Rocketship X-M/Grofe

March 29, 2012

 

Robert L. Lippert (1909-1976), producer and distributor of 100’s of pictures who Time magazine nicknamed “The Quickie King” beat George Pal and his lavish color Destination Moon to the box office and took advantage of their publicity and made this a very successful picture. The film is available to watch for free in the IMDB movie base http://archive.org/details/RocketshipXM   and is something I would recommend that you watch so you can hear how the various cues were placed within the film. The film directed, produced, and written by Kurt Neumann starred Lloyd Bridges and Noah Berry Jr. as it told a tale of the RXM (rocketship expedition moon) project that ended up on Mars instead. There are errors that you have to overlook or you’ll be disappointed. For example, fifteen minutes before takeoff the press is interviewing the crew. It is a fun diversion if you accept it for what it is. The liner notes, always a wealth of information from MMM, tell the story about the picture, composer, and the music far better than I could ever relate to you. I’m still waiting for (R-X-M-2) which is some of the final dialogue heard in the film indicating the possibility of a sequel. I’ll likely be waiting for a long time! Grofe, who is best known for his “Grand Canyon Suite”, standard fare for any pops orchestra, makes this somewhat rare appearance as a film composer. Those who wish to explore his works further will find many of his suites on Naxos 8.559007 and 8.559017 with William Stromberg conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The orchestrator and conductor is another well known name to science fiction material Albert Glasser.

 

The “Main Title” is a catchy one offering the melody from the brass with support from the string section. This theme is also repeated in “Palomar Observatory.” The love theme first appears in “Floyd and Lisa at Window” a perfect underscore for the romantic encounter. It is offered by a solo violin with string support and is also repeated in the “Tanks Are Empty” track. Dubbed into the soundtrack are several Dr. Samuel Hoffman theremin cues making for the sci-fi sound that was well used in the 1950’s and an instrument he became associated with. Considering the fact that Ferde was only paid $1250.00 the material is a lot better than Lippert deserved.

 

The transfer came directly from the Starlog SR1000 LP issued in 1977 and with modern technology being what it is there is an improvement in the audio quality although it is mono and should be classified as an archival/historical recording. There is no additional material to the best of my knowledge. Don’t expect perfection as you’ll hear little noises along the way. The sound appears distant at times but the overall quality is clean with distinct sounds from the orchestra and the theremin performance of Dr. Samuel Hoffmann enhances the overall score. It is not a limited edition unit so you can buy as many copies as you wish and considering the composer it is one that should be in your collection.

Track Listing: I’ve included two audio clips from the soundtrack.

1… Main Title (1:21)

2… Good Luck (1:53)

3… Stand by to Turn(0:50)

4… The Motors Conk Out (2:55)

5… Palomar Observatory (1:11)    main title rocketship x-m

6… Floyd Whispers (1:57)

7… Floyd and Lisa at Window (2:56)  love theme rocketship x-m

8… We See Mars (2:06)

9… The Landing on Mars (3:17)

10… The Ruins (3:10)

11… I Saw the Martians (1:02)

12… The Atomic Age to Stone Age/The Chase (4:59)

13… The Tanks Are Empty (3:37)

14… The Crash (3:22)

15… End Title (0:59)

16… Noodling on the Theremin (1:35)

Total Time is 37:16

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