Jerry Goldsmith talks Chinatown (1974)


Chinatown is one of those post-Golden Age of Hollywood movies that perfectly emulates that lost era of filmmaking. Starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Roman Polanski, the film tells the story of private investigator J.J “Jake” Gittes (Nicholson) who is hired by a woman calling herself Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), ostensibly because her husband Hollis is having an affair with another woman and she wants the evidence. But the story is fake and Jake finds himself entangled in a story that is more complex and tragic than anything he could have ever imagined.


The score for this neo-noir film was composed by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004). Goldsmith composed AND recorded the film’s music in only ten days, after the producer rejected an earlier score from composer Philip Lambro at the last minute. The score was nominated for an Academy Award (though it didn’t win). The score is notable for containing several haunting trumpet solos performed by Uan Rasey, that perfectly encapsulate that era of old Hollywood.

Please enjoy Goldsmith’s thought on this amazing score and if you haven’t had a chance to see the movie, I encourage you to give it a try (but I feel obliged to warn you, the plot twist is rather shocking).

See also:

Jerry Goldsmith talks The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Jerry Goldsmith talks about Alien (1979)

Jerry Goldsmith talks Lionheart (1987)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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3 thoughts on “Jerry Goldsmith talks Chinatown (1974)

  1. Pingback: Jerry Goldsmith talks Lionheart (1987) | Film Music Central

  2. Pingback: Jerry Goldsmith talks The Sand Pebbles (1966) | Film Music Central

  3. Pingback: Jerry Goldsmith talks Alien (1979) | Film Music Central

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