Sunday, July 15, 2018

Score Sample: The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

These days if you mention director Michael Mann, most people will  immediately think of Heat or Collateral. A few people will mention Miami Vice, both the series and the movie. But not many people mention Last of the Mohicans, because it like of sticks out of filmography as a "wait a sec, he directed that?" kind of movie. But sure enough Mann tackled this historical epic before diving in the modern epic of Heat.

Mann is notorious for cobbling his film's music from different sources, sometimes even going so far as hiring a composer to score the full movie and then replacing half the original score with other pieces of unrelated electronic and techno music (just ask James Newton Howard about his experience on Collateral). For Last of the Mohicans, we have a similar oddity, two composers working on one film. Neither composer collaborating together, but each gentleman scoring different scenes. Jones was hired initially, but production delays and constant re-editing ended up running into another project he was working. Jones completed as much as he could and Randy Edelman was brought in to finish the project. Edelman provided some of the textural music, material that was lighter and used in the quieter scenes, with a few exceptions. Trevor Jones was brought in for his powerful themes and bombast. Mann managed to make it all work in the film, and as a listen on album it can be a bit uneven (especially with Edelman's uses of electronics). But still, that main theme by Jones is one of the most memorable of the 1990s.

So here is a sample of both men's work

First we have Edelman's music for a quiet scene early in the film, Cora.

And here is the dramatic Main Theme by Jones.


  1. Good movie. I'm surprised when I see older series or movies and familiar names come up in the credits. I've been watching a few of the old horror series Thriller hosted by Boris Karloff and see where Jerry Goldsmith scored a few episodes.

    1. Yeah this film holds up pretty well. Mann tried to make it as historically accurate as possible. It is also a time period we don't see too many films or television series about, so it still feels pretty fresh.

      Yeah Jerry had quite a few really good scores for television back in the 50s and 60s. His work on Thriller is really excellent, I think I might like it more than his work on "Twilight Zone" actually. There have been two excellent rerecording of Jerry's work on "Thriller". Great for playing during October.

    2. I share the occasional surprise of El Vox re: older credits -- e.g. John Williams theme for the 1963 series Suspense Theatre: I've been a bit more conscious of the composers thanks to your frequent posts.