Bernard Herrmann’s JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is unearthed as Varèse Sarabande’s latest “500 Series” release

August 21, 2017

The latest release in the Varèse Sarabande “500 series” is a reissue of Bernard Herrmann’s masterful score for 20th Century Fox’s 1959 telling of Jules Verne’s epic adventure tale, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. The label is bringing back the deluxe expanded edition of Herrmann’s brilliant score that was prepared for the label’s Bernard Herrmann At 20th Century Fox box set back in 2011. The film score is represented by more than 72 minutes of classic Herrmann. Truly mammoth! Featuring liner notes by Steven C. Smith (author of A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann).

The Varèse 500 Series is a limited edition series of special limited reissue editions of just 500 copies of catalog titles that have been out of print for 10 or 20 years or more.

Journey Center Earth Varese-500 edition front-back

The 1959 film was the first of nearly ten adaptations of Verne’s classic novel. Directed by prolific filmmaker Henry Levine (THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM, MURDERER’S ROW, THE AMBUSHERS), the story tells of a geologist (James Mason) and his assistant (Pat Boone) who set off on an expedition to the center of the earth. Following directions found in an inscription hidden in volcanic rock, the explorers travel to a volcano in Iceland to begin their journey. Along the way, a widow of a famous scientist (Arlene Dahl) and an Icelander (Peter Ronson) join their party. However, the treacherous terrain and prehistoric monsters are not their only concern when a rival scientist (Thayer David) is on their trail. 

The film features one of Herrmann’s most majestic scores, featuring the power of five organs (four electronic and one large cathedral organ), the music of which is used to suggest ascent and descent, and the mysteriousness of the environment discovered deep beneath the earth’s surface. “I decided to evoke the mood and feelings of inner Earth by using only instruments played in low registers,” Herrmann wrote in his liner notes to the 1974 record album The Fantasy Film World of Bernard Herrmann. “Eliminating all strings, I utilized an orchestra of woodwinds and brass, with a large percussion section and many harps.” – Musique Fantastique, 1st Edition, 1984.

CDs are expected to begin shipping this week.  For more details, see


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