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Album running time

1: Main Title (3:28)
2: The House (2:50)
3: The Illustrations (2:25)
4: Felicia (1:40)
5: The Rose (1:55)
6: The Lion (:51)
7: 21st Century House (1:56)
8: Angry Child (1:49)
9: Quiet Evening (2:50)
10: Skin Illustrations (1:22)
11: The Rocket (1:19)
12: The Rain (1:34)
13: The Sun Dome (1:24)
14: Almost a Wife (6:05)
15: The Morning After (2:00)
16: The House is Gone (3:46)
17: Frightened Willie (4:29)

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conducted by


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Released by
Serial number
FSM Vol 4 No 14

Artwork copyright (c) 1969 Warner Bros.; review copyright (c) 2002 James Southall

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Audacious, brilliant science fiction music

The Illustrated Man was a 1969 adaptation of four short stories by Ray Bradbury starring the late Rod Steiger who had to wear full body make-up for ten days continuously to give the illusion of being covered with tattoos. It was not a success commercially though critics thought it was a valiant attempt to make something different. Director Jack Smight turned to Jerry Goldsmith for the music and, as with virtually everything he wrote at the time, Goldsmith provided a music score unlike any Hollywood had ever heard until then.

It is the composer's fourth serial score (after Freud, The Satan Bug and Planet of the Apes) and there are certain parallels which could be drawn, especially with the latter, though here the sound effects are generally electronic rather than acoustic in nature. The film is episodic as some of Steiger's tattoos come alive to branch out into a different story and Goldsmith gives each of the three episodes within the movie their own distinct sound, as well as developing one for the wraparound sections.

The opening cue is brilliant: a female vocalise alternates with a very small ensemble highlighting woodwind and harp. The melody crops up through the whole score (and, indeed, is brilliantly used by Goldsmith to bind the episodes together) but it never sounds quite so wonderful as in the opening track, one of the composer's greatest creations. The next few cues underscore the movie's set up and Goldsmith unusually adds a sitar to his smallish orchestra, which is effective in adding the requisite air of mystery.

The first episode is scored with "21st Century House" and the proceeding two cues, in which Goldsmith almost exclusively uses electronics. They function almost like his electronics in Logan's Run a few years later: terrifying timbres are created to show that the future might not be all it's cracked up to be. The score's longest cue by far is "Almost a Wife" and it's also one of the best. Chilling pizzicato strings are joined by piano and percussion (think of the nonthematic material in Chinatown) before the score's most pastoral presentation of its main theme, performed by an alto recorder and, after a brief break comes one of the most beautiful passages in any score by the composer when his main theme is performed by violin accompanied simply by cello and harp.

The Illustrated Man will most definitely not be a score for everybody but above anything else, proves what an extraordinarily innovative composer Jerry Goldsmith was. In the first 20 years or so of his career, with virtually every new score he would try to extend himself still further. Above anything else, his music always had something to say - with the possible exception of Alex North, no other film composer has ever managed to write music that so perfectly accompanied its film and stood alone so purely as Goldsmith's work from this period. Those who know the composer only from his modern work would no doubt be shocked to hear a score like this, but fans of the composer's wider career will no doubt sit back in amazement to hear how wonderful this music is. The previous bootleg was shockingly poor (even missing off the score's most famous bit, the female vocalise at the beginning - and suffering from bad sound) and can now be discarded. Film Score Monthly's release is model: the liner notes by Lukas Kendall and Jeff Bond could be a textbook example of how they should be done; the stereo sound is first-rate; and the picture of Goldsmith with a goatee beard in the booklet is worth the price of admission by itself.