On Friday, Universal Pictures announced plans to preserve and restore its classic library of movie music as well as the birth of a new imprint to release those scores on compact disc. The Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection will launch this week as a joint venture with La-La Land Records with the premiere release of Michel Colombier's 1970 score to the sci-fi thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project. In August, Henry Mancini's score to the 1979 Peter Sellers remake of The Prisoner of Zenda will follow.
Titles are expected to be released every other month in the new series, with future entries including Ennio Morricone's score to Clint Eastwood's 1970 film Two Mules for Sister Sara (previously available only on vinyl); John Cacavas' Airport '77, Lalo Schifrin's The Concorde: Airport '79, Harold Faltermeyer's Fletch Lives (1989); and Gil Melle's The Sentinel (1977). NBCUniversal television properties may, at some point, be incorporated into the series.
Alexia Baum, director of music publishing at Universal, told Variety's Jon Burlingame that the search for these long-lost scores began around one year ago. "It's incredibly valuable intellectual property. We want to make sure it has a permanent, safe home." Mike Knobloch, Universal's president of global and film music, noted, "We're a century-old media company. As much as we're looking forward, sometime we have to look back, and recognize and value our history. Our catalog dates back to the beginning of cinema and the advent of sound. This is just the tip of the iceberg that's in the vault."
Eric Polin, senior vice president for music publishing, cautioned Burlingame that "first and foremost, this is an asset preservation and restoration project. Putting these out on soundtrack album is a bonus." Longtime film music historian and producer Mike Matessino, whose work encompasses releases from Universal as well as Hollywood's other major studios, has helmed the first batch of soundtrack releases for La-La Land.
More details on the CD release of Colossus: The Forbin Project, as well as future titles in the Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection, will be available at La-La Land's website! As always, watch this space for more news.