Far Horizons & Secret of the Incas/Salter and Buttolph

July 7, 2013

far horizons

Hans Salter, when I was growing up, was a big favorite of mine because of the horror movies that he did with Universal in the 40’s with Frank Skinner. This was a time when there was nothing available except to record the sound of the movie by attaching a wire to the television speaker and copying it on my reel to reel recorder. Along with listening to Henry Mancini, a favorite of my parents, I began to learn how talented these composers were and the contribution they made to the film, actually making it better. Today, as far as Salter is concerned, I have lp’s that Tony Thomas released, a complete set of Marco Polo re-recordings from Morgan and Stromberg. By reading the extensive liner notes I learned a lot about Salter. One has to rank him at the top of the ‘B’ composers.

Far Horizons (1955) was a Pine-Thomas production and like PRC and Monogram were in the business of making the ‘B’ movie or second feature, something that was commonplace in the 40’s and 50’s. They were considered the second unit for Paramount and this film was considered a step above. This was the first film dealing with the Lewis-Clark expedition. Time magazine has given the film one of the ten worst film for historical inaccuracies. Starring Donna Reed, Charlton Heston, Fred MacMurray, and Barbara Hale it was directed by Rudolph Matz and was based on a novel written by Della Gould Emmons. However, I think if you’re reading this review you don’t care about the movie and your interest lies in the Salter score.

“Prelude/Virginia Reel” begins the soundtrack with a powerful opening melody expressing the vastness of the USA. The strings offer the melody with harmonic chords from the brass. Preparing for the review I found myself humming the melody which is one that you’ll hear throughout the score. The second part of the track is devoted to music for a reel dance, an English style melody using a harpsichord to give it that 18th century feel. “Minnetarees/Indian Tepee begins with the typical sounding Native American music complete with the tom-tom type of music. The second part is solo flute in the lower register. “Proclamation” has a majestic feel which is conveyed in a military melody before the prelude takes over. It concludes with a Native American statement. “Fork of the River” is another variation of the prelude or main title with a romantic/majestic line to it. “Separation” repeats the prelude melody before it segues into Janey another theme quite lovely in nature. This theme is used in several of the tracks. Bonus tracks include “Julia’s Minuet,” a French classical period sounding dance that was written in the traditional double minuet style aba. “Salter’s Gavotte,” is similar in style to the minuet. “Choose Your Partner” is a hoedown dance with fiddling and Jew’s harp, a typical sound that you might hear in a western setting. “To the Colors” is a solo bugle statement.

This mono release has good archival quality. The drawback is it’s not as full a sound as you might like it to be but except for minimal background music it acceptable.

Secret of the Incas (1954) was the inspiration for the Indiana Jones pictures and for this fact alone it has its place in Hollywood films and is worth a watch to see the costuming. The film featured Charlton Heston and Inca gold was the prize. It co-starred Thomas Mitchell, Robert Young, and exotic singer Yma Sumac.

To a lesser extent than Hans Salter, who did have an Oscar nomination, David Buttolph was a very busy ‘B’ film composer who did well over 100 films in a twenty year span for film and television. This score is a good example of what he was capable of. He seemed to be at home in science fiction, and home but westerns were his assignments on many occasion. “Prelude (Parts 1 & 2) begins with a fanfare and quickly segues into pounding drums leading the listener to the main theme enhanced with harp. A secondary theme High Andes written by Moises Vivanco,is introduced which is repeated in “Morgan’s Death.” The second part of the prelude is a bustling mocking cue with horns chiming in without notice. “Native Music #1” is an alternate cue and the typical Native American sound. “Elena Arrives” begins with the second part of the prelude, expands upon it and concludes with underscore material. One thinks of South America and their wonderful percussive beat in “Cocktail Music #2.” Written for small combo it sets the mood nicely. “By the Campfire” is overall a romantic track with underscore mixed in and is one of the longer tracks at nearly four minutes.

This soundtrack is in stereo, what remaining tracks there are and the sound is most acceptable. As is usually the case with Kritzerland releases it is limited to a 1000 copies so it is a good idea to act sooner rather than later.



Track listing


Prelude/Virginia Reel (3:17)


Minnetarees/Indian Tepee (2:02)


Proclamation (1:56)


Fork of the River (1:54)


Separation* (1:20)


Rescue* (2:33)


Cold Steel (2:05)


Won Woman*(2:44)




Bridal Tent*(3:21)


Dishonor (1:08)


Journey West (2:06)


Trouble Ahead* (2:16)


Easy Prey/Ambush (4:30)


White House*(00:41)


Finale* (3:22) 

Tracks 1-16 from THE FAR HORIZONS
Composed and Conducted by Hans Salter
*Contains “Janey” by Hans J. Salter and Wilson Stone


Prelude (Parts 1 & 2)** (3:09)


Native Music #1 (Alternate) (1:18)


Elena Arrives (2:11)


Cocktail Music #2 (3:39)


By the Campfire (4:12)


Dance to the Sun (1:40)


Pilgrimage (Part 2) (1:16)


Elena and Harry Quarrel (2:07)


Native Dance #4 (1:07)


Sunburst Stolen (Part 2) (2:44)


Morgan’s Death** (2:27)


End Title (00:22)

Tracks 17-28 from SECRET OF THE INCAS
Composed and Conducted by David Buttolph
**Contains “High Andes” by Moises Vivanco

Bonus Tracks


Julia’s Minuet (The Far Horizons) (1:56)


Salter’s Gavotte(The Far Horizons) (00:41)


Choose Your Partner (The Far Horizons) (1:17)


To the Colors (The Far Horizons) (00:31)


Tango (Secret of the Incas) (1:07)


Cocktail Music #5 (Secret of the Incas) (00:37)








2 Responses to “Far Horizons & Secret of the Incas/Salter and Buttolph”

  1. There is certainly a great deal to know about this topic.
    I like all the points you’ve made.

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