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Basic Instinct (Complete Score) by Jerry Goldsmith (Review)

posted Dec 5, 2015, 9:36 AM by

In the history of film, there have been quite a few famous and extremely productive director-composer relationships. This list for instance includes: Steven Spielberg & John Williams, Alfred Hitchcock & Bernard Herrmann, Robert Zemeckis & Alan Silvestri, Christopher Nolan & Hans Zimmer, M. Night Shyamalan & James Newton Howard. I think that one also must mention Jerry Goldsmith & Paul Verhoeven. They only collaborated on three projects, but two of those, namely Basic Instinct & Total Recall were described by Mr. Goldsmith himself as some of his very best efforts of his long career and that is saying something.

When it comes to Basic Instinct, the 1992 erotic thriller, Jerry reportedly almost walked off the project. Yet, eventually Goldsmith wrote exactly what Verhoeven was looking for and the hard work clearly paid off. To me, this film stands as one of the very best thrillers of the 90's and it is one of Mr. Verhoeven's best movies ever. The film itself combined many elements: seduction, danger, elegance and sex. One of the reasons, to me, that this film still works so well, is the simply sensational music by the legend Jerry Goldsmith. After all these years, this score is still an absolute textbook example of what music can and should do inside a movie. This score is one of the film's key elements and it works just brilliantly inside and outside of the picture. Goldsmith understood how to complement the images on screen and he delivered one of his all time greatest scores. It fits this film like a glove. I know this score by heart and I never get tired of it. It is simply that good.

I was extremely happy when it was announced that Quartet Records was going to release a new edition of this score masterpiece. There had been two editions prior to this one, one by Varèse, which focused on the score's highlights and one by Prometheus Records, which was released years later. The Varèse album was produced by Goldsmith himself and contained about 45 minutes of music. It was a very good album, but it clearly lacked some great material, which was present in the film. On top of that, one of the scores very best pieces, “An Unending Story”, was not included as heard in the film. Goldsmith rewrote the ending, since Verhoeven was not entirely satisfied with the result. Hence it was changed and both director and composer were happy with the result. Yet, later on, on the dub stage, the decision was made to go with the version Goldsmith had initially written. However, Goldsmith's preferred version ended up on the original album. The album version was great, but many fans, including myself, very simply disappointed about including this version as opposed to the film version, which I still consider superior. I have seen this film many times and the final cue, just before the end credits start to roll, is simply phenomenal.

12 years later, in 2004, Prometheus Records, released a pretty much complete version of the score, yet it still did not feature the film version of "An Unending Story". Yet, it included all the missing material of the score and in chronological order. Yet, quite a few fans argued about the sound quality of this release. I don't think it was bad at all, but compared to the recently released version by Quartet Records, it was clearly inferior.

This latest edition, which is limited to 2000 units, definitely stands as the ultimate edition of Goldsmith's work. It contains the complete score, with the correct edits and of course the chronological film order, plus the film version of "An Unending Story", which finally saw the light of day. This fact alone made me buy the score again. I could not be happier about the new edition. The sound is great and better than ever and finally, this essential Jerry Goldsmith score can be experienced like never before. This is a two disc edition with the first disc featuring the complete film score and the second one containing the original Varèse presentation, plus some alternate takes. Besides those alternate takes, the piece “That's Real Music”, which broke the score's flow on the Prometheus album, was now wisely put on the second cd and it was the right decision to cut this piece from the film score presentation.

Jerry Goldsmith's masterpiece Basic Instinct has finally been given the best treatment. Like I said before, the Varèse album was great and Prometheus released a very good expanded edition, but this is definitely the version to get, if you love this score as much as I do. Film and score stand the test of time and Jerry not only delivered one of the highlights of his career, but also one of the finest scores ever. Furthermore, I would like to thank everybody that was involved with this new release. All of you did a great job! The sound and presentation of Basic Instinct have never been any better! This edition is highly recommended!