cover art for The Golden Child

The Golden Child

1986

LP: Capitol SJ-12544
CD: Capitol CDP 7 46658 2

  1. The Best Man in the World (cowritten with Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and S. Ennis)
  2. Wisdom of the Ages

The Movie

This was the movie that derailed Eddie Murphy's career, the way Cable Guy shook Jim Carey's. Up to that point Murphy had done some incredible work--he almost single-handedly carried Saturday Night Live through the dark ages, then came the movies--48 Hours, Trading Places and the blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop, and a successful comedy album. So when people sat down for this movie, they were expecting gold.

And instead they got lead. In theory it was a decent idea--another version of Beverly Hills Cop: Eddie Murphy as the street-smart, fast-talking, fast-thinking, funny and charming detective who specializes in abducted children, as the fish-out-of-water as he looks for a buddist mystic, "the golden child." Charlotte Lewis was the beautiful but icy girl, Charles Dance as the bad guy who wants the child for his own evil aims.

But it just didn't work. At times it was close--Eddie has some good lines, Charlotte Lewis was beautiful and remote, Charles Dance looked evil. I still don't know what the problem was--Eddie wasn't as funny as Beverly Hills Cop, he didn't seem right in the role, and the special effects-laden ending fell flat, as they often do. Audiences left the movie with shaken faith. Murphy'd have another big hit with Coming to America, but he'd follow that with a string of turkeys. It wouldn't be until 1996's The Nutty Professor that he would have another real hit, and things have been shaky since.


The Music

The old story about throwing out the score when the movie is bad gets told here again. Barry's score was mostly rejected and rescored. His song, "The Best Man in the World," co-written with with Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and S. Ennis, and "Wisdom of the Ages" are the only bits that made it onto the album.


Release Notes

The LP and CD came out around the time of the movie. For a long time the album was in every used record store in the world, but has since mostly dried up and become collectable. The CD tends to be rare and pricy.