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What are the benefits of an Isolated Score?


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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Roderick Gauci

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Posted October 12 2002 - 09:48 PM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Bernhard

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Posted October 12 2002 - 10:40 PM

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 Posted Image
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 13 2002 - 12:40 AM

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.

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#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 13 2002 - 03:04 AM

I think it's a fun extra...especially when the score is remixed to 5.1

#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Matt_P

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Posted October 13 2002 - 03:10 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted October 13 2002 - 03:15 AM

Quote:
Studios, please feature more isolated scores!!!!!!!!

It's become increasingly hard to partly down to the idiots who rip isolated scoresm burn the to CD and sell the complete score for profit.

Most composers actually object to the practice, Jerry Goldsmith being one of the most outspoken. Some crop up here and there, but there are now so many legal issues and costs involved isolated scores are in most cases a thing of the past which I find a great shame as I adore film music. Film scores are an asolute obsession of mine...

Dan

#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted October 13 2002 - 06:10 AM

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. Posted Image

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 13 2002 - 11:47 AM

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.Posted Image

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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Jefferson

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Posted October 13 2002 - 12:20 PM

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!
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#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Eric_R_C

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Posted October 13 2002 - 02:45 PM

Don't forget the "hidden" score on The Mummy (one of my favorite easter eggs, and scores.)
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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 14 2002 - 12:23 AM

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?Posted Image

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#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted October 14 2002 - 03:10 AM

Quote:
Don't forget the "hidden" score on The Mummy

People should note it's not present on the Ultimate Edition. It was removed at Goldsmith and his agent's request.

Dan

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 14 2002 - 04:13 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Bill McCamy

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Posted October 14 2002 - 04:26 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Jonathan Perregaux

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Posted October 14 2002 - 07:23 AM

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.
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#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted October 14 2002 - 08:54 AM

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.
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#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Jeff Koch

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Posted October 14 2002 - 10:20 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 14 2002 - 11:28 AM

Quote:
The score however is dipped in volume during dialogue sequences.


The same thing happens during the Tomorrow Never Dies isolated score unfortunately, spoiling David Arnold's excellent score. But I have the extended CD so I shouldn't complain too much.

The Matrix and Blade 1 & 2 both have very effective isolated soundtracks.

Beetlejuice and The Witches of Eastwick have nice isolated scores too.

Anymore?

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#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Jeff Koch

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Posted October 14 2002 - 11:56 AM

Anymore? Yes. Here are a couple sites with more info:

http://www.treuherz....res/dvdlist.htm

http://www.soundtrack.net/dvd/



Jeff

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted October 14 2002 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
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

Would we be talking about Mr Thaxton here? Posted Image

Dan


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