Alien, cue by cue.


front cover of the soundtrack set

On his blog “Cue By Cue: Film Music Narratives,” Ed Chang writes about Intrada’s 2-disc official Alien soundtrack set.  He provides a handy “film sequence table” to help fans of the film and soundtrack suss out the various motifs and themes used to underscore the drama and horror of the story.


Without getting too technical, Chang walks us through the score, using the Intrada liner notes as a guide and pointing out a few things I missed.  Chang does journeyman’s work on his post and it shows in the details.

back cover of the set, with track list

Back in the entertainment Stone Age, before video cassettes could be rented and no one ever dreamed of Ultra HD, an Alien fan’s sole recourse for repeated viewings was to catch its run at the local theater.

And once that was over, well, it was soundtracks and the astounding clarity of the memory that served in its stead.  I can remember listening to John WilliamsStar Wars (yes, Star Wars, not ‘A New Hope‘) soundtrack on double LP, seeing the drama played out before my mind’s eye against the backdrop memory.

Heady days, those were…

I missed out on the 1979 20th Century Records Alien soundtrack LP release and by the time I found out about it, it was nowhere to be found!  So I soldiered on, with my battered copies of, respectively, Alan Dean Foster’s Alien novelization and Paul ScanlonMichael Gross‘ The Book of Alien to see me through.

It wasn’t until 2007, when Intrada released the remastered Complete Edition that I was able to play that old game of watching the movie in my head.

The alternate (or rather, original) music Goldsmith wrote for the film is interesting in that it completely changes the tone…

If you have not yet acquired this soundtrack for your collection, you will find it at Intrada’s website.

Chang built nice tables to showcase the tracks and chose some good photos from the movie.  While you’re there, browse his other posts, of which there are over 20 soundtracks listed.  I’ll be back to read about Cowboy Bebop (Kanno, 1998) and Unbreakable (Howard, 2000).

Have a visit and enjoy yourself!


P.S.  And if you are looking for yet another well-researched “completionist” soundtrack, stop by this blog post to read about Álvaro G. Plata’s Alien soundtrack remastered project.




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