World Premiere Release of Bernstein's SATURN 3 Score (

By:Randall Larson
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Elmer Bernstein's score for Stanley Donen's 1980 science fiction film, SATURN 3, has been released by Intrada Records. It's a world premiere recording of one of the legendary composers' rare science fiction scores. Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett starred as a pair of lovers living at a scientific outpost on a moon of Saturn in the far future, whose life together is threatened by the arrival of a maniac (Harvey Keitel, his lines allegedly dubbed by Roy Dotrice) and his murderous robot companion.

"Elmer Bernstein offers perhaps his most complex score in distinguished career," said Intrada's Doug Fake. "Massive brass, divisi strings, array of woodwinds, piano, xylophone, harp, solo soprano, male chorus plus unusually large percussion section feature... The score opens and closes in an epic manner with dynamic brass fanfare. In between are mysterioso cues, virtuoso action sequences plus in highlight haunting music for 'Alex' that ultimately became wildly popular "Taarna" theme for composer's later HEAVY METAL score.

"The film was an extremely troubled production," noted Scott Bettencourt at (FSM had a hand in discovering the original tracks). "The screenplay was by acclaimed novelist Martin Amis..., and production designer John Barry (STAR WARS, SUPERMAN) was set to make his directorial debut, but, after conflicts with Douglas, Barry left the project, and its producer, veteran director Stanley Donen (a surprising choice to helm an R-rated sci-fi horror film) took over as director.

Interestingly, much of Bernstein's musical efforts on this score were deleted from finished film. "Elmer Bernstein's score was perhaps the most stylistically bold in his career," Bettencourt continued. "So bold, in fact, that Donen dialed most of it out incorporating orchestra and vocals, symphonic scoring and more modern styling, and a love theme that didn't survive the final cut of the film, so Bernstein reused it as Taarna's theme in his classic HEAVY METAL.

Intrada's disc is the first ever legitimate release of Saturn 3 and the latest entry in the label's Special Collection series. It features the complete score mastered from the composer's own recently discovered two-track stereo tapes. This is said to be the definitive presentation of a powerhouse score in stereo, complete with all soprano overdubs, percussion overlays, cues deleted from film, and more. The release is limited to 2,500 copies.

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