For all you Morton Stevens fans out there....

by ringfire211 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:15 pm

Here's the opening clip from the KNIGHT RIDER episode "Deadly Maneuvers" (season 1, episode 3 - actually it's the very first episode after the 2-hour pilot) which was scored by none other than Morton Stevens! This is the ONLY episode of the show (my favorite show when I was a kid) that he scored. It's actually a bit odd that they got him to score an episode because in the show's 4-season run there were only 2 composers - Stu Phillips (who came up with the iconic main theme and scored a few of the early episodes) and Don Peake (who took over from Phillips midway through season 1 and scored every single episode until the show's end). The show never used outside or "guest" composers the way the old Five-O or some other shows sometimes did. Well, I guess Morton Stevens was the exception - the only "guest" composer.

If you listen to the score and just close your eyes you can almost imagine you're watching an episode of Five-O. It has that distinct Morton Stevens sound that he used all the time on Five-O. It certainly doesn't have the KNIGHT RIDER sound which was much more reliant on synthesizers (especially Don Peake's scores). Still, it's an interesting deviation from the norm and is certainly effective in setting the sinister and suspenseful mood during those night-time shots at the army base. And it's a particularly special treat for a Morton Stevens fan like myself!

Here it is:


EDIT: Oh, and Alan Oppenheimer guest stars in this episode. What a coincidence! Mr. Mike just created a thread about him. Also the director is Paul Stanley who directed a bunch of Five-O episodes, including my favorite "Rest in Peace, Somebody"! So there's quite a few connections to Five-O here.

by H50 1.0 FOREVER » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:56 am

Fantastic find! Absolutely, each composer has his own "fingerprint," as it were. Bernard Herrmann (most of the Alfred Hitchcock movies) is Bernard Herrmann. Don B. Ray (H50 music director) is Don B. Ray. Morton Stevens is Morton Stevens.
Among the current-day composers, Jeff Beal (the Jesse Stone movies) is my favorite. I think it is for two reasons: First, he captures Jesse's emotional depression to perfection. Second, he relies heavily on piano and the woodwinds. I play the piano parts on my desk along with him (would love to have the sheet music) and love the woodwinds.

by ringfire211 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:59 pm

Absolutely! Herrmann for sure. But also Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Hans Zimmer. You just instantly know when you're hearing their scores. They just have that sound! Sometimes it's hard to explain it but each of these composers just have their own stamp, be it the instruments they use or just the overall theme of their music. Like Morricone who tends to have these operatic scores or Barry who goes for the sweeping romantic sound.

by H50 1.0 FOREVER » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:07 am


by Mr. Mike » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:00 am

Yes, Ringfire, another composer whose sound I can instantly recognize is Maurice Jarre, because it is typically crap -- the amateurish harmonies and bizarre orchestration which sometimes sounds like they are using garbage-can lids for instruments, LOL.

But there is actually a composer worse than Jarre named Gill Mellé. This guy wrote hardly any film scores, but one of them was the Andromeda Strain. For some reason, when I was listening to some film with a score by this guy, though I knew nothing about this composer, I kept thinking "this sounds like it was composed by Gil Mellé." And it was!

by ringfire211 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:51 pm

Lol, your love for Maurice Jarre is duly noted. Of course I consider myself a fan of his though I'm not quite sure what I'd say his stamp is. His LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO scores both accompany grand epic period pieces and I suppose they have some similarities but also some differences. Both have a great romantic sweep but LAWRENCE also has its share of grand bombast. But if you look at his work on WITNESS and NO WAY OUT both rely on synthesizers a great deal and have nothing in common with LAWRENCE and ZHIVAGO. I suppose that means Jarre is more varied? More eclectic? If anything that's a compliment!