Soundtrack Information

The Challenge

The Challenge

Prometheus (PCR 505)

Release Date: 2000

Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

Format: CD

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Track Listing

1. Main Title 4:55
2. The Wrong Sword 3:50
3. Over The Top / Fish Market 5:20
4. Half An Equal 2:54
5. Lonely Road 1:57
6. "Let's Talk" 2:16
7. Interlude 1:02
8. "Can't We Do It?" 5:12
9. The Pit 4:48
10. Double Cross 5:50
11. Bamboo Forest 0:30
12. The Traitor 3:22
13. "Stay With Me" 4:25
14. "I Will Go" 1:20
15. Surprise Visitor / Forced Entry 6:17
16. "As You Wish" / End Title 5:49
  Total Album Time: 59:47

Review

by Dan Goldwasser
on June 23rd, 2001
[4 / 5]

Back in 1982, director John Frankenheimer helmed a film about an American boxer (Scott Glenn) who becomes involved in a feud between two Japanese brothers. This film, The Challenge, required composer Jerry Goldsmith to compose a dramatic score that contained plenty of ethnic nuances as well as exciting moment of action.

Beginning with the "Main Title", we are presented with a solo shakuhachi performing the main theme from the film, which is slowly accompanied by a koto and full orchestra. By the end of the cue, with the great use of soft strings (ala Poltergeist), I was hooked - this was definitely going to be a great Goldsmith score! It didn't help matters that the second cue ("The Wrong Sword") is a pulse pounding action cue, and there are plenty of Goldsmith elements that seem all-too familiar nowadays.

In fact, most of the action cues on this album rank stylistically right up at the top with Goldsmith's best action cues. In the same year as The Challenge, Goldsmith wrote First Blood, Poltergeist, and The Secret of N.I.M.H. - all of which seem to have somewhat similar genes stylistically. The softer dramatic moments in the score, such as those heard in "Lonely Road" and "Let's Talk" are emotional and moving, while maintaining the atmosphere of Japan in a contemporary environment.

There is something to be said about Goldsmith's work in the late 1970's and early 1980s. With such films as Alien, The Great Train Robbery, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Masada, Outland, Poltergeist, First Blood, and Twilight Zone: The Movie popping up in that time period, it was a personal joy and pleasure to hear another of Goldsmith's scores from that era.

The sound on the album is very good, and kudos should go to Mick Stern, James Nelson, John Beal, and (of course) Ford Thaxton for finding the original masters to this score, mixing them, re-mastering them, transferring them, and releasing them for us to enjoy. Prometheus Records released the score to The Challenge as a limited edition release, so you should get your copy while you can. You can buy it through Soundtrack Magazine or Super Collector. I wouldn't wait - this is an hour of music that is well worth getting!


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