"Young Sherlock Holmes"
Disc 1- 14 Tracks/Disc Time: 33:36
Disc 2- 20 Tracks/Disc Time: 70:07
Total Time: 1 Hour 43 Minutes and 42 Seconds
Grade: A+++ (BEST OF 2014)
When you're on a roll, you're on a roll and that's exactly how Academy Award winning Writer/Director Steven Spielberg was during the mid-80's. After back to back blockbuster hits in "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" which created a great iconic character in Indiana Jones and "E.T." which was the darling film of 1982 and a symbol of the eighties. His production company, Amblin Entertainment was going through major successes with hit films such as "Gremlins", "The Goonies", the unforgettable, "Back To The Future", and the heralded Oscar darling in "The Color Purple" which really solidified Spielberg as the man in Hollywood. Now with plenty clout and power under his belt, Spielberg felt the urge to bring back to the screen one of literary history's most iconic characters in the person of Sherlock Holmes to the big screen once again. This time however, it would be a much younger version of the character and thanks to a solid script by future director Chris Columbus ("Adventures In Babysitting", "Mrs. Doubtfire") who penned both "Gremlins" and "The Goonies", "Young Sherlock Holmes" would be coming to the big screen during Christmas time of 1985. With unknown young actors Nicholas Rowe and Alan Cox in the roles of the younger Holmes and future, Dr. John Watson, "Young Sherlock Holmes" was taking flight under the direction of Barry Levinson, who had made a great splash with terrific films "Diner" and "The Natural". The film pairs the two at a school as roommates who don't get along at first (and always are at odds with one another through their personal genius which would go on through their adulthood) but ultimately have to join forces as a series of mysteries abound in their surroundings that involve an evil Eygptian cult that may involve one of Holmes' beloved mentor Professor Rathe (Anthony Higgins, "Raiders Of The Lost Ark"). While Holmes also figures out the true mysteries of love with Elizabeth (Sophie Ward) and forging a true friendship with Watson that would last forever in the literary world.
The film was not a hit when it was released despite some respectable reviews but also marked a bit of a down period for Spielberg as his wonderful series "Amazing Stories" would bow out after two seasons and "Empire Of The Sun" just didn't gel with audiences, but did introduce us to future Oscar winner Christian Bale ("The Fighter", "American Hustle") in the process. One of the more critically important elements that made the film better than most of this type is the exceptional work of composer Bruce Broughton, who was scoring really high with the hit Western "Silverado", which would earn him a well deserved Oscar nomination for his brilliant score. In the span of three years including this score, Broughton would go on to write some exciting memorable music for another beloved score for "The Boy Who Can Fly" and providing some a wonderful mock horror homage in the underrated "The Monster Squad", which was the beginning of a working relationship with director Peter Hyams (who co-produced the film) in thrillers such as "The Presidio", "Narrow Margin" and the comedy, "Stay Tuned" writing exceptional scores for each.
From the get go, "Young Sherlock Holmes" is just simply a masterful score that is perfectly divided into two musical acts. Disc One establishes early on about Broughton's exceptional musical intensions with the score's wonderful and regal themes for both Holmes and Watson ("Main Title", "Watson's Arrival") featuring sweeping strings and woodwinds that just tug at your heartstrings just a bit. Broughton also plays off Holmes and Watson's intellectual stand off with some fun material in "The Bear Riddle" and "Solving The Crime" and at the same time throws in a musical curveball in establishing a love theme for both Holmes and Elizabeth ("Library Love" that would get a beautiful full rendition of its own in "Holmes And Elizabeth – Love Theme" later on) which is interrupted by playful music for Waxflatter, Holmes' inventor ally ("Waxflatter's First Flight") that ends on a dark tone. "Fencing With Rathe" is a fun little piece that takes the score's main theme gives it full cheerful sweep as Holmes has a fun showdown with his much loved Professor Rathe that ends on a rather tender note with some chimes and percussion. No shortage of mystery here with this first half with Broughton foreshadowing the dark mysteries that are yet to come with the tracks "The First Victim", "The Glass Soldier", "Cold Revenge" and "Waxflatter's Death" that feature a solid mixture of the main theme and introducing some very dark and sinister percussive material in the process.
Disc Two is completely devoted to the rather exciting and dark half of the film where Holmes and Watson dig deeper and deeper into exposing the culpret of the murders that have taken place and the evil motives and force behind them. Starting with the somewhat brooding but suspenseful "Getting The Point" featuring a beautiful string and flute solo which repeats into a swirling melodic ballet of sorts leading to the dark chanting procession of "Rame Tep", which is loosely inspired by Orff's Carmina Burana and it's a great piece and a highlight and would resurface again in "Waxing Elizabeth". Broughton's music starts to get a little more frenetic and urgent with the "Rame Tep" theme causing musical mayhem in the tracks "Pastries And Crypts", "The Explanation", "It's You!", and "Temple Fire", that feature Broughton's deft and aggressive action material with rumbling percussion, aggressive string work and brass work. "Ehtar's Escape (Revised)" and "Duel And Final Farewell" are highlights of this score that feature Broughton's comeuppance as one of the best with this pair of terrific tracks that very aggressive all throughout, desperation also taking place with Holmes and Rathe having one final duel with the student now becoming the hero and the professor taking the fall into darkness. Thunderous brass and heavy percussion dominate with aggressive string work providing the perfect accentuation with a light coda finishing a tender reading of the main theme leading into the triumphant "The Riddles' Solved" where Broughton beautifully underscores the end of the film as the young Holmes and Watson are now the best of friends and crime solving partners in future Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries.
After a solid LP release by MCA Records in late 1985 (not recreated here for this album), fans of the film and the score have really clammored for an official release of this brilliant score that has been long time in coming. Intrada's unlimited release features virtually every scrap of the score that was recorded in good sound quality and filled with endless amounts of solid romantic energy that is sorely lacking in today's film scores. A majestic score that is revered as many other 80's film scores were that included the likes of "Back To The Future", "The Goonies", "First Blood", "Predator", "Die Hard", "E.T." and "Aliens" amongst many others during the decade. "Young Sherlock Holmes" stands very proudly amongst those great works and deserves the positive attention as well as enhancing the great reputation that it has garnered over the last few decades. A masterpiece! Thumbs way way up!