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Music of quality

Gerard Schurmann's score for
'The Lost Continent'

GDI Records    GDICD015

The Lost Continent - original motion picture soundtrack. © 2000 GDI Records


This is a very curious compilation, and I find it difficult to see quite what audience is perceived to be its target. Does anyone actually remember a low-budget Hammer film called The Lost Continent? It's one that escaped me, though I used to enjoy the same company's succession of horror films of the sixties era. Are there people out there who absolutely must have every film soundtrack ever issued? Certainly, the target audience does not seem to be serious musicians, given the lurid booklet with its vacuous and patronising text. This begins with words from one of the film's 'stars', Suzanna Leigh, (whom I also cannot recall), who reminisces about the film without ever mentioning its music, and then goes on, unashamedly, to plug her autobiography, assuring us that we will adore it, since it will make our dreams come true (!)

That said, what do we hear? [Listen -- track 1, 3:16-4:17] An original soudtrack that claims to have been restored and digitally remastered. If so, the sound still comes to us very much 'through a glass darkly'. It is scrawny and restricted. I have recently been listening to a pile of pre-war classical recordings, and they come up a great deal clearer and fresher than this. Worse, the music itself is far from well-played. This is something that might not be so obvious in the context of dialogue and action, but it is sometimes painful here.

So is all this a complete waste of time? Well, actually, no, for what we can discern of Gerard Schurmann's score reveals some genuine music of skill and imagination [listen -- track 23, 0:59-1:59]. It is highly evocative, both in violent action and in repose. Our 'must have' soundtrack collectors will, however, find much of it rather hard-going, in its violence and dissonance, but when, insofar as one is able, one matches track to described action, it is unfailingly apt, and worthy of better treatment than it receives here. Incidentally, Schurmann is not guilty of the execrable (and, in those days, ubiquitous) title song, which, to be kind, is a far cry from Shirley Bassey's entrancing Goldfinger of a similar era.

If this disc achieves anything worthwhile, it is that the serious listener is likely to be eager to explore Gerard Schurmann's music further. It is music of quality, and there must surely be much more that should be heard, and is not. I am sure that, if the music here had been re-recorded by a quality orchestra, in decent sound, it would have attracted far more attention than I fear it will.


Copyright © 8 June 2002 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK



The Lost Continent - original 1968 motion picture soundtrack

GDICD015 Stereo COMPILATION 64'49" 2000 GDI Records

Score by Gerard Schurmann; Orchestra conducted by Philip Martell; Songs by Roy Phillips, performed by The Peddlers
Overture; Main title: The Lost Continent / The Corita; Eva Struggles with Ricaldi / Eva; Mutiny; Explosives; Abandon Ship!; Lifeboat / Rowing / Eva and Lansen (original full-length version); Shark! / Webster's Demise; Carnivorous Seaweed / Death of Hurri Curri; Fouled Propellor / Adrift; The Cephalopod / Ricaldi's Doom; The Sargasso Sea / Mysterious Figures; Sarah's Rescue / Repel Boarders!; Execution; Misunderstanding / Memories (original full-length version); Searching for Sarah / The Island; The Cave (original unused version); Pat's Death / Dance of the Duelling Monsters; Weed Attack / Captured by Spaniards; The Galleon / The Inquisitor / Rescue of the Crew (original full-length version); Battle with the Spaniards; The Burning Weed / Return to the Corita; Finale and End Titles; Eva and Lansen (revised version); Memories (revised version); The Lost Continent (alternate version); The Lost Continent (alternate version) Take 15; Composer Gerard Schurmann discusses The Lost Continent score






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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews