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  • Stefan Riedlinger

Jerry Goldsmith - The Mummy - Soundtrack Review

This week another Goldsmith score and another favorite one: Jerry Goldsmith „The Mummy“.

The movie

Stephen Sommers directed this action-adventure horror movie based on his own screenplay and established a very successful franchise. The sequel, again written and directed by Sommers, and again with Brendan Fraser has a fabulous score of Alan Silvestri, and the second sequel called “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”, directed by Rob Cohen, and with Fraser in this third appearance is unfortunately not as fun anymore as the first one.

“The Mummy” is a loose remake of the 1932 film “The Mummy” with Boris Karloff. Despite Dracula, Frankenstein’s creature, the Werewolf is the Mummy the fourth classical horror movie character of Universal’s classic horror movies. There is also a very nice “Mummy” version with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, directed by Terence Fisher, from the British Hammer studios of 1959.

With its mixture of action scenes, horror and a good sense of comedy, “The Mummy” was highly successful at the box-office and made $415 million. The action is sometimes over the top, so “The Mummy” works also a kind of a parody of itself. Some people were disappointed when watching “The Mummy” for the first time because the movie was announced as an adventure in the tradition of “Raiders Of The Lost Dark”, but Brendan Fraser is no Harrison Ford, and Stephen Sommers not a director such as Steven Spielberg. So, I think comparing these two movies is rather unfair.

The score

Sommers and Goldsmith worked first together at “Deep Rising”, also one of my favorite scores, and a great fun to watch because it is a highly entertaining B-movie that does not take itself too seriously. I attended Jerry’s concert tours in London, and at that time “The Mummy” was greatly received score among Jerry’s fan. Jerry was interviewed about the score, and I could remember that he said he had trouble to get into the movie and the characters. Keeping this in mind, it is really astonishing how good the score is, pure Jerry and pure film music magic! Imagine, he was nearly 70 years old at that time!

I found a live performance of the score, again conducted by Diego Navvaro:

Goldsmiths created a very bombastic and romantic score with great action tracks. He focused highly on the dark aspects of the score, gave a lot of Middle-Eastern touch, presented rude action tracks in a Bela Bartok style and gives us one of his finest love themes. The different usage of various percussion instruments is really enjoyable. As a good example, you can listen to track 9 “Mumia Attack”. I do not have to mention that Jerry’s score was again not nominated for an Academy Award in that year, again a shame.

“The Mummy” is a busy score, like “Total Recall”, but I enjoy this score more, it is more fun to listen, has fewer electronics, and the action tracks are ruder. Despite “Total Recall”, it also has a love theme. You can easily jump in Middle-East feelings with the first track “Imhotep” that introduces the main theme and also the choir that will play a very enjoyable part in the score. As I can remember, “The Sarcophagus” also underscores the first minutes of the movie with the background story. Track 3 “Tauger Attack” is one of the best tracks of the score, I love the percussion here.

Track 4 “Giza Port” is more lyrical while track 5 “Night Boarders” gives us a good mixture of love and action. I like especially the part at 2’30, such dynamic music was really seldom in the last works of Goldsmith. You have to listen to this music with your speakers turned up.

Track 6 “The Caravan” is another highlight of the sore because of the usage of the choir, highly majestic here. The following track “Camel Race”, a funny one, closes with a wonderful reprise of the love theme.

I found a soundtrack suite on YouTube that started with "The Caravan":

This score has also some tracks that are more underlying the violent elements of the movie, and I always skip them, one of them is Track 8 “The Crypt”, another one track 12 “Discoveries”. Track 9 “Mumia Attack”, I already mentioned, Track 11 “My Favorite Plague”, I also skip, even though I like the action part of this track, track 12 “Crowd Control” is very interesting because of the haunting choir, and with track 13 “Rebirth”, we have the longest track with eight minutes: a great mixture of haunting choir parts and action music. The following track “The Mummy” is underlying the final action scenes. These scenes do not really require sophisticated scoring, and therefore, the track is very rude, violent and musical brutal. These action tracks remind us of one of Goldsmith’s finest scores for Sean Connery’s “The Wind and The Lion”.

Here is a suite that starts with "Crowd Control":

The last track, “The Sand Volcano” is also one of the finest tracks on the score. Even though the music for this track is not underscoring the last scenes of the movie, Goldsmith, as far as I remember, put some of the end credits music into this track to bring this album to a great ending.

Some critics say that compare to “The 13th Warrior”, “The Mummy” is very similar and Goldsmith used a lot of the composing style also in this score. That might be true. I have both scores, but I have to say that I always have trouble listening to “The 13 Warrior” because the music is not so enjoyable like “The Mummy”. I also like the movie more, so perhaps this might be a reason, too.

In my opinion, “The Mummy” is still one of Goldsmith’s finest works, highly enjoyable and freshly in his musical approach. Because of the romantic elements and especially the various usages of different percussion elements, this score is one of my favorite ones and really amazing movie music.

I found on YouTube the music to the Finale and the Credits, you can hear that Goldsmith put this music in "The Sand Volcano":

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2016, 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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