December 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Captain Scarlet  
Music composed by Barry Gray
  Available on Silva Screen Records FILMCD 607;
Running Time: 78.50
Crotchet   Amazon UK

captain scarlet

See also Thunderbirds

I won't repeat what I have already stated in my Thunderbirds review but truly Barry Gray is a composer who deserves widespread acclaim. And here at last is his dynamic, distinctive work for Gerry Anderson's classic sixties 'Supermarionation' television series Captain Scarlet, something I've been looking forward to for a very long time.

Just hearing his incredible Mysterons (the enigmatic alien adversary of Earth) theme with its quivering electronic effect gets the blood pumping; this motif is heard throughout the CD and the series itself, signifying a memorable menace with just a few pulsating notes. It may be a simple device but it works a treat, and even more elementary is the very brief but powerful bridging cue entitled 'Staccato Beat' which remains one of the most effectively dramatic signature motifs ever used on television. It may only last a few seconds but just in that short time it creates a vivid sense of anticipation and excitement.

Elsewhere there are many pieces that highlight Gray's penchant for combining melody and atmosphere, such as the poppy ''White as Snow', the militaristic 'Point 783: The SHEF March' and the rousing 'Fire at Rig 15'. And of course, last but certainly not least, there is the catchy, once heard never forgotten 'End Titles' song performed by 'The Spectrum'.

A feast for both nostalgic die-hard fans and for those who are just getting acquainted with the puppet world of Gerry Anderson. Even if you are one of those who dismiss the series itself as old fashioned and childish (which I would argue against) the music stands up in its own right. There is enough vitality, invention and outright charm here to impress and satisfy all but the most difficult to please.

You will do a lot worse than to be listening to this at Christmas time, perhaps slotted in somewhere between 'The First Noel' and 'Silent Night'!

Mark Hockley

****(*) 41/2

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