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Interview with Composer Ron Goodwin about „Where Eagles Dare“ (1987)

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Matthias Büdinger and Udo Heimansberg. Copyright 1987, reprinted by permission from the authors Date: 05.10.2023
Ron Goodwin's signature, Odense, Denmark, 1991.

Ron Goodwin:
That film to me was a kind of a „Boys story“. If you stop and think about that film, they needed lorry loads of explosions and equipment. You didn’t really want to give the audience time to stop and think because they would have thought this ridiculous. So the music had to keep the interest going in a way.

I just did a concert in Sweden with the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra. They translated the titles of all these films in Swedish and they sounded most peculiar. It’s really strange to hear the films you have done what they were called in a foreign country. When „Where Eagles Dare“ was translated you would think it was a totally different film. When It didn’t actually mean „Where Eagles Dare“ it meant something like „The Eagles Nest“. What was that called in Germany?

Udo Heimansberg: „Agenten sterben einsam“ which literally means „Spies die lonely“!

RG: I like it better than „Where Eagles Dare“!

UH: I still wonder, what this title meant!

RG: I never knew really. I suppose because it was in the mountains and that would be only a place where eagles would go. They went to this daring thing. But it’s a bit obscure! At the end of the film an awful lot of that was not going to have music in it. I don’t know if you remember the scene where they were driving to the airport to get there in time. That was all supposed to be no music but when they saw the first dup of the picture somebody in America decided they wanted music in there. But the producer said:

„We can’t afford to pay for any more recording sessions. Can you find music from what you’ve already recorded?“

I always cringe a bit when I see that section of the film because all we did really was to repeat the same music over and over going which got monotonous.

UH: At the end there is a lot of shooting and explosions…

RG: They wanted it all filled with music in the background. They are always terrified that they going to have any silence in the film which is stupid because silence can be very effective. Sometimes silence is much much more effective than music!

More in 70mm reading:

Broadsword Ruft Danny Boy

An Evening with Derren Nesbitt

Exhibitor's Campaign Book from MGM "Where Eagles Dare", 1968

"Where Eagles Dare" - 40th Anniversary 1969 - 2009

“Broadsword Calling Danny Boy” Widescreen Weekend Report 2009

Todd-AO at the Savoy, Düsseldorf, Germany

Ken Annakin

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Interview with Composer Ron Goodwin about „Where Eagles Dare“
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Updated 21-01-24