Total Recall (1990)

Book Origins

Total Recall (1990) Jerry Goldsmith

First released March 28, 2017

This is another score for which I had the hand-written scores on hand. The hardest part about obtaining permission was figuring out who owned the rights. Because the film was a Carolco production, it was difficult to track down the current studio that held the rights, since Carolco went bankrupt around 1993. As it happens, a French studio, Studio Canal, obtained the rights. After that, it was a cinch to engrave.

About Total Recall

Is it real, or is it all just a dream? This is the question that is at the heart of the 1990 blockbuster Total Recall. It combined the best parts of action films with mind-bending special effects normally found in SciFi films. Many point to this film as being the inspiration for the reality-questioning plot of The Matrix series.

Total Recall marked the first of three successful collaborations between director Paul Verhoeven and composer Jerry Goldsmith. Even with its energetic pace, the director doesn’t veer from the themes of identity lost and untrustworthy memories. The “dream vs. reality” motif is captured by the composer through the use of a tonally ambiguous melody which becomes the centerpiece of the film’s main title. The first few notes of the theme find their way throughout the score in various guises, which lends a cohesion to the musical fabric and allows the composer to sustain the drama with ease.

The theme is presented in nearly every possible way, whether fully, or partially, by every member of a very large, but typical, “Hollywood” orchestra. The acoustic ensemble is augmented through the use of three synthesizers: Korg M1, Oberheim DPX1, and the Yamaha DX7II. Goldsmith is able to blend the sounds of acoustic woodwinds with synthesized to such great effect that the theme takes on an otherworldly quality. In addition to the melodic content, Goldsmith uses the synthesizers to create new percussive elements that blend seamlessly with the percussion instruments of the orchestra.

Now musicians, music students, conductors – any music lover – can study Total Recall in this durable, high-quality edition, carefully reproduced and edited from the original handwritten manuscript.