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Superman IV - who wrote what?

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My apologies if this has been rehashed to death, but I'm new here, and I didn't see a relevant discussion through searching the forums.

I'm trying to get a sense of what parts of Superman IV were written by JW and what parts were written by Courage.  Everything I've read has said that the score was by Courage, "with original themes by Williams."  Are these *new* themes that Williams wrote for Superman IV?  If so, are they entire cues, or just melodic/harmonic ideas?  Or is this just a way of acknowledging that Courage was scoring a sequel (to a sequel of a sequel) and was adapting some of Williams' original music in his otherwise original score?

 

The complete cue list on this page simply lists Courage as the composer.  IMDB lists the music as "Composed by Alexander Courage with Original Material by John Williams." 

 

If anyone has any specifics about who, exactly, wrote what, I'd love to hear.

Thank you!

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JW wrote the three new themes (Someone Like You (Lacy's Theme), Jeremy's Theme, Nuclear Man Theme), Alexander Courage composed the entire score integrating those themes as well as themes and other material from the 1st score.

 

If you buy the CDs of the score put out by Film Score Monthly or La La Land Records, it's all explained in the booklet.

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Just now, Jay said:

JW wrote the two new themes (Jeremy's Theme, Nuclear Man Theme), Alex North composed the entire score integrating those themes as well as the themes from the original score.

 

You mean Sandy Courage, right?

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Yea, JW did all 3 new themes, I updated my post

 

Quote

Williams himself contributed three new melodies for Courage's use: "Someone Like You," a sultry, sexy melody (recalling the swinging sixties work of "Johnny" Williams) for Mariel Hemingway's character of a young newspaper executive; "Nuclear Man Theme," a driving action theme for the radioactive villain played by Mark Pillow, treated in versions alternately dramatic and comedic, and—sure to be a delightful surprise—"Jeremy's Theme," a lyrical theme for the young boy who appeals to Superman to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

 

https://filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/390/Superman--The-Music/

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It should be noted that Courage did come up with a few original motifs of his own (there's a cool Russian one), but for the most part his contribution is the *incredible* job he did using Williams's material, as heard particularly in the cues "United Nations" and "Lacy's Place" where he juggles many of them very deftly.

 

 

 

Oh, and the album (FSM or LLL) also includes the three concert versions of the new themes, which I believe John Williams conducted/recorded himself. IMO every Williams fan should have this excellent score in their collections.

 

 

 

 

9 minutes ago, Richard said:

John Williams composed all of the score, for SUPERMAN IV. Alexander Courage orchestrated, and conducted it.

 

Nope. Not even remotely true. Williams did not write any music to picture for this film. Similarly as with Solo, he provided a concert version of new themes, and then the score proper was entirely written by someone else who made use of his themes.

 

From the original FSM announcement page:

"The Holy Grail for Superman music aficionados has been the completely unreleased score to the fourth film, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), for which Williams's themes were adapted by his longtime friend and occasional collaborator, Alexander Courage. With Superman IV being an attempt—at least at first—to restore the quality of the franchise, it was decided that all major John Williams themes would be used (where appropriate) in the new score. What's more, Williams himself contributed three new melodies for Courage's use: "Someone Like You," a sultry, sexy melody (recalling the swinging sixties work of "Johnny" Williams) for Mariel Hemingway's character of a young newspaper executive; "Nuclear Man Theme," a driving action theme for the radioactive villain played by Mark Pillow, treated in versions alternately dramatic and comedic, and—sure to be a delightful surprise—"Jeremy's Theme," a lyrical theme for the young boy who appeals to Superman to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

In addition to being the composer of the original Star Trek theme, Alexander Courage was one of the greatest arrangers and orchestrators for Hollywood musicals. That training came to great use in Superman IV as he adapted Williams's melodies into a powerful symphonic work, with imaginative and nuanced renditions of the familiar themes."

 

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/390/Superman--The-Music/

 

Yavar

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That's not how Solo worked, Yavar.  Williams wrote film cues for that one too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement.

