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Chinatown Soundtrack

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, November 7, 1995
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$79.95 $39.18

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Love Theme From Chinatown
  2. Noah Cross
  3. Easy Living
  4. Jake and Evelyn
  5. I Can't Get Started
  6. The Last of Ida
  7. The Captive
  8. The Boy on a Horse
  9. The Way You Look Tonight
  10. The Wrong Clue
  11. J.J. Gittes
  12. Love Theme from Chinatown


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: June 20, 1974
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000014XW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,026 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The film score for CHINATOWN is as famous for the conditions under which it was written as it is for the music itself. Shortly before the film was to debut, producer Robert Evans discarded the score written by composer Phillip Lambro and handed the project to Jerry Goldsmith, a composer then best known for his work on such television series as The Waltons, Barnaby Jones, and Room 222.

Goldsmith had ten days to both write and record a new score before CHINATOWN debuted. The resulting score was extremely sparse, making use of several songs popular during the 1930s and resting upon a single original theme--but it proved the perfect additive to the film, and it is extremely difficult to image CHINATOWN without it.

CHINATOWN is one of a wave late 1960s-early 1970s films noted as much for substance as for style, and more than a quarter of a century later it continues to be regarded as one of the great artistic triumphs of the era. Directed by Roman Polanski from a remarkable script by Robert Towne, the film paints an ultimately pitch-black portrait of greed, corruption, and evil in 1930s Los Angeles. The primary theme blends several idioms, opening first with a shimmering, metallic-like chord from harp and the rising with other strings to create a oddly American, oddly Asian tone; it then glides into a slightly plaintive trumpet solo that seems to blend both 1930s and 1970s music styles. The overall effect is inviting yet mysterious--and mingles elements of romance and danger.

Both the basic theme and elements from it repeat throughout the film, sometimes making a full musical statement, at other times echoing within more distinctly unsettling tones.
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2 Comments 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This score, written in just 10 days, remains (in my humble opinion) my favorite all-time orchestral soundtrack. Several other composers come to mind who have written works of art as film scores.... and whos music stands as great art apart from the film....Korngold, Steiner, Newman, and Sarde all have at least one such masterpiece to their name. This score, however stands as unique among them all..... at once haunting, etheric, yet genuinely flavored with that "lonely trumpet solo of the 1930's" sound. I am reminded of the minimalist compositions of Toru Takemitsu, and his work in Japanese film.. .... where the music becomes part of the atmosphere of the film, and adds to the films texture and mood. In many ways, "Chinatown" does this, but even more so, because here you are also treated to the sentimental, romantic, and the hope for those characters in the motion picture ..... this score is magic, becomes locked in the subconcious.... those characters are embedded within those notes, too ..... Noah Cross, Evelyn Mulray, Jake Gittes, and poor Ada Sessions....they are all there and are all immortalized within it.
1 Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Jerry Goldsmith's work on Chinatown may be the best work ever done for a film score. Utilizing an avant garde ensemble (four pianos, four harps, percussion, strings, and solo trumpet) the composer paints a soundscape both eriee and nostaligic -- imagine listening to thirties jazz echoing through layers of deep water. The cumulative effect of this perfectly organized album is one of quiet, aching despair. The three tracks of source music add to Goldsmith's remarkable achievement. A must for anyone interested in serious instrumental music.
1 Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I absolutely love this recording. Every number is outstanding, the album collectively is a gem. However, I find myself unable to get it because a couple of bloodsucking thieves on this website decided to begin pricing at $95. I realize this is a rather rare CD now, but I was also under the impression there were laws against racketeering. But no matter. If you can manage to find it elsewhere, be sure to grab it.
4 Comments 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
The music for Chinatown could have been forgettable. Goldsmith could have chosen to write music that was typical 30s in style and could have done it very effectively. However, he chose to write a score that becomes part of the visuals of the film. The music becomes pure emotion and sound effects of the thoughts in the minds of the characters. The only unfortunate thing about this CD is that it duplicates the original soundtrack on Dot Records from 1974 and we deserve ALL the cues from the soundtrack. Here we only get certain takes. That said, this is still haunting, magical, etheric and utterly appropriate for the film. The Main title is absolutely gorgeous and worth the price of the CD alone.
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By A Customer on April 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Chinatown has to be one of my favorite movies. The acting, direction, pacing, and feel of the entire movie is pitch-perfect. The soundtrack is one of the greatest in movie history; it is such an essential part of the movie!
The intro sets the entire mood. The sound of the trumpet always gives me goosebumps. It's that good!
In response to earlier reviews that "it was too short", this is exactly the amount of music that has always been in the movie. The soundtrack really does only run for over a half-an-hour. If the songs don't "fully develop," it's because they never were meant to. The tracks cannot be judged individually; they form an artistic and emotional masterpiece that must be taken as a whole.
Truly wonderful, particularly on the original vinyl soundtrack albums!
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