Intrada Special Collection Vol.280
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 74:54
Grade: A- (BEST OF 2014)
Throughout the 1970's and into the early 1980's, Walt Disney Pictures was straying away from the animation realm for a little while to develop more adult oriented films that also kept a family friendly atmosphere. With the much revered "Tron" about a year away from release along with their co-production of "Dragonslayer", Disney had another film in their midst that was based on a true story that wasn't two years old. That movie was "Night Crossing" starring John Hurt and Beau Bridges which took place in 1979 in which two men one named Peter Strelzyk (Hurt, "Alien") and Guenter Wetzel (Bridges, "The Millers") plan an escape for themselves and their own families (Jane Alexander, Glynnis O'Connor, Doug McKeon) from East Germany which was under Communist rule, but they will only go if they can take their families with them. They hatch a plan that involves a giant hot aired balloon which is big enough for both families to fit and with time running out, both men on the night of September 15, 1979, attempted to defect to the West in which they made it across the border to the Western side to freedom along with their families. The film was released in early 1982 and has been a bit obscure for the last few decades other than a letterboxed European DVD of the film which is still available.
What has kept the film in somewhat of a curious mind, is the great stellar work of the late Oscar Winner Jerry Goldsmith, who at the time was going through one of his most creative, muscular and unique periods of his career. Goldsmith was riding high off his well deserved Oscar win for "The Omen" and was really great period that featured his most memorable works that include "Masada", "Coma", "Capricorn One", "The Great Train Robbery", "Outland", "The Boys From Brazil", "Damien: Omen 2", "The Final Conflict" with 1982 being his strongest year ever with the likes of the Oscar nominated "Poltergeist", the war drama "Inchon", the brilliant action scores to "The Challenge" and what would become the unforgettable Rambo trilogy, "First Blood." "Night Crossing" is one of Goldsmith's strongest not only muscular, but very dramatic ones as well. A score that shows the great talents of this amazing composer who was very dynamic and possessed the talents to make bad films that much better.
Goldsmith's score has a militaristic approach that is both muscular and energetic that opens with the striking percussion rumbles of "Main Title Part 1" and "Main Title Part 2" which is quite similar to his memorable opening from "Capricorn One" only more developed and musically fierce. The majority of the score takes their cue from this memorable opening which is the score's main theme highlighted by the tracks that include "All In Vain" which introduces some mysterioso woodwind effects into the mix, the subtle and upbeat suspense of "Plans", the rhythmic suspense of "Too Much Work" and "No Time To Wait", which the track that is the major build up to Goldsmith's memorable material for the escape in "Final Flight", which is a lengthy and dynamic track that keeps building and building through Goldsmith's excellent mixing and matching of the muscular action and that of hope material and "into The West (Revised). Goldsmith also wrote some tender material and theme for the families through the use of an accordion to lighten up the mood as evidenced in the joyous moods of "Picnic", "First Test", "Success" and "Tomorrow We Go", which gives you a upbeat feeling that you're going to root for these families to make it to freedom with Goldsmith's music leading that way.
This CD represents the third and most likely final release of this terrific score by Intrada Records which originally released the soundtrack for the first time in 1987 and then expanded it six years later which then became a very sought after collector's item amongst fans of the composer as well as well received soundtrack. This release is the definitive version of the soundtrack and what a great reissue it is! "Night Crossing" scores a well deserved enthusastic thumbs up!