By Wand Agency
Los Angeles detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by a woman claiming to be a Mrs. Mulwray to spy on her husband. Shortly after Gittes is hired, the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) appears in his office threatening to sue if he doesn't drop the case immediately. Gittes pursues the case anyway, slowly uncovering a vast conspiracy centering on water management, state and municipal corruption, land use and real estate, and involving at least one murder.
Jerry Goldsmith's replacement score to Phillip Lambro's earlier effort is quite rightly regarded as a classic score. Goldsmith turned out to be the perfect choice (one of the few Hollywood composer to have grown up in the film's period setting), to perfectly capture the mood of the piece, and turning in his work in just 10 days! Although relatively modest in duration Goldsmith's task was to climb a mountain and provide the movie with an identity. Which is exactly what he did with one of the finest themes ever written for a motion picture. Jerry Goldsmith's masterful score to Chinatown features quite an unusual ensemble; made up of strings, four pianos, four harps, guiro, and solo trumpet, which the composer revealed he saw in his head while watching the movie for the first time. The latter instrument went on to define the film's film noir aspect perfectly with its hypnotic bluesy theme for Jack Nicholson's Private Eye, and love theme for the mysterious Faye Dunaway.