Musings About Music In Film

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

By Charlie Brigden et

What do I say about E.T.? The movie was released thirty-three years ago, and in that time much better writers than me have written tons about the film and it's music. So I'm not going to.

Okay, maybe a little. The original 1982 soundtrack album, released back then on MCA, has been reissued on vinyl by Geffen Records and Universal Music along with a slew of other soundtracks including Jaws, Beetlejuice, and The Godfather. This means you can quit paying extortionate prices on eBay and get something factory sealed for very decent amounts.

E.T. was always one of the better MCA presses (in the UK anyway), but this new pressing is just wonderful. Coming on black 180gram - because we all know that makes all the difference - it has an incredibly dynamic sound, although be forewarned that this record gets loud. You may have to turn it up because it starts quiet, but once it gets going your neighbours will be shouting "Phone home" through the walls. Seriously, this thing sings.

The 1982 album program is what's here, running just over forty minutes, and it's absolutely perfect. E.T. as a score has been semi-controversial amongst fans because of the varying releases (on CD) over the years that never seem to get it just right. But while the complete score is wonderful (it came as an isolated track on the old Laserdisc), the LP program just distills E.T. down to its essence, thematically and aesthetically.

Composed in a magical period for John Williams, as a score it's inspiring and uplifting but as an album it's next-level stuff. Williams' albums as a producer may not have a 100% success rate, but E.T. is almost a religous experience, and by the time the big finale - 'Adventure On Earth' - comes around it's hallelujah-a-go-go. This record is also notable for the only commercial availability of one of the greatest moments in the score: the gorgeous insert at 11:18 in the final track when E.T. and Elliot say "Ouch", which does not appear on any of the subsequent expanded CD releases.

E.T. is a masterpiece. One of John Williams' greatest achievements and an amazing artefact of cinema history on its own, this LP captures the pure joy and emotion of the score in a wonderful pressing. Few thrills are higher.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is out now from Geffen Records and Universal Music