the greatest impact with nothing but the sounds of the ocean waves and Charlton HESTON's anguished scream.

Goldsmith then became a film composer who regularly received major assignments, including several of the big-budget science fiction movies that became increasingly common in the 1970s, largely due to the success of the Goldsmith-scored Planet of the Apes. But an achievement that really stands out is his score for The Omen. Watching the rough cut, Goldsmith surely recognized that, despite the high-profile talents involved with the film, it was in fact an execrable mess, and the only possible solution would be some unusual, and unusually prominent, music to provide the needed aura of suspense and excitement that the film so obviously lacked. Skillfully employing a high-pitched vocal chorus to great effect, Goldsmith triumphed against impossible odds to make the movie a huge hit, paradoxically just about the only film around that is worth watching solely in order to listen to its score. An awestruck Academy gave Goldsmith his only Oscar for Best Original Score and even, bizarrely, nominated a ditty from Goldsmith's score named "Ave Satani" for Best Original Song.

At this point, with statuette in hand and a track record of proven success, Goldsmith should have become the most sought-after film composer in Hollywood. Unfortunately, there was at the time a trite, bombastic, overemphatic film composer named John WILLIAMS who had teamed up with a trite, bombastic, overemphatic director named Steven SPIELBERG to score a few big hits, inspiring everyone in Hollywood to want their next film to have a John Williams score. In these dire circumstances, Goldsmith then became the man you asked to create a John Williams score whenever John Williams wasn't available. The first major sign of this sad development was Goldsmith's work for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. True, the film did have a few touches of the old Goldsmith, like the ominously low-pitched tones that accompanied the immense alien spacecraft V'Ger, and true, the film's rousing theme music was regularly used in later films and the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, becoming the music most closely associated with the durable Star Trek franchise. (Indeed, as additional evidence of his genius, consider how often Goldsmith's music has been reused by later filmmakers who could well afford to commission original work—so that, long after his death, one must continue to update his filmography.) But, for the most part, the score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was perfectly functional but unmemorable.

So, although Goldsmith would go on to competently score many of the most noteworthy science fiction films of the next two decades—including Alien, Twilight Zone—The Movie, Gremlins, Innerspace, three more Star Trek movies, and the zany Looney Tunes: Back in Action, his last credited work—the music generally lacked the magic of his earlier work. It is as if Goldsmith was surrendering to the limited expectations of his employers: fine, he seemed to say, if you want John Williams music, I'll give you John Williams music. But Goldsmith had shown, many times over, that he could do much better than that.

To contact us about encyclopedia matters, send an email to Gary Westfahl.
If you find any Web site errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to our Webmaster.
Copyright © 1999–2018 Gary Westfahl All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Hosted & Designed By:
SF Site spot art