Jerry Goldsmith

" Moves like a butterfly, stings like Jerry Goldsmith "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the expanded release

Franklin J. Schaffner's Papillon is but one of the many iconic movies Jerry Goldsmith scored in his career. By sure, it was Goldsmith's most rewarding collaboration with a movie director, resulting in countless Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Schaffner's movies. Included on that list is Papillon, one of the many critically acclaimed movies the 2 worked on, and it led Jerry Goldsmith to another highly respected movie score.

For a somber looking tale of imprisonment, the score is an uplifting test case of hope and respect, guided by a lovely main theme and waltz. It opens the score with "Theme" (supported through the ever so wonderful sounding accordion), emotionally beautiful through the assistance of the piano and strings in "Reunion" and airy through the use of the accordion in "The Dream". The waltz comes alive like never before in "Theme (Short Version)" and explodes in "Survival" through a wonderful collision of strings and a powerful send off of brass.

The score of course isn't without its darker moments. In "The Camp" Goldsmith paints an emotional troublesome cue (supported with explosive brass shrills), and "New Friend" is an attacking cue that uses variations on the main theme in a most suspenseful way. "Arrest" puts exotic percussion on the flame to spice things up a bit, leaving room for "Antonio's Death" to mimic the theme violently on a rhythmic bed of cacophony.

And then there are the moments a composer like Jerry Goldsmith is known for. A cue like "Freedom" is a combination of the suspenseful and the hopeful, leaving Jerry the time to connect the 2 styles together, unleashing at the very end a triumphant conclusion that only masters of his class could deliver. But for me it is "Gift from the Sea" that once more shows you no one will ever fill the place of a Jerry Goldsmith, because perfection can't be equaled. Both playful and utterly beautiful, the cohesion between these 2 styles show an art most composers should take a closer look at.

Papillon is an album I've ignored for far too long. Yes, I've heard it before a long time ago, but not like this, and not the way it deserves to be approached. This is an album that delivers its qualities differently. Or restrained or through a sole simple main theme of perfection. Once again, it shows you that Jerry Goldsmith wrote music unlike no other, with a far deeper understanding for the picture itself than most composers could ever see. Of course the collaboration with his friend Schaffner as the quality of the movie before him left Goldsmith with the opportunity to delve deeper and stronger in the mind than ever before. But in the end Papillon is simply an emotional journey that moves like a butterfly. Meaning, once it transforms before your very eyes, you'll be amazed by the beauty of it. Never again will I forget that.


1. Theme (2.18) Excellent track
2. The Camp (3.02)
3. Reunion (4.38) Excellent track
4. New Friend (2.07)
5. The Dream (1.16)
6. Freedom (4.01) Excellent track
7. Catching Butterflies (1.34)
8. Gift from the Sea (6.49) Excellent track
9. Arrest (2.13)
10. Theme (Short Version) (1.48) Excellent track
11. Antonio's Death (2.31)
12. Cruel Sea (1.32)
13. Hospital (3.52)
14. Survival (5.29) Excellent track
15. Toi Qui Regarde la Mer: Nicoletta (3.14) Excellent track

Total Length: 45.37
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 43 votes - average 4.79/5)

Released by

Universal France 017 179-2 (expanded release 2002)

Conducted by

Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations by

Arthur Morton