The Black Hole – music by John Barry

The Black Hole soundtrackThis movie was always one of the high water marks of my then-young film consciousness, and even though it has a few plot holes you could drive a mile-long cathedralesque starship through, it remainds a favorite. It’s also notable for the fantastic score by John Barry, who brought a very dark and brooding sensibility to Disney’s controversial first-ever PG-rated film (in which two people were killed in the course of the movie – gasp!). Sadly, the album – which is a frequent item on the wish lists of fans of classic CD reissues – doesn’t do the full score justice. A few key cues are omitted – of particular scholarly interest to me, the cue underscoring the lovable Old BOB robot’s death sees the use of a cue remarkably similar to the theme from Barry’s later Out Of Africa score. And at least three cues on the album beat the main theme of the movie into the ground. The main theme is hypnotic and sinister, and very effectively suggests a downward spiraling motion, but when it then takes up several minutes in the form of the track titled “Zero Gravity”, it’s older than that thing in your fridge which has spent several years turning different nauseating colors and growing hair. On the theme’s first appearance on the album, as well as the cue “Start The Countdown”, it’s also interesting to hear our old friend the Blaster Beam, that grungy, electric-guitar-ish instrument which was heavily used in the first Star Trek movie score – released the same year. Barry doesn’t Blaster Beam us as much as Goldsmith did, but his use of it is just as effective. Perhaps the highlight of the album is the five-minute “Into The Hole” sequence, which covered the “flying through hell” montage at the movie’s end without interruption from 4 out of 4dialogue or sound effects. I’ve always thought this was one of Barry’s best scores, often unjustly forgotten, partly because, out of embarassment over the 1979 controversy surrounding its release, Disney has buried this movie. The album cover states that it’s a digital recording, not a common thing in 1979, but you’d think that it’s still ripe for a CD release.

Order this CD

  1. The Black Hole – Overture (2:19)
  2. Main Title (1:42)
  3. The Door Opens (3:30)
  4. Zero Gravity (5:38)
  5. Six Robots (1:54)
  6. Durant Is Dead (2:28)
  7. Start The Countdown (3:42)
  8. Laser (2:11)
  9. Into The Hole (4:48)
  10. End Title (2:29)

Released by: Disney Records
Release date: 1979