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14 minutes ago, Jay said:

That's not how Solo worked, Yavar.  Williams wrote film cues for that one too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement.

Off Topic, but related to your post...

 

Did Williams write the Chewbacca Theme/Motif from Solo?

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Perhaps someone else may have documentation on that?  My question may have been poorly worded, but not necessarily directed at Jay.

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43 minutes ago, Jay said:

That's not how Solo worked, Yavar.  Williams wrote film cues for that one too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement.

 

This is news to me. What film cues did Williams compose for Solo? All I was aware of him composing was that concert arrangement The Adventures of Han (which contained multiple thematic ideas which Powell used throughout his score). And that's the only piece by Williams on the album. Personally if he wrote any cues to picture on that project, I'm shocked they would leave original Williams material off the album!

 

Yavar

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9 minutes ago, Hedji said:

Perhaps someone else may have documentation on that?  My question may have been poorly worded, but not necessarily directed at Jay.

 

Probably best asked in the Solo thread, not this thread.

 

3 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

This is news to me. What film cues did Williams compose for Solo? All I was aware of him composing was that concert arrangement The Adventures of Han (which contained multiple thematic ideas which Powell used throughout his score). And that's the only piece by Williams on the album. Personally if he wrote any cues to picture on that project, I'm shocked they would leave original Williams material off the album!

 

Yavar

 

 

I don't know which cues off the top of my head, but Powell explained the process is several interviews - text ones and video ones.  He probably talks about it in Kaya's video interview, not sure.

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35 minutes ago, Hedji said:

Did Williams write the Chewbacca Theme/Motif from Solo?

 

Obviously not. That sounds like Powell, through and through.

 

5 minutes ago, Jay said:

Probably best asked in the Solo thread, not this thread.

 

If the answer is somewhere in that mammoth 48 page thread, could you just quote/bump it for me please?


Yavar

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50 minutes ago, Jay said:

That's not how Solo worked, Yavar.  Williams wrote film cues for that one too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement.

 

I'm talking about THIS claim of yours, which is the first time I've heard anyone say that John Williams wrote anything more for Solo besides The Adventures of Han. What's your source for that claim? I assumed you were saying it's somewhere in that 48 page thread and I should go there for answers...

 

Yavar

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My reply to Hedji's question mentioned that thread, not my reply to you.

 

My reply to you was "I don't know which cues off the top of my head, but Powell explained the process is several interviews - text ones and video ones.  He probably talks about it in Kaya's video interview, not sure."

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5 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

 

I'm talking about THIS claim of yours, which is the first time I've heard anyone say that John Williams wrote anything more for Solo besides The Adventures of Han. What's your source for that claim? I assumed you were saying it's somewhere in that 48 page thread and I should go there for answers...

 

Yavar

 

It was Powell himself who told about this. The process was that Williams saw the film with Ron Howard and Powell, they spotted the movie together, then JW wrote the themes and worked on six cues that were sort of “demos” or temp tracks for JP to refer to. Here’s one of the interview where he speaks about this (around the 9:00 minute mark):

 

https://youtu.be/VvHXxGw4KwU

 

Powell says also he incorporated some of those cues into his own, but we don’t know what they are.

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Yeah I think things just got a bit confusing with multiple questions and replies going on at once. I've seen a number of interviews with Powell and nowhere in those does he claim that John Williams wrote any music to picture. You are literally the first person on any of the forums I've seen claim that, but maybe I missed something. If you (or anyone else) could point me to a specific portion of a written interview, or a video interview with a specific timestamp, which backs up your claim that "Williams wrote film cues for that one [Solo] too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement"...well, I'd really like to know what he's supposed to have written.

 

EDIT: Thanks Townerfan, I'll look into that.

 

Yavar

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1 minute ago, Yavar Moradi said:

If you (or anyone else) could point me to a specific portion of a written interview, or a video interview with a specific timestamp, which backs up your claim that "Williams wrote film cues for that one [Solo] too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement"...well, I'd really like to know what he's supposed to have written.

