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Mangold on Williams


Continuing the talk about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (here and here), see a great new interview with director James Mangold in The Hollywood Reporter.


There’s a lot about working with John Williams. Here’s Mangold:


But the other aspect that gets to your Richard Kimble part is that while John and I talked early on about letting the full Indy theme run in the beginning, I thought that when we got to 1969 and found Indy having lost his mojo, there’s no better definition of a character losing their mojo than they can’t quite hear their theme anymore. And so John immediately started scoring. I said, “I think you will be scoring a kind of ‘70s picture, a Three Days of the Condor,” and he goes, “I can do that. I am a ‘70s composer.” And so the movie then shifts and becomes more of a score of that time and less of the themes of Indy, until he gets to Morocco and puts on the hat and starts to find his mojo again. The theme returns with that. So it’s a very interesting flow that John and I trace musically. The movie almost ends up being a gigantic overture at the front and then a loss of that theme, and then a slow rebuilding toward the final reels when John once again lets the horses out of the barn, if you will.


That “’70s composer” material was some of my favorite that I heard in the theater and I was bummed it was not on the album. But maybe that’s why they skipped it, to focus on the more traditional “Indiana Jones” music?


That section of the film also includes this odd adaptation (or possibly a needle-drop) of the “Spyders” theme from Minority Report:

What a joy it is to have a new score to care about!

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7 commentaires


John Schuermann
John Schuermann
06 juil. 2023

It's definitely not the "Spyders" cue from Minority Report. The opening few notes and overall orchestration are similar, but then it does its own thing. You can hear that kind of pulse and snarly muted brass in the first Star Wars, Lost in Space and The Towering Inferno (among others).

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Maurizio Caschetto
Maurizio Caschetto
07 juil. 2023
En réponse à

It's safe to assume that the "Spyders" cue was used as a template for this scene. During the film you can also hear bits and pieces from War of the Worlds, Tintin and even a short bit from 1941, on top of quotes from all previous four Indy scores. I am sure all this was done on purpose to allow JW to have a more relaxed schedule and let him work on key scenes that needed more original music. It's not a big deal. This is a technique that lots of film composers (including people like Goldsmith, North, Barry, Horner and Bernstein) resorted to during their career when they were in a time crunch or when the film was kept…

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Maurizio Caschetto
Maurizio Caschetto
06 juil. 2023

In the song listing during the end credits, there is mention of a piece called "Pulse of the City" credited to William Ross. I have a hunch that it may be the '70s-sounding low piano cue that plays during the horse chase in NYC and it sounds a bit like a homage to The French Connection. It sounds so detached from the rest of the score that perhaps John thought it made sense to farm it out to a trusted colleague orchestrator. Of course Williams would be very capable of writing a cue like that, but to my ears it stuck out too much from the rest and it also plays strangely without variation throughout, while he usually doesn't stay…

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Maurizio Caschetto
Maurizio Caschetto
07 juil. 2023
En réponse à

All the source music pieces were identified and all are credited in the song section during the end title, so question remains about what Bill Ross's "Pulse of the City" is. My hunch is that the action cue for the horse chase. There is definitely a '70s Williams-esque Black Sunday vibe so it could be him as well, but as I said above, the piece (at least from what I could detect hearing it under a lot of sound fx noise) sounded a bit bare to the bones and quite detached from the rest of the score albeit on purpose. Usually in action scenes, JW catches a lot of sync points and enhances the twists and turns also by changign…

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