Originally Posted by Greg David
I hated that era of film scoring so much. They sound even worse now. Nothing dates an 80's film like a droning synth score. I would expect it from a low-budget horror movie, but A-list directors were allowing that shit to pollute their work.
Then I'm sure you were as equally pained as I by Jerry Goldsmith's full nelson lapse into darkness. Hello, RENT-A-COP! As Taylor mentions, he had a glorious ability to overcome the drawbacks of the hybrid sound. I consider him the master of integration on this end. Of course, he'd been experimenting in that direction from the early 60s. I was gaga over RUNAWAY (myself just getting into keyboard use at the time), but almost all his synth only scores rub my rhubarb.
I think the problem, speaking orchestral vs electronic, was (and is?) the lack of ability of filmmakers (and certainly studio meddlers) to properly figure when one should be chosen over the other. The lean, and ultimate fall, into wall to wall synth scoring seems to me the inevitable result of the rise of "fast food filmmaking" (get it shot, get it out, get it on vhs, get the sequel goin!) that exploded in the 80s. We've all seen liner notes relating the ludicrously shrinking room given to film composers, both in time and money. The whole period did a tremendous disservice to both electronic and orchestral scoring appreciation.
Take CHERRY 2000. A good example where Basil Poledouris brilliantly meshes synth and a full-throated (Jesus, those horns!) orchestra to create a uniquely perfect score for the off-beat film. But, like Goldsmith, when you hit an instance where they went cheap (NO MAN'S LAND) you can feel his abilities being strangled.
It's on the fly, but I'm pretty sure Elfman's BATMAN was the one that hit me like the released prisoners at the end of THE WIZ.
I adore the Eurythmics 1984 music, particularly as a concept album. I even still have DoublePlusGood
on a cd in the car. However when I was finally able to hear Dominic Muldowney's lush and haunting score I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made. Director Radford notoriously hated Virgin's imposition of the Eurythmics on the film but obviously lost to the realities of filmmaking that are often lamented in the forum. Imagine my surprise when I picked up MCA's cheap and quiet release of 1984 on dvd only to discover the film scored properly with Muldowney's heartbreaking score (and stirring anthem, natch!).
As a hugerrific fan of both Tangerine Dream and Jerry Goldsmith, you can imagine how the whole LEGEND debacle went down in my tiny little film score fan world at the time.
Like I said, it was a dark and confusing time.
eta: Whoa. I gotta type faster.