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Editor's Choice

Best of the Month for August  

 

 

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (1988)

Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams

12 Tracks (Playing Time = 41:41)

 

 

Reissue Produced by Lukas Kendall. Digital Mastering by Doug Schwartz. Orchestration: Herbert Spencer and John Neufeld. Music Editor: Ken Wannberg. Scoring and Album Mixer: Dan Wallin.
Production Assistance: Mike Matessino. CD Art Direction: Joe Sikoryak. CD Notes by Jeff Eldridge.

Film Score Monthly Vol. 11, No. 6

Rating: ****

 

 

I believe John Williams is the best film composers working today and has proved himself time and again. One example from twenty years ago is THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST.
It was a significant recording in several ways.

As Jeff Eldrige writes in his very thorough CD booklet notes: "This was one of the first Williams soundtracks to appear on CD, and one of the last to be issued on vinyl [or LP]...
the CD soon went out of print and has since become
something of a collector's item.

The new Film Score Monthly CD has nearly all the music featured in the film, minus cues lasting about four minutes, and there are a few album tracks not used in the film.

In his notes, Eldridge has included a comparison of the film cues and album track titles.

The film is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler's book with the same title. In the film are William Hurt (playing Macon Leary), Kathleen Turner (Macon's wife, Sarah), and Geena Davis (Muriel Pritchett), who recived an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The film was also Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Scrrenplay, and Best Score.

In the opening Main Title (2:33), John Williams provides a two part theme which forms the basis for much of the score's later development. It is used to represent Macon Leary, who writes travel guidebooks. The main theme is introduced in full in Track 2 (Macon Alone, 4:42) with a solo piano (performed by an uncredited musician) and this theme remains prominent throughout the score.

There are several repeated tracks, as Eldridge explains: "The soundtrack, one of the last of the composer's scores to be released on vinyl, placed the the film's end credit music at the conclusion of both sides A and B, sequencing that has been retained for this reissue. The tracks are appropriately titled, "A Second Chance," heard on Tracks 6 and 12. I played the last track "End Titles (A Second Chance)" when I first announced the first Sammy Awards
on a radio program on WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts.

I still believe it was the best soundtrack album released in 1988. So I am very pleased it has been reissued in this beautifully engineered format and released by Film Score Monthly with their usual high quality production.

If you don't have this lovely, sensitive score by John Williams, it is well worth adding to your collection.

This is another exceptional score and gets the attention it fully deserves in this reissue.

Remember, as that track title says, you are getting "a second chance."

Don't pass it by.

 

--Roger Hall, 8 August 2008

 


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