Bernard Herrmann's music for Beneath the 12-Mile Reef is one of the major missing links in the legendary composer's output. One of his most rousing and inventive film scores; it was every bit as essential to the success of the movie for which it was written as was Til Gabani's dazzling underwater photography, which comprised its best action scenes. The music also took on a separate life for years to come in its extensive use in television productions such as Lost in Space. As with the best of Herrmann's scores, the music stands well on its own, with distinct (and distinctly Herrmann-esque) passages for strings and winds ("The Marker"); and glorious writing for the harp throughout; augmented by numerous subtle atmospheric touches. The release of the movie predated the period in which 20th Century Fox routinely issued soundtracks, and there never was a soundtrack LP for Beneath the 12-Mile Reef: the tapes had not aged well, however, and some restoration and repair work was required before this CD could be released. The wait was worth it, as the music is clean and mostly without distortion, and it is presented in its proper glory for the first time in 50 years. The annotation by Jeff Bond also gives a very thorough account of the score, as well as the movie's history, though it is a little too critical of the movie itself.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder
|Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, film score|