Film Music Review
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The Poseidon Adventure (1972)


Music composed and conducted by John Williams.

28 Tracks (Playing Time = 60:39)

Album produced by Nick Redman and Mike Matessino. Orchestrations by Alexander Courage. Includes the “The Morning After” words and music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. Performed by Renee Armand. Also includes “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” and “A Certain Smile” composed by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster; and “Give Me the Simple Life” composed by Rube Bloom and Harry Ruby. Music edited by Ken Hall. Score mixed by Vinton Vernon. Remix and sequencing by Mike Matessino. Edited and mastered by Daniel Hersch at DigiPrep, Atwater Village, CA. CD Art direction by David C. Fein.

La-La Land Records 1133

Rating: ***

Limited edition of 3000 copies.


THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE is the first big Irwin Allen film that most of us growing up in the seventies will recall either from theater viewing or from its many TV showings. The multi-star vehicle took a page from 1970’s AIRPORT with its familiar faces being forced into impending doom and looming disaster. John Williams reunited with Allen for this production after providing music, and great themes, for Allen’s 60’s television shows.

This is not the first time the score for THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE has made it to CD. The first was one of the very early Film Score Monthly CD releases. (Actually, it was the first FSM CD this reviewer purchased and which led to a renewed interest in film music!) FSM’s release consisted of some 36 minutes of music and was coupled with THE PAPER CHASE and music from CONRACK. La-La Land’s new edition claims an entire “stereo” presentation and is also sequenced a bit differently than FSM’s. The earlier release felt assembled more like a traditional soundtrack album but did not include the song “The Morning After.”

The sound on La-La Land’s release is a bit clearer, but this score somehow just does not sound as good as one wishes it should. Still this is not the fault of the team who reassembled the present release. The strong “Main Title” sounds great and the subsequent tracks lend a different dramatic progression in its original appearances. Strong cues really bookend the score coming first with “The Big Wage/The Aftermath” at the front end and then with “The Death of Belle” and “The Red Wheel” (shorter here than a similar named track on the FSM release).

The bonus for Williams’ fans will be the selection of alternate cues that appear. An alternate main title is probably one of the most atonal in the composer’s body of work. It takes a page out of his concert work and IMAGES from the same year. It is an interesting “what if” sort of take that feels more like a Rosenman score. The source cue “To Love” is included in this section of the CD rather than in the body of the orchestral score. There are also several versions of “The Morning After” and some source cues. One will need to re-sequence the disc to listen to everything in film order, but placing the source cues together is a wise choice here. One can also hear Williams’ giving instructions to the orchestra in one of these pop arrangements which hearkens back to the days of his own “orchestra.” The alternate section fills out 25 minutes of the disc with 7 minutes being alternate orchestral score takes and the rest various pop song arrangements.

Overall this is a strong release and a welcome one for Williams’ fans who were unable to pick up that earlier FSM release. Even for those with that disc this one offers some tantalizing looks into the additional score material Williams wrote for the film.


reviewed by Steven A. Kennedy , 4 May 2010

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Note: La-La Land Records currently lists this CD as SOLD OUT.



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