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 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   sdtom   (Member)

http://sdtom.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/chinatown-1974lambro/

 
 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   The Mutant   (Member)

Interesting. I had always thought from hearing people speak in the making of, tat the music was primarily Chinese and that Lambro had taken the title Chinatown too literally.

I see now that it's actually very, very close to Goldsmith's vision.

 
 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

http://sdtom.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/chinatown-1974lambro/

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 16, 2012 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Interesting. I had always thought from hearing people speak in the making of, tat the music was primarily Chinese and that Lambro had taken the title Chinatown too literally.

I see now that it's actually very, very close to Goldsmith's vision.


Certainly he took it too literally for the scenes IN Chinatown, where you get that literal Chinese doodling he's doing. The rest of the score is interesting as a listening experience, but the Goldsmith score made Chinatown into a more cohesive film experience - the film is iconic because the score is of a piece with it and is iconic on its own. The Lambro score was anything but iconic and all you have to do is watch the opening credits with Lambro's score, and then watch the Chinatown sequence with the score (you'll have to turn off the audio of the Blu-ray or DVD, obviously) - it's just not the same marriage of visual and music.

Also, everything in the package is slanted in Lambro's favor as was his book, obviously. This is his project and one has to take that into account when reading the notes and his book. Others around at the time remember things very differently than he does.

 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2012 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   The Cat   (Member)

Also, everything in the package is slanted in Lambro's favor as was his book, obviously. This is his project and one has to take that into account when reading the notes and his book. Others around at the time remember things very differently than he does.

Let me turn your eyes towards how the booklet opens:

"Friedrich Nietzsche said 'There are no facts, only interpretations.' The following notes will give you one interpretation on the making of Roman Polanski's Chinatown."

That's my way of handling the question at hand...

 
 Posted:   Dec 19, 2012 - 4:17 AM   
 By:   gittes_fan   (Member)

Interesting that the liner notes should begin with something so similar to the opening line of Robert Evans' autobiography, 'The Kid Stays in the Picture':

"There are three sides to every story: yours... mine... and the truth. No one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently."

From reading the excerpts of Lambro's autobiography available on Google Books, he seems perfectly willing to stretch such proverbs to breaking point, and the utterly self-serving, caustic tone erodes his credibility.

If you believe Phillip Lambro, it was he who suggested to Roman Polanski to have a scene set in Chinatown, the film never made any money, he witnessed Polanski's sexual indiscretions years before his notorious 1977 arrest, etc etc etc.
There's also a lengthy description of his being on set when "his good friend" Perry Lopez refused to utter a section of dialogue because he found it too vulgar (it's the bit about where a hooker 'drew the line', which eventually found its way into The Two Jakes instead), and Jack Nicholson was upset because he supposedly wrote it - however, Robert Towne referred specifically to the dialogue in a 1981 interview as having being cut in editing, and elaborated upon exactly why he, Robert Towne, wrote it to begin with. It's also in an earlier draft, so unlikely that Nicholson might have had any such input.

Make up your own mind, but Lambro's accounts differ wildly from a number of others, and contradict them very specifically in a number of cases.

He composed a good score for Chinatown, one I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to, but it just didn't quite work. Get over it.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 20, 2012 - 7:27 PM   
 By:   John Bender   (Member)

Almost from the very beginning (1975) I have wondered at the mystery of why Jerry Goldsmith crafted his CHINATOWN score with 20th Century classical affectations. I refer to certain details of the score that leave one with the impression that his score is a neo-noir template deftly infused with textures appropriated from modern serious or concert hall music. By "neo-noir" I refer to the Hollywood film music tradition of richly orchestrated dark romanticism infused with blues and jazz. As for 20th Century modernist contrivances these aspects can be identified as principally found in the percussion, but also via percussive and/or near atonal use of strings (moaning, wailing), and especially of the piano! In Jerry's score the piano frequently is infused with an otherworldly primitivism, and this has always - and very precisely - reminded me of John Cage's legendary experiment The Perilous Night for his exotic "prepared piano". The new CD release of Lambro's abandoned attempt at last solves the mystery. It is glaringly obvious that Jerry (most likely) listened to Lambro's score before beginning the amazing two week crunch on his masterpiece. Basically what Goldsmith was inspired to do after (most likely) hearing the rejected score was to retain Lambro's core idea of simultaneously slamming classical modernism and traditional cinematic noir into the wall and to then build a cohesive tapestry out of the resultant paste - Jerry just does a much better job of it than Lambro. Finally there is even evidence of influence in that Lambro's love theme (One Night With Evelyn) is at least vaguely similar to Jerry's, but more importantly both scores are "mono-melodic" - the respective love themes are the only song-forms of both works. Jerry's genius saw him run with Lambro's general approach, wisely dump the Asian airs, and imbue the whole with the heady perfume of distinctively realized Silver Screen glamor. As "haineshisway" implied, it is with this all-important element of glamor that Jerry's score elevates Polanski's film to the level of the mythological - timeless pop-cultural iconography instead of iconoclasm and artiness. In any case it is now my belief that it is pathetic to experience and know the history of the two scores and only conclude "A coincidence!" - or worse, not even that! If not for Lambro first Goldsmith's magnificent CHINATOWN might never have been.

 
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