The music of IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA

When people in the film music industry learned that we would be recording Mischa Bakaleinikoff's music for It Came From Beneath The Sea, practically everyone, including composers who knew Bakaleinikoff personally, responded, “You mean he actually wrote music?”  Bakaleinikoff was thought to have compiled scores by re-using cues from other pictures, a standard Hollywood practice known as “tracking,” and in fact his credit on It Came From Beneath The Sea merely reads:  “Music Conducted By.”  While music from prior films was used in many of Columbia’s lower-budget films, Bakaleinikoff often composed much original material for them, and his “sound” became an indelible part of that studio's output. 

Bakaleinikoff rarely, if ever, wrote complete scores, instead composing bridges to link the tracked cues, but he also contributed much main thematic material, and his music plays an important role in the Harryhausen films Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles To Earth, as well as in other science-fiction and horror flicks such as The 27th Day, Creature With The Atom Brain, The Werewolf, Zombies Of Mora Tau, and the infamously abysmal The Giant Claw.

Bakaleinikoff’s music is seldom melodic and is often harmonically jarring, although he occasionally wrote some lovely string passages.  His compositional style sometimes sounds as if musical fragments have been thrown together at random, and given the fact that he was often called on to write links between totally dissimilar tracked cues, perhaps this is understandable.  His sci-fi and horror music is characterized by harsh-sounding brass chords, and his writing in general is reminiscent of the more simplistic music heard in the movie serials.  As Bakaleinikoff conducted many of these serials at Columbia in the 1940s and ’50s, he might have been influenced by this style of writing.  The orchestrations are also simpler than those from other studios, although Bakaleinikoff was probably too busy running the music department to do his own.  The orchestrations were probably also restricted by the small size of Columbia's orchestra on these lower-budget films, somewhere around 30 players. 

Bakaleinikoff wrote about 11 minutes of original music for It Came From Beneath The Sea, but many of his cues are used more than once.  The remainder of the 30-minute score consists of a few Bakaleinikoff cues tracked in from prior films (including “Gates” and “Jail Riot” from Women’s Prison, and “Wyoming Foreword” and “Trouble” from Wyoming Renegades), as well as some non-Bakaleinikoff cues that originated elsewhere (Amfitheatrof’s “Scale Of Justice” from Talk Of The Town, Werner Heymann’s “Preparation For A Sliding Kiss” from The Mating Of Millie, and Heinz Roemheld’s “End Title” from The Fuller Brush Man), but the important thematic material was written by Bakaleinikoff specifically for this picture. 

Although a few of Bakaleinikoff’s It Came From Beneath The Sea cues are heard only once in the film because they were composed for specific scenes, for the most part the composer wrote some basic musical templates (“Mister Monster,” “Mister Monster #2,” “Tentacle,” and “Monster Beneath The Sea”), which he then altered by removing bars, adding codas, changing tempos, and making slight orchestration changes.  Some of these amended cues were cut-and-pasted together in different combinations, with the result being that the film’s score becomes inseparable from the viewing experience because you're hearing the same music over and over again.  These were some of Bakaleinikoff’s most memorable monster themes, and for that reason the music was tracked into subsequent films such as Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles To Earth, The Giant Claw, Zombies Of Mora Tau, and Have Rocket, Will Travel

 

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