What are the benefits of an Isolated Score?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Roderick Gauci, Oct 13, 2002.

  1. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a question regarding the Isolated Score feature found among the supplements in several DVDs. Even though I have a few discs which do have this extra, I have never actually played one yet.

    However, one reviewer mentioned that on the fabulous R2 DVD of Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS (1971), featuring Jerry Fielding’s Oscar nominated music as an isolated score, additional cues have been included. Given that STRAW DOGS already contains two separate Audio Commentaries, were I to watch the disc in its entirety, I would have to sit through the movie, as it were, for four consecutive times! Even for a film this good, I would say that it IS a bit too much!

    Now I know that Criterion’s SPARTACUS (1960) and Warner’s SUPERMAN (1978) DVDs (which I just watched last Thursday), for example, include additional cues as a stand alone extra. But are the cues in SUPERMAN also interspersed within the original score during the playback of the Isolated Score feature? In other words, are additional cues common to many DVDs which sport such a supplement?

    Although I do believe that a music score adds to the texture of a film when properly married to the images on the screen, I am not so sure about the benefits of having to sit through a two or three hour film in its entirety, just so you can hear the music (beautiful as it may be) on its own, without the distractions of having to follow the dialog or the story-line.

    I would much prefer it if more DVD producers would follow Anchor Bay’s example and provide the film’s soundtrack on an accompanying CD, as they did in their superb Limited Edition 3-Disc Set of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (1977), something I really wish they had also done for their Limited Edition of THE WICKER MAN (1973) and the Werner Herzog films scored by Popol Vuh. Or else, they might consider doing something along the lines of VCI’s THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963) and BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964), where Carlo Rustichelli’s scores can be listened to in full at a stretch over a still-screen. I believe Jerry Goldsmith’s score for PATTON (1970) can also be listened to in this way, albeit playing over the Documentary!

    So what do you all guys think?

    For the record, I am listing the rest of the discs (excluding Silent films, naturally) in my collection which feature an Isolated Score. Are there any of them which you would particularly recommend in this regard?:

    REBECCA (1940) by Franz Waxman – The Criterion Collection [2-Disc Set]
    NOTORIOUS (1946) by Roy Webb – The Criterion Collection
    THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) by Malcolm Arnold – Columbia [2-Disc Set] (R2)
    NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) by Bernard Herrmann - Warner
    DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) by Maurice Jarre – Warner [2-Disc Set]
    THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT (1965) by Krzysztof Penderecki – Image Entertainment
    GET CARTER (1971) by Roy Budd - Warner
     
  2. Bernhard

    Bernhard Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 1999
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Benefits of having an isolated score?
    Well...
    - Higher sound quality than CD (even 5.1 in some cases)
    - chronological order (BIG drawback on the usual soundtrack album IMHO)
    - the COMPLETE score (show me more than a handful soundtrack cds where every cue is present)
    - you CAN watch the movie while listening to the music. You might aswell turn off the TV.
    - You don't have to spend extra bucks on the soundtrack [​IMG]
     
  3. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,482
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Plus as a film music fan I can listen to the music cues synched to the action without interruption by talking or sound effects.
    North By Northwest is one of my favorite isolated scores and can happily watch the entire film with subtitles and just the music score.
    I find it a fascinating feature and wished more dvds had this option.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,521
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I think it's a fun extra...especially when the score is remixed to 5.1
     
  5. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2000
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bernhard summed it up perfectly; 5.1 surround, complete, chronological score. It also brings to the foreground the immense contributions film composers make to the cinematic experience.

    Isolated scores are a fantastic feature that does not get used nearly enough, due to legalities. However, some of the discs in my collection were puchased partially due to the fact that they have an isolated score (Final Fantasy comes to mind--great Elliot Goldenthal score).

    Studios, please feature more isolated scores!!!!!!!!
     
  6. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 1999
    Messages:
    3,452
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    207
    Location:
    Gresham, OR
    Real Name:
    Craig Beam
    To respond to the initial question (what are the benefits of an isolated score?)... probably not much, if you're not a fan of film music. Someone cited the NORTH BY NORTHWEST dvd a few posts back, the isolated score of which is by far the most gorgeous I've ever heard it sound. Also, in the interest of studying music's interaction and support of visual imagery, isolated scores on dvd allow the viewer to experience the music in context, which is impossible when listening to a conventional soundtrack. I for one wish ALL dvds featured isolated scores, but it'll never happen. [​IMG]
     
  8. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,482
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    I think the special edition dvd of Ridley Scott's Alien was unique in having two isolated scores, the other being an alternative isolated score by Jerry Goldsmith with some fantastic cues not used in the film. An incredible dvd.[​IMG]
     
  9. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2002
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    20
    Its great in musicals too,
    as in the "without vocals" feature on
    the SOUND OF MUSIC tracks.
    It let's you hear the beautiful orchestrations,
    and even sing along if you like.
    Uh...
    not that I have........
    oh HELL no!
    Do, a deer...
     
  10. Eric_R_C

    Eric_R_C Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't forget the "hidden" score on The Mummy (one of my favorite easter eggs, and scores.)
     
  11. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,482
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    And don't forget Ennio Morricone's soundtrack to John Carpenter's The Thing can be heard on track 2 over the 80min documentary.
    And Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack to Patton can be heard on track 2 over the 50min documentary.
    No need to buy the CDs of these films now.
    Is this thread useful or what?[​IMG]
     
  12. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 1999
    Messages:
    3,452
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    4,294
    Likes Received:
    30
    The main benefit to my mind is that it allows you to hear in their full glory the musical scores without being cluttered up by dialogue and foley effects. On many movies, that's not a big deal, but for those by important composers or scores that are particularly good, I'd like to hear every note, unencumbered by the rest of the the baggage. The loss of the Isolated Score on the Extended Fellowship of the Ring is heartbreaking.
     
  14. Bill McCamy

    Bill McCamy Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1999
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've only listened to a few, and not fully. The problem with a truly isolated score, compared to a separate score like the Patton second disc, is long segments of silence where there is no music.
     
  15. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 1999
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    586
    Real Name:
    Jonathan Perregaux
    I wish they'd present isolated scores like they did on the Apollo 13 disc. Just pop it in and it plays from the main menu. Press skip on your remote to advance through the tracks. Nicely done, no muss no fuss.
     
  16. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 1998
    Messages:
    2,920
    Likes Received:
    11
    I also enjoy isolated soundtracks. On several, Pleasantville and Fly Away Home, the composers also add commentary between cues. Although, for some reason, Mark Isham insists on speaking over the music cues, which is very frustrating when I am interested in hearing the music cue without the commentary distraction.
     
  17. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quote:
    "I think the special edition dvd of Ridley Scott's Alien was unique in having two isolated scores, the other being an alternative isolated score by Jerry Goldsmith with some fantastic cues not used in the film. An incredible dvd."


    Agreed. Unfortunately, the "Alien" isolated score was ripped by greedy bootleggers and Fox now prohibits this feature on all dvds. There are some film music CD producers here in Los Angeles that are currently lobbying the studios to halt the practice altogther. One producer has been successful. He maintains it just is not sound business practice (cutting into sales of CD soundtracks). I fear the isolated score feature's days are numbered.

    Jeff


    P.S. The "Hollow Man" isolated score is a superb example of 5.1 with a Jerry Goldsmith commentary. The score however is dipped in volume during dialogue sequences. Same for "Final Destination", a wonderful score by Shirley Walker with commentary but again, the score is dipped. "The Mummy" is presented in spectacular 5.1 and is undipped.
     
  18. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,482
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
     
  19. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    0
  20. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 1999
    Messages:
    3,452
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page