One of my favourite films of the 1990s and that I never get tired of watching is ‘The Phantom’. So an opportunity to listen to its soundtrack by David Newman wasn’t something I was going to let pass. LalaLand have certainly done a wonderful thing bringing this one out on CD.
Reading the 24 page booklet which has extensive detailed notes from the film also reminds how often the musical composer with one of the most important jobs to set the mood has often the less time to do it in. Here, Newman has not only to compose but combine music that will suggest the jungle but also that of 1930s New York and also that of ladies who fly planes and pirates and makes for a brilliant panache of adventure and relentless action. As understandable, the crescendo towards the end will drive you to want to see the film. The flute and pipes injecting a tenderness to the musical moment. The beats will hammer home something was going on even without seeing the screen. Newman points out in the booklet that it would have helped had the film kept some more of the romance going between the Phantom and Diana Palmer but some of which was exercised from the final cut. Then again, by this time she’s been swept off her feet more than once, including jumping off a plane onto a horse and probably needed to catch her breath.
With so many films incorporating CGI these days, ‘The Phantom’ is one of those rare movies where so much of it was done for real and it’s really sad that it might also be the last to fulfil the promise of the 1950s film serials that frequented the cinema clubs of that time. David Newman has managed to fulfil this in his score making for an outstanding CD that you will want to own and relive the days when the ghost who walks up behind you, chewing an apple might well be the Phantom. Don’t miss out on getting a copy.
(pub: LaLaLand Records LLLCD 1220. 77 minute CD 19 tracks with a 24 page booklet. Price: $15.98 (US). Limited edition of 3000 units. Note: it’s cheaper to buy direct)