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  • Stefan Riedlinger

Link - Jerry Goldsmith - Soundtrack Review

For the last week of 2015, another of my favorite scores, Jerry Goldsmith’s “Link”.

The movie

"Link" is a 1986 British horror film starring Elisabeth Shue and Terence Stamp along with a trio of simian stars which consist of Locke as Link, Jed as Imp, and Carried as Voodoo. The title character, "Link", is a super-intelligent yet malicious chimpanzee (played by an orangutan) who lashes out against his masters when they try to have him euthanised.

Jerry Goldsmith worked with Australian director Richard Franklin the second time together. The first collaboration was “Psycho 2”, the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic “Psycho” based on the book by Richard Bloch. I will discuss Bernard Herrmann’s classic score on my blog in a few weeks, but I am still not sure if I also should discuss the Jerry Goldsmith’s score, it is a good one, but really not amazing movie music.

So, now “Link”: I watched this movie, just one time, when I was a teenager, long time ago, and I just watched it because Jerry composed the music. The movie is half a good movie, there are some great scenes in it, some very good shocking effects, but overall it is just an average one.

Elizabeth Sue is giving one of her earliest performances as a young student who supports Terence Stamp as an animal scientist. He trained one Oran-Utan called Link as his butler, and these scenes are quite amazing and funny. Link wears a suite and smokes cigars. The horror starts when Link should get put to sleep. Link now kills the professor and attacks the young student. In parallel, three of Sue’s friends are arriving and see the destroyed house. Link kills two of them, and then finally dies when Sue sets the house on fire. The final scene has a nice twist.

The score

Goldsmith’s score was composed with a heavy weight on the percussion set. He created a nice main theme that uses the rhythm of some circus themes and let this music played by The National Symphonic Orchestra. As John Williams likes to use the London Symphonic Orchestra, Jerry likes to use the other one. The score is not such sophisticated that it really needs this famous orchestra.

The score has 11 tracks and each track ends with the word “Link”, a funny idea, so we start with “Main Link” and close with “End Link”. Between that, we have different tracks that give us because of the different titles an idea about the plot and the change of Link’s personality. With Link’s craziness and violence, the music also becomes more violent.

“Main Link” introduces the main theme with some funny electronic effects that remind you of the Jungle, I like this main theme very much. This is a style of music that just Goldsmith can compose. With “Welcome Link”, we have a lovely track that reminds you of familiar music for similar scenes such as in “Poltergeist” of “The Burbs”, some electronic effects mimic the sounds of birds.

I found a trailer of the movie on YouTube, and you can hear the “Welcome Link” here:

And another one with more scenes:

“Helpful Link” is a nice track because of the various uses of the percussion here, you can feel that something will go wrong very soon. I like “Bravo Link” because of the string part at 1’02, this is such a nice way of playing the main theme. “Swinging Link” I remember is a scene that shows us Link on a swing, this track is also important for the later tracks because it features the music at 3’45, that will be played in the highlight of the score “Angry Link”, Link’s craziness become obvious in this track.

“Missing Link” starts with the percussion and builds up suspense, and then you have later some action when Sue, I think, discovered the first murder. “Peeping Link” shows some nude scenes in the movie, and Link plays the Peeing Tom. “Mighty Link” starts with heavy electronics, and then we have some action music.

The last three tracks are my favorite ones, I think “Angry Link” is one of the best action track, Goldsmith ever composed. It is fast, very rhythmic and highly enjoyable, this track alone is worth buying the album. “Flaming Link” is very interesting because it underscores the death of Link, and in the most suspenseful scene, Goldsmith steps back with the orchestra and just plays some tones played on a Xylophone, a great idea, and with “End Link”, we come to an end with the score.

Some soundtrack fans do not like the score because they think it is just a mixture of “Gremlins” and “Hoosiers”, but I have to say the music is again the best part of a lousy movie. I really like this score, and especially the “Angry Link” track is one of my most favorite ones. So, I hope you are able to get one of the out-of-print CDs with the music and enjoy this funny Goldsmith score.

I found two suites, here a very good one (with “Angry Link” and “Flamming Link”):

And here one with additional music:

I have to say Thank you to all my readers in this year! I appreciate your suggestions and will be back with new reviews next year. Happy New Year's Eve everyone and all the best for 2016!

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2015, all rights reserved. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Stefan Riedlinger.

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