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Questions about the ALIEN score/sound mix


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#1 of 42 OFFLINE   cafink

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Posted December 05 2007 - 05:29 PM

I have a couple of questions about the various audio tracks available on the 1999 and 2003 DVD releases of Ridley Scott's Alien. I recently picked up the 2003 disc, and am trying to decide whether or not to sell off the older release. I know that a few supplements were not retained, but that doesn't concern me; it's the film itself that I'm interested in. I seem to recall reading in a thread here on the HTF around the time of the "Quadrilogy" release that the sound mix on the 2003 release was vastly different than the mix on the 1999 release. However, I've scoured reviews of the disc and could find no mention of this. I tried looking through the HTF's "Quadrilogy" thread, but with over eighty pages to go through, I gave up in frustration after a while.

I'm beginning to think that I'm probably misremembering, and that the comment I'm thinking of was referring to the original DVD's alternate "production audio" track, which was not carried over to the 2003 release. I'd appreciate it if someone who is more familiar with Alien could tell me more about how the two DVDs compare to one another with regards to their sound mix.

Also, could anyone give me a detailed explanation of exactly what the two alternate audio tracks on the 1999 DVD are? The descriptions I've read of them are a little confusing. For example, the Digital Bits' review of the disc notes that it includes the "original Jerry Goldsmith score, and alternate music with production audio." Later, the reviewer explains that these tracks contain "Jerry Goldsmith's original score to the film, and the film's final, edited score with production audio." Is the "original score" different than the one that ended up in the film? Is it an entirely different score, or just an earlier version prior to final editing and tweaking? And what about the "production audio" track? Does that mean it contains the audio as recorded on the set, without ADR or foley effects or anything? And what is the "alternate music" that accompanies it?

I've tried just sitting down and listening to these tracks, but I'm not familiar enough with the film to make any sense of them. I know many of the HTF denizens are big Alien fans so I was hoping one of them could clear this up for me.

I'd greatly appreciate it.
 

 


#2 of 42 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted December 06 2007 - 01:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cafink
I have a couple of questions about the various audio tracks available on the 1999 and 2003 DVD releases of Ridley Scott's Alien. I recently picked up the 2003 disc, and am trying to decide whether or not to sell off the older release. I know that a few supplements were not retained, but that doesn't concern me; it's the film itself that I'm interested in. I seem to recall reading in a thread here on the HTF around the time of the "Quadrilogy" release that the sound mix on the 2003 release was vastly different than the mix on the 1999 release. However, I've scoured reviews of the disc and could find no mention of this. I tried looking through the HTF's "Quadrilogy" thread, but with over eighty pages to go through, I gave up in frustration after a while.
Well there have been at least three, maybe four mixes of Alien in the last decade. The first two (a pair of Dolby tracks in standard 2.0 and 70mm six-track flavors) were used on just about every video release prior to the 1999 dvd. Now I do not have that dvd or the 1996 laser of the film (which was 4.1 since they used the 70mm mix) to compare to the 2003 mix, however to my ears the directors cut mix appears to have just reused the 4.1 track for the most part with some slight stereo imaging in the mono surround channel. Like many late 70's-early 80's mixes the dialog is not locked in the center channel because the sound mixers simply broke apart the matrixed surround information into discrete channels. So often you can't tell where sounds are supposed to be coming from since they have a strong bias towards the left and right.

Quote:
Later, the reviewer explains that these tracks contain "Jerry Goldsmith's original score to the film, and the film's final, edited score with production audio." Is the "original score" different than the one that ended up in the film? Is it an entirely different score, or just an earlier version prior to final editing and tweaking?
Like James Horner's later score for Aliens, a great deal of Jerry Goldsmith's score was ultimately not used in the film with some cues even being replaced by stock music from other films (notably the ending credits lifted from Goldsmith's earlier score for "Freud"). The 1999 dvd's isolated score was therefore the first time we were able to get to see the film with the complete uninterrupted takes of Jerry's works before they were cut in the editing. The other track is the final edited version of the score with pieces either simply shifted around, tracked with other pieces, or simply deleted.

I'm kinda sad they didn't try this with Aliens too, it would be nice hearing the original version of the Combat Drop sequence properly synched to the film.

#3 of 42 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted December 06 2007 - 02:07 AM

that was the real reason for me that I still hang on to the original Alien dvd with the isolated track.

It's simply very haunting indeed and the film itself is in the background.
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#4 of 42 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted December 06 2007 - 02:51 AM

It's also worth noting, if your considering whether or not to hang on to the older release, that the theatrical cut on the 2003 version is technically not the true theatrical cut. The 2003 version does not use the original Fox logo and Fanfare at the beginning. The reworked color timing for the "Director's Cut" also appears in the theatrical version. Some of the enhances starfields for the space shots for the Director's cut probably also appear in the theatrical version as well (If they didn't branch any of the other stuff separately, I doubt the did for that either)

I would also hang on to the older version for Ridley's original commentary. I believe that the deleted scenes are slighly different on the two versions (diffenent takes shown?)

