"Lost" John Williams Score Makes CD Debut

Assume for a moment that John Williams has sold more movie scores on CD than any other composer, though Maurice Jarre, James Horner and Ennio Morricone are certainly contenders too. Williams has on his resume all the Star Wars movies, all the Indiana Jones movies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Jaws, Superman and Saving Private Ryan. He even has scored more obscure items like Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye and Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot. He has won five Oscars and has been nominated -- no kidding -- more than 40 times. Now, just imagine that this Elvis Presley of composers, this Beatles of composers, has had one major composition that was never released on CD. That would be like, say Rubber Soul or From Elvis in Memphis being unavailable.

It's true. There's one elusive score in Williams' impressive discography that has previously escaped collectors, until now. It's understandable that the score for John Frankenheimer's thriller Black Sunday might have disappeared in that watershed year of 1977, when Williams also composed Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Now Film Score Monthly has announced the official release, available for order through their website. This is a limited release of only 10,000 copies, and the site warns against waiting. The CD runs 64 minutes and features the complete score in chronological order, plus some outtakes. There are audio samples available on the site, and it's a wonderfully ominous, suspenseful score, far more controlled than some of Williams' later works.

Black Sunday -- not to be confused with Mario Bava's great 1960 horror film -- tells the story of a potential terrorist attack using a blimp over the Super Bowl stadium. It was a high profile film, starring Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern and adapted from a novel by Thomas Harris; it was expected to be the next Jaws, but instead it was quickly eclipsed by Star Wars. Variety reported that: "John Frankenheimer's film of Black Sunday is an intelligent and meticulous depiction of an act of outlandish terrorism - the planned slaughter of the Super Bowl stadium audience. Strong scripting and performances elevate Robert Evans' handsome production far above the crass exploitation level."