 

1 minute ago, TownerFan said:

Here’s one of the interview where he speaks about this (around the 9:00 minute mark):

 

https://youtu.be/VvHXxGw4KwU

 

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Yup I was already watching it when you posted, Jay (and edited my post to thank TownerFan). ;)

 

Well, I'll have to concede this fact since it comes directly from John Powell that Williams wrote "six cues" to picture, "some" of which apparently stayed in. I'll just say that, when I watched the film, I didn't hear any cues that sounded like they were written by John Williams and not John Powell. The closest might be the love theme (Lando's Closet) which has a bit of Williams flair, but in this same interview TownerFan shared, Powell takes credit for writing that theme (as well as Chewbacca's theme and the Marauders theme, by the way). For "Mine Mission" Powell is clearly channelling Williams, but there are enough Powell-isms in there that I can't conceive of this being a Williams piece.

 

I sure would like to see some of these actual written cues with Williams's credit at the top, or at least a complete cue sheet with composing credits for this thing.

 

Anyway, back to Superman IV, which *until* Powell at least was the best anyone had ever done adapting Williams themes into their own score, IMO.

 

Yavar

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The end of Dice and Roll is what sounds most like pure Williams on the whole CD

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1 hour ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Yet he's only credited for "The Adventures of Han" and "original themes" on the CD. No other cues.

 

Yavar

 yeah but unofficially he did the end of Dice and Roll.It says so in a cue sheet somewhere

 

Superman 4 : Alexander Courage composed everything based on Williams themes.  Even the new themes don't sound pure JW as they seem orchestrated by Courage (pretty obvious with Jeremy's Theme that it lacks JW's final polish)

Solo :Williams wrote Adventures of Han+ end of Dice and Roll . Sounds like it and somewhat confirmed by a cue sheet. Everything else is Powell

Chamber of Secrets. Williams composed the whole score  despite Ross adapting credit

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It doesn't sound like JW to me. The three pedestrian themes...yeah, I guess. The FSM liner notes were really vague and in my opinion incorrect actually assigning credits to either JW or Alexander Courage for each cue. It's obvious Williams didn't compose any of it aside from the themes.

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2 hours ago, King Mark said:

 yeah but unofficially he did the end of Dice and Roll.It says so in a cue sheet somewhere

 

Superman 4 : Alexander Courage composed everything based on Williams themes.  Even the new themes don't sound pure JW as they seem orchestrated by Courage (pretty obvious with Jeremy's Theme that it lacks JW's final polish)

Solo :Williams wrote Adventures of Han+ end of Dice and Roll . Sounds like it and somewhat confirmed by a cue sheet. Everything else is Powell

Chamber of Secrets. Williams composed the whole score  despite Ross adapting credit

 

So you're saying there's a cue sheet out there that directly contradicts that John Powell interview above where he claims Williams wrote six cues to picture and some stayed in the film?

 

Re: Chamber of Secrets...the LLL liner notes indicate that Ross *did* do adapting work. It may have been minimal as opposed to Courage or Powell, though.

 

With Superman IV, I think it's pretty clear that the three concert versions of the new themes were done separately from the rest of the score. Whether someone thinks they are pedestrian or not, those are 100% John Williams and they sound very different to when they are incorporated into the score proper (arr. Courage).

 

Yavar

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21 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

With Superman IV, I think it's pretty clear that the three concert versions of the new themes were done separately from the rest of the score. Whether someone thinks they are pedestrian or not, those are 100% John Williams and they sound very different to when they are incorporated into the score proper (arr. Courage).

 

It does sound a bit like JW phoning it in. ;)

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Thanks for your help, everyone.  I'll have to pick up one of those Superman IV CDs mentioned for the full story, but I think I've got a better handle on it now.  The La-La recording cover seems miselading, doesn't it?  "Music by John Williams;  Adapted and Conducted by Alexander Courage" seems to imply that Williams did the bulk of the composition for this film, which, from the above explanations, doesn't seem to be the case.

 

Thanks!

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Just some contractual thing they had to put on there.  There's more info about the release in the thread for it, of course

 

http://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?/topic/28508-superman-iv-the-quest-for-peace-2018-2cd-la-la-land-records-edition-now-avialable/

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John Williams only wrote the Solo theme, the actual score was composed by John Powell.