There are also some cool easter eggs that give Bios of the crew and "Ash's Notes" on the Alien lifecycle
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#5 of 42 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted December 06 2007 - 03:53 AM

If the score for ALIEN really means that much to anyone here, considering how much people value that DVD with the isolated score tracks, then check this out:

http://shopping.nets....t.A/id.5613/.f

This is the COMPLETE SCORE, fully remastered with all alternates, now officially released.

Quote:

ALIEN (2 CD SET)

Label: Intrada MAF 7102
Date: 1979
Tracks: 47
Time = 1:26:20

Intrada 2-CD set offers world premiere complete release of Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack to legendary Ridley Scott sci-fi horror movie. Every note of composer's intense, terrifying masterwork appears in dynamic stereo sound from newly-discovered actual 1" multi-track session masters! Generous set has complete score as originally intended, all re-scored sequences & alternates, demo mixes showcasing unusual sounds of serpent, didjeridu, giant conch plus original 1979 LP assembly, also fully remixed, remastered! Deluxe booklet offers definitive behind-the-scenes look at score controversy plus track-by-track analysis with slates, scoring changes, recording dates, more. The final word on ALIEN comes courtesy of Universal Music Group, 20th Century Fox, ace album producers Michael Matessino & Nick Redman plus enthusiastic crew of Intrada. Remember: in space no one can hear you scream! Lionel Newman conducts National Philharmonic Orchestra.

DISC 1

The Complete Original Score

01. Main Title 4:12
02. Hyper Sleep 2:46
03. The Landing 4:31
04. The Terrain 2:21
05. The Craft 1:00
06. The Passage 1:49
07. The Skeleton 2:31
08. A New Face 2:34
09. Hanging On 3:39
10. The Lab 1:05
11. Drop Out 0:57
12. Nothing To Say 1:51
13. Cat Nip 1:01
14. Here Kitty 2:08
15. The Shaft 4:30
16. It's A Droid 3:28
17. Parker's Death 1:52
18. The Eggs 2:23
19. Sleepy Alien 1:04 Hear This Track
20. To Sleep 1:56
21. The Cupboard 3:05
22. Out The Door 3:13
23. End Title 3:09

The Rescored Alternate Cues

24. Main Title 4:11
25. Hyper Sleep 2:46
26. The Terrain 0:58
27. The Skeleton 2:30
28. Hanging On 3:08
29. The Cupboard 3:13
30. Out The Door 3:02

DISC 2

The Original 1979 Soundtrack Album

01. Main Title 3:37
02. The Face Hugger 2:36
03. Breakaway 3:03
04. Acid Test 4:40
05. The Landing 4:31
06. The Droid 4:44
07. The Recovery 2:50
08. The Alien Planet 2:31
09. The Shaft 4:01
10. End Title 3:08

Bonus Tracks

11. Main Title (film version) 3:44
12. The Skeleton (alternate take) 2:35
13. The Passage (demonstration excerpt) 1:54
14. Hanging On (demonstration excerpt) 1:08
15. Parker's Death (demonstration excerpt) 1:08
16. It's A Droid (unused inserts) 1:27
17. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (source) 1:49


It's so popular it actually sold out, but will be back in stock soon as it is not a limited edition title.

#6 of 42 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted December 06 2007 - 03:58 AM

hmmm very interesting indeed.

and another product that has Nick Redmond's involvement these days.

What's next ?
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#7 of 42 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted December 06 2007 - 04:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
I'm kinda sad they didn't try this with Aliens too, it would be nice hearing the original version of the Combat Drop sequence properly synched to the film.

I made a DVD (part of a whole series of them I call "film music highlights") in which I created a complete isolated score version of ALIENS, restoring every cue to its original place in the film. 'Combat Drop' is simply too big for the sequence on screen, because it follows the enthusiasm and spirit of the marines so closely that it comes across as too 'happy' or 'celebratory'. Perhaps I should 'YouTube' that sequence Posted Image

The percussion-only version of that cue works much better, and it's better than the drum pattern (a piece of stock music) actually used in the film. Whenever I watch/listen to it, I still wonder why the hell the editors butchered the score when it worked just fine.

#8 of 42 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted December 06 2007 - 07:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
If the score for ALIEN really means that much to anyone here, considering how much people value that DVD with the isolated score tracks, then check this out:

http://shopping.nets....t.A/id.5613/.f

This is the COMPLETE SCORE, fully remastered with all alternates, now officially released.
Whoa, I completely missed this. I guess Jerry's death was what helped Intrada break the red tape that has long held up an official release of Alien on CD.

