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 PCR 503

Artwork copyright (c) 1999 CPT Holdings, Inc..; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Jerry's Cherry is excellent crime score


One of Jerry Goldsmith's most extraordinary achievements is his stunning score for Roman Polanski's Chinatown, and it's surprising that he has not returned to the genre particularly often; in reality, he would not score another film like it until the brilliant LA Confidential in 1997. But at the height of his career, in 1977, just after he'd collected the Oscar for The Omen, Goldsmith scored this tv movie starring Frank Sinatra.

Hints of Chinatown run all the way through this excellent album, with the lyrical trombone solo on the main title clearly recalling Chinatown's legendary trumpet theme, to the staccato piano playing and the frantic brass work. In truth though, this could even be classed as a more substantial work.  The main theme isn't quite as good - the action music not quite so powerful - but this is a much longer score, allowing Goldsmith a lot more time to develop his ideas.  Sure, it's not as effective as a whole package as Chinatown - very little is - but it shows off some of the composer's best qualities, especially his taut writing which was so prevalent in his 1970s output.

The first track sets the pace of things to come, with an exciting action piece followed by the trombone theme. "Equal Partners" introduces some touching romantic material, performed initially by piano and synthesiser, and then with a string section added. The five-minute "False Arrest" contains so many classic Goldsmith touches - the slowly-building ostinato that runs through virtually the entire length of the cue is a delicious precursor to Capricorn One, and there's some avant-garde writing for piano and xylophone that could be straight out of Chinatown.  "Prowling", although quite short, is a certain highlight, with a lovely version of the main theme performed by strings, accompanied by a delicate piano and flute part, perhaps inspired by Bernard Herrmann. The touching "Eulogising" contains some cello writing that, as the liner notes correctly point out, offer a surprising preview of Goldsmith's later, classic, tv score for Masada, before segueing into more of that Chinatown-style atmospheric music.

If you're a fan of Goldsmith's intelligent scores for thrillers like Basic Instinct, or either of the scores mentioned above, you'll be in for a treat with Contract on Cherry Street. The only thing that places it a notch or two below those classic scores is the lack of a really high quality theme to bind the score together, but don't let that put you off - this is an excellent score, and made a welcome early entry in Luc van de Ven's Prometheus CD Club back in 1999 (and copies are still available today). The sound quality is top-notch (it could have been recorded yesterday), though Gary Kester's liner notes are rather peculiar. But otherwise, this is a solid release.


  1. Main Title (3:57)
  2. Trickin' Along (1:18)
  3. Red Light (:42)
  4. Equal Partners (2:58)
  5. False Arrest (5:09)
  6. Prowling (1:33)
  7. The Execution (:52)
  8. Eulogising (4:23)
  9. The Vigilantes (1:20)
  10. The Deal (1:20)
  11. One Way Ride (4:59)
  12. A Dusty Death (3:17)
  13. Bird Watching (2:20)
  14. Trouble Downtown (2:18)
  15. Saturday Night Special (1:03)
  16. Breach of Contract (5:10)
  17. Finale (2:10)