 

50 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Chamber of Secrets. Williams composed the whole score  despite Ross adapting credit

 

John Williams wrote 40 minutes of music, the rest was adapted and conducted by Ross.

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19 hours ago, Jay said:

That's not how Solo worked, Yavar.  Williams wrote film cues for that one too, on top of the Han's Theme concert arrangement.

Oh, dear. Now who's "not even remotely true"? 

I never said that JW wrote an original score, for SUPERMAN IV, @Yavar MoradiThe incidental music, that was used in SUPERMAN IV, was written by JW. So what I said was true...from a certain point of view.

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20 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

It was Powell himself who told about this. The process was that Williams saw the film with Ron Howard and Powell, they spotted the movie together, then JW wrote the themes and worked on six cues that were sort of “demos” or temp tracks for JP to refer to. Here’s one of the interview where he speaks about this (around the 9:00 minute mark):

 

https://youtu.be/VvHXxGw4KwU

 

Powell says also he incorporated some of those cues into his own, but we don’t know what they are.

Although it is not quite clear to what extent that influenced film score as a whole. It can mean he wrote entire pieces (actual film cues) or that he just sort of offered some very brief sketches with multiple variations on Han's theme(s) that were later incorporated into Powell's actual cues. I would be surprised if it was any more than the latter. People tend to generalise a lot in interviews. Some variations on theme definitely sound like Williams. But given that some variations on his own themes also sound bit like him it's really hard to tell which is which. The gang theme, for instance, sounds like something Williams might have written but it's not him.

 

Karol

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56 minutes ago, crocodile said:

Although it is not quite clear to what extent that influenced film score as a whole. It can mean he wrote entire pieces (actual film cues) or that he just sort of offered some very brief sketches with multiple variations on Han's theme(s) that were later incorporated into Powell's actual cues. I would be surprised if it was any more than the latter. People tend to generalise a lot in interviews. Some variations on theme definitely sound like Williams. But given that some variations on his own themes also sound bit like him it's really hard to tell which is which. The gang theme, for instance, sounds like something Williams might have written but it's not him.

 

Until the day we’ll hear to Williams’ demo cues, we can only speculate. I don’t have issues believing things went exactly as JP said and that he got input and perhaps even inspiration from what JW did. It’s surely an unusual collaboration, but considering how good the final result is, I think it was a smart choice from everyone else involved.

2 hours ago, Richard said:

Oh, dear. Now who's "not even remotely true"? 

I never said that JW wrote an original score, for SUPERMAN IV, @Yavar MoradiThe incidental music, that was used in SUPERMAN IV, was written by JW. So what I said was true...from a certain point of view.

 

Sandy Courage wrote the whole score, using Williams’ three newly-penned themes and also reusing and adapting themes and cues from the 1978 score. It was a job mostly of adaptation, but a very creative one, something that could be done only by a serious real music man like Courage. Yes, it’s an unusual collaboration for JW’s usual modus operandi, but it’s the kind of mutual effort that people like him and Courage were used to see during their time at Fox and MGM.

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At first I thought this thread was about none of the screenwriters who worked on Supes 4 wanting to take any credit for their contributions, which would be understandable given how it turned out.

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Superman IV is more “true” to JW’s Superman and the original themes than, say, Superman III, which featured more music not by JW more prominently - the opening sequence (Streets of Metropolis) most of all.

 

Two good albums, all in all, but for different reasons.

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18 hours ago, Richard said:

No-one is ever going to convince me that Alexander Courage - except where mentioned - wrote a single note of the score to SUPERMAN IV. JW wrote it; Courage adapted it. It doesn't matter if it came from SUPERMAN, or JW's ass, it's his music!

 

But the score doesn't sound all that much like Williams!

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59 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

But the score doesn't sound all that much like Williams!

 

It really doesn't. Harry Potter 2 sounds like Williams through and through, even if a lot of it is clearly copied AKA "adapted" from the first score. It still sounds like JW. Superman IV does not.

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