Of course my 2-disc Memory bootleg has served me well enough in the past few years.

#9 of 42 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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Posted December 06 2007 - 02:01 PM

On the topic of unused/replaced cues from 'Aliens,' the only one I really wish had been retained was the more overtly heroic finale when Ripley finally defeats the alien queen. That one's pretty easy to synch up with the film, and it works like gangbusters. Instead, they just re-used the infamous 'Bishop's Countdown' cue from a couple of minutes earlier in the film.

Of course, that particular cue did find a second life when it somehow became the grand finale for 'Die Hard'!

#10 of 42 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted December 06 2007 - 02:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick H.
On the topic of unused/replaced cues from 'Aliens,' the only one I really wish had been retained was the more overtly heroic finale when Ripley finally defeats the alien queen. That one's pretty easy to synch up with the film, and it works like gangbusters.

When I made my DVD, I found that pretty much every cue synchronized correctly, making all the replacements with other pieces of score all the more confusing.

#11 of 42 OFFLINE   John H Ross

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Posted December 06 2007 - 08:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
Whoa, I completely missed this. I guess Jerry's death was what helped Intrada break the red tape that has long held up an official release of Alien on CD.

Actually no, it was the recent discovery of new master tapes and Intrada's budding new relationship with Universal.

#12 of 42 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted December 07 2007 - 02:33 AM

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Originally Posted by John H Ross
Actually no, it was the recent discovery of new master tapes and Intrada's budding new relationship with Universal.
Unless somehow Universal got their hands on the master tapes this would have nothing to do with them.

#13 of 42 OFFLINE   Dharmesh C

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Posted December 07 2007 - 02:49 AM

I thought it was UMG (Universal Music Group)?

#14 of 42 OFFLINE   Jay Pennington

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Posted December 07 2007 - 04:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick H.
Instead, they just re-used the infamous 'Bishop's Countdown' cue from a couple of minutes earlier in the film.

Of course, that particular cue did find a second life when it somehow became the grand finale for 'Die Hard'!

Not to mention dozens of trailers!
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#15 of 42 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted December 07 2007 - 06:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Pennington
Not to mention dozens of trailers!

No, 'Bishop's Countdown' is where the famous oft-used trailer music is from. The cue heard in "Die Hard" was the first half of the "ALIENS" end credit music, called 'Resolution and Hyperspace'.

The issue of Intrada having a new business collaboration with Universal is true however, especially since they were able to release complete scores (all the ones that could be located anyway) from the "Amazing Stories" TV series. Just about every big-name composer working in the '80s worked on that show, including Goldsmith, Horner, Elfman (whose score for "Family Dog" couldn't be located for that release) and of course Williams and his title theme and pilot episode.

#16 of 42 OFFLINE   John H Ross

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Posted December 08 2007 - 12:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
Unless somehow Universal got their hands on the master tapes this would have nothing to do with them.

Yes it would. Apparently the rights to the 20th Century Fox Records back-catalogue (which includes the original ALIEN album) fell to Casablanca Records when Fox records went under, and the Casablanca catalogue is now owned by Universal Music.

In order to clear previously unreleased music from ALIEN, any record label would have had to go through Fox (which is how Varese Sarabande managed to include some unreleased music on their 6-disc Jerry Goldsmith At 20th Century Fox box set a few years back) but to clear content that appeared on the original LP (and subsequent Silva Screen re-issue) they'd have to go through Universal.

Which is why both Fox and Universal are credited on the Intrada disc.

The same can be said for Goldsmith's GREMLINS and INNERSPACE. Both of those albums were released by Geffen which was part of WB at the time, but I believe that the Geffen catalogue is now also owned by Universal. So fingers crossed those scores will also see the light of day in the near future! :-)

#17 of 42 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 12 2007 - 01:34 PM

so, the laser with the family dog episode doesnt have the elfman original score?
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#18 of 42 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted December 13 2007 - 03:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
so, the laser with the family dog episode doesnt have the elfman original score?

The recent "Amazing Stories Anthology" albums don't have 'Family Dog' because they lost the masters for that one. As far as I know, anyway. Could be wrong but I'm not too sure.

#19 of 42 OFFLINE   John H Ross

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Posted December 13 2007 - 06:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
so, the laser with the family dog episode doesnt have the elfman original score?

These are the soundtrack CDs we're talking about, not the laserdiscs, DVDs or any other version of the episodes themselves.

#20 of 42 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 13 2007 - 07:10 AM

ok, does the the pilot so on amazing stories have original score?
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