The Last Castle

Jerry Goldsmith

" Luckily, it wasn't his last "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

The Last Castle was greeted by the film community modestly, as they expected perhaps a lot more from a movie starring Robert Redford and (back then) the rising star of the Sopranos James Gandolfini. But the film music community was especially looking forward to the result of the composer behind the prison walls, namely Jerry Goldsmith. Every score appeared to be his last, every score seemed to miss that sparkle that ignited so many Goldsmith scores in the past. Sadly The Last Castle is something of a soother for the fans that were awaiting that last burst of geniality.

First of all, don't let the running time fool you. If you delete the average songs from the pack, you've got about 30 minutes of score, which quite frankly was back then custom for score releases. Secondly, if you read the liner notes and I quote: "There was always just one choice. Just one: Jerry Goldsmith" and about the theme: "Twenty-four notes that left me in tears", it is clear that Jerry still didn't find that spark.

Because the fan who has heard everything by now will think the same about the overall sound and music coming of Goldsmith's pen. And while this is basically the worst thing, The Last Castle still has the moments and the things that make the listen perhaps interesting for some.

The theme by the way for Irwin (Redford) is a direct link from Air Force One and Rambo III molded together. The basic tension music has everything that we have heard before, but adds a perfect powerful twist after it to make it still interesting. "Full Alert", "The Count Down" and "Taking Command" have their good spots, while the track "The Rock Pile" could have come from Rambo III and Air Force One like that.

But if there was one thing that mesmerized me, even for its seconds it was the moment in "The Flag", restated in "September 11, 2001 - Theme from The Last Castle". Simply because I feel it are the most intriguing seconds of the last years coming of Goldsmith, stated on 4.10 exactly in "The Flag". This was merely the only moment that moved me so much, just because it contained that sparkle I was looking for.

Yet even with that moment, it is still not enough. It might be sufficient for some but I think true Goldsmith fans were hoping for a bit more in the end. I can appreciate The Last Castle but overall it is nothing memorable. Back then it was always the question whether this was going to be the last Goldsmith score or not, and so The Last Castle was greeted back then with average enthusiasm. But today I want to look at it as the typical Goldsmith score. Melodic, effective and perfectly constructed around a couple of themes, in the manner he alone could do it. Sometimes movie music doesn't need class to show you it is still much better than most of today's music, if we talk about development and effectiveness.


1. The Castle (1.32)
2. Irwin Arrives (2.11)
3. The Rock Pile (5.00)
4. Get Behind The Mule: John Hammond (5.52)
5. Let's Go Ladies (2.36)
6. Full Heart (2.51)
7. Military Justice (2.18)
8. The Count Down (2.20)
9. Hold Them (1.49)
10. Taking Command (3.34)
11. The Flag (5.51)
12. September 11, 2001 - Theme From The Last Castle (2.42)
13. Chiseled In Stone: Dean Hall (3.48)

Total Length: 43.08
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 20 votes - average 3.35/5)

Released by

Decca Records 440 016 193-2 (regular release 2001)

Conducted by

Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations by

Mark McKenzie