- Composed by Michael Linn
- La-La Land Records LLLCD 1099 / 2009 / 32:56
Cannon Films almost immediately followed up their attempt to cash in on Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Solomon’s Mines, with this sequel, even though the original didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. The cast – led by Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone – all came back, but veteran director J. Lee Thompson didn’t, which is presumably also the reason why Jerry Goldsmith was nowhere in sight. But his music was – much of his score for the original film is recycled here. Composer Michael Linn was on hand to fill in the gaps. Linn’s score is much less bright and breezy and rather more old-fashioned than Goldsmith’s. Indeed, if you told me it was actually written for a 1950s B movie then I wouldn’t for a moment think you were lying. He does incorporate Goldsmith’s wonderful theme into a couple of cues, but Linn has given it a rather stilted arrangement, removing most of its appeal.
The original score fares little better. It isn’t helped by a dreadful orchestral performance, or an extremely harsh recording, but those factors can’t be accused of turning great music into bad music. Linn was working in difficult circumstances – and ended up walking away from the film, leaving the music editor to track his recordings into the film along with Goldsmith’s. The music he did write is extremely cliche-ridden – which may well have been the right approach, since that’s what the film was too – but it doesn’t make for a terribly appealing album. Elmer Bernstein once said that he wrote scores like Airplane! with the intention of making them sound like an amateur had done them in his style; and there are times when the over-the-top music in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold sounds much like one of Bernstein’s comedy scores. The absence of any strong thematic material, and the fact that it sounds extremely dated, make this one a hard one to recommend. I can’t really think why anyone would listen to this instead of Goldsmith’s score for the original. **