Click here to return to the main site.

Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

The Gerald Fried Collection
Birds Do It, Bees Do It (1974)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Gerald Fried
Label: Caldera Records
Click here to buy -
Release Date: 22 July 2019

Caldera Records present Gerald Fried’s Oscar-nominated score for the motion picture Birds Do It, Bees Do It from 1974, directed by Nicolas Noxon and Irwin Rosten. The documentary examines the reproductive habits of bacteria, frogs, lions, kangaroos, elephants, monkeys, birds, rhinos, and others by showing in graphic detail how animals behave before, during and after sexual intercourse. The documentary did not shy away from its sensitive topic. Instead, it discussed sex as a natural part of life and aimed to educate its viewers...

The name Gerald Fried might not be that familiar to most people, but those of a certain age will definitely have experienced his music at one time or another. He started his career in the '50s, composing five of Stanley Kubrik's early movies. He also produced scores for numerous American TV shows including Star Trek, Gilligan's Island, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, Lost in Space and Dynasty. Caldera Records recently released his soundtrack for The Baby (1973), which is also worth picking up.

Birds Do It, Bees Do It (1974) is a documentary film that focuses on sex in the animal kingdom. Fried had already worked on a number of Wolper productions when he was offered to score the documentary. Years later he would claim that it was one of the most satisfying experiences of his career. Not only was he not subjected to a tight deadline, he also had sufficient funds to execute his creative vision.

When he saw the rough cut for the first time, the germ of an idea evolved – human beings portrayed in the film would musically be treated with tonal themes ('Man Intrudes'), while animals would get less organized, less thematic, but nonetheless tonal music ('Kangaroos'). Insects would be portrayed with electronic music and/or percussion instruments ('Talking Insects'), amoebas only with noises produced by synthesizers ('Primal Ooze').

What struck me most about this release was how varied and intricate each of the themes were. While not all of them instantly seem to fit with the animals they are depicting this is mainly down to the fact that Fried steers clear of cliches as much as possible. 'Wasps' is an obvious exception to this, as the track opens with an eerie buzzing sound.

After listening to the opening track 'Flowers Opening' I was immediately struck by how similar John Williams's music for Amity Island (Jaws (1975)) was. Could it be that Williams's was inspired in some small way by Fried's music?

This is another winner from Caldera. Long may they continue to unearth long forgotten gems like this.


Darren Rea