Review: Contract on Cherry Street
4.5 / 5 Stars
I was pleased to discover that Jerry Goldsmith wrote a score for "Contract on Cherry Street" which not only can be used as an example of what people mean when they refer to a "Goldsmith score", but also that this same score utilizes some of the techniques that can be found in some of Goldsmith's best scores. "Contract on Cherry Street" is about a New York City cop (played by Frank Sinatra) who takes on the mob after his partner is killed. There is plenty of drama, suspense and action to be found, and it could be argued that those types of moods are where Goldsmith's strengths lie.
The CD begins with short, suspenseful phrases accentuated by the low end of a solitary piano that sounds a bit like parts of The Great Train Robbery. Once the cue begins to pick up the pace, with the staccato brass hits, and the flowing string work, Total Recall came to mind - of course, this predates it by nearly13 years. However, just as the music is about to reach a frenetic climax, it suddenly stops, and goes into a smooth romantic jazzy cue - sans percussion. It is Goldsmith's knack for memorable themes that allow this score to work incredibly well.
Having established a few themes in the television movie, Goldsmith was free to work with them work variations on them depending on the scene. A few cues, "Trickin' Along" and "One Way Ride" are reminiscent of his work on "The Twilight Zone", while "False Arrest" and "The Vigilantes" are strongly suggestive of the orchestral work (minus the chorals) on The Omen, done only the previous year. It is easy to compare Goldsmiths works - the solo violin in "Eulogizing" screams for comparison to Masada - but again, since this is the earlier work, the comparison should be reversed.
"Contract on Cherry Street" isn't one of Goldsmith's earlier works - it came nearly 25 years after he started scoring for television. But as Goldsmith has gone through many different scoring phases over the past few decades, it is interesting to find a soundtrack that so exemplifies the style of scoring from a particular phase. "Contract on Cherry Street" sounds almost nothing like some of Goldsmith's recent works, and it's nice to know that record companies, like Prometheus, still believe that there is an audience for these older albums. I for one am thankful, and would suggest you try to get this album if you can not only because of its limited numbers (only 2,000 CDs were manufactured), but because as an example of Goldsmith's style in the late 1970s, this score is a show reel packaged as a score.