Jerry Goldsmith

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Jerry Goldsmith

Jerrald King Goldsmith (February 10, 1929July 21, 2004) was an American film score composer from Los Angeles, California. Goldsmith was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards (winning only one, for The Omen), and also won five Emmy Awards.


  • I admit it worked fairly well but my first reaction was to get up and walk away from the job, but I couldn't. Once you've heard music like that with the picture, it makes your own scoring more difficult to arrive at, it clouds your thinking. Later, as an inside joke, I included a snippet of the Strauss in the score-and some critic pounced on me for stealing. You can´t win.
    • Tony Thomas, Music for the Movies (1973), p. 209
  • The fact that certain composers have been able to create first-class music within the medium of film proves that film music can be as good as the composer is gifted.
    • ibid., p. 209
  • Working to timings and synchronising your musical thoughts with the film can be stimulating rather than restrictive. Scoring is a limitation but like any limitation is can be made to work for you. Verdi, except for a handful of pieces, worked best when he was 'turned on' by a libretto. The most difficult problem in music is form, and in a film you already have this problem solved for you. You are presented with a basic structure, a blueprint, and provided the film has been well put together, well edited, it often suggests its own rhythms and tempo. The quality of the music is strictly up to the composer. Many people seem to assume that because film music serves the visual it must be something of secondary value. Well, the function of any art is to serve a purpose in society. For many years, music and painting served religion. The thing to bear in mind is that film is the youngest of the arts, and that scoring is the youngest of the music arts. We have a great deal of development ahead of us.
    • ibid., p. 209
  • You read reviews by top reviewers of films that not only had remarkably interesting scores, but films whose effectiveness was absolutely enhanced, and frequently created by the music, yet the reviewers seem unaware that their emotions and their nervous reactions to the films have been affected by the scoring. This is a serious flaw. Any film reviewer owes it to himself, and the public, to take every element of the film into account
    • ibid., p. 209
    • On Goldsmith's irritation at the lack of response from responsible critics
  • It's nice to think about the Golden Age of Hollywood, with the big studios and their fabulous music departments and the hundreds of films coming out every year. But it's gone. In some ways the composer today is more fortunate, provided he can find a good film, because he can attempt more than he could two decades ago. Twelve-tone music was unheard of during Max Steiner's heyday, as were any other avant-garde techniques. Finally, the future of film music rests with the composers themselves. lf they take their work seriously and turn out the best that is within them, then perhaps we can persuade not only the public, but the filmmakers that good music is valuable in films. The public is not stupid. If our music survives, which I have no doubt it will, then it will be because it is good.
    • Tony Thomas, Film Score: The Art & Craft of Movie Music (1991), pp. 285–295
  • Originally I was supposed to do Grand Prix, but I was under contract to 20th Century Fox at that time and Alex North was supposed to do Sand Pebbles, but he got sick, so Fox preempted me out of Grand Prix, and to my good fortune, I got to do Sand Pebbles. It was my first time working with Robert Wise and it was a great experience.


  • Jerry Goldsmith is an artist who meets all the demands upon the composer in films. He communicates, integrates, subordinates, supports, and designs with discipline.

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