Chinatown All Purpose Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by PhilBorder, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    Watched the Anniversary Edition with Fincher and Towne's commentary, which just reiterated my stratospheric esteem for this movie. With Fincher's possible prequel series at Netflix, and the recent "Big Goodbye" book about its production, it seems all the more timely. As Jake says in the sequel "It never goes away."

    Fincher's comments are mostly insightful, and a bit amusing when he suggested things he would do differently. Nonetheless, he makes a good point about the relentlessly controlled perspective throughout the film, that essentially locks the audience into Gittes' p.o.v. and gradual understanding of how deep the corruption goes.

    Towne point out that some of the elements that contribute to its greatness, such as the reocurring 'double' of one perfect and one flawed- a watch, an iris, glasses- just naturally happened. Others like Jerry Goldsmith last minute score, were once in a lifetime lucky breaks.
     
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  2. " Bad for the glass "
     
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  3. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    I think John Huston was possibly the all time most entertaining human being even seen on screen, so him as a thoroughly evil piece of work is going to make this one of the greatest films!
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    The best NOIR ever, and arguably the best film ever, with what are the best Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway performances ever, still have a hard time watching the nose scene.
     
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  5. I probably hadn't seen ' Chinatown' in over 20 years but inspired by this thread I watched it last night.
    Good as ever ! Maybe even better! Faye Dunaway at her bitchiest best and Jack Nicholson in probably his best role and that's saying something.
     
  6. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    A deleted scene that apparently was filmed. Adding it wouldn't have hurt the movie, and it would effectively set up the 'Orange Grove' scene that follows. It would be one of the few instances where the movie showed the effect of the drought, and the desperation taking hold on the general population outside the main narrative. But it wasn't necessary like everything else in the movie is, so it wasn't used

    the edit room floor: a lost scene from "Chinatown"
     
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  7. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Seeker of Truth

    Location:
    NYC
    Interesting look at the Los Angeles water shortfall and corruption becomes a memorable film.
     
  8. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    At first I liked Lou the lieutenant, Mort the mortician, etc. But now it seems too "cute"...wish Polanski didn't go there.
     
  9. Timeless Classics

    Timeless Classics Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I was unaware of some of the Polanksi backstory to the film, and now understanding it, I get more the darker ending choice and overall tone of the movie. Reading a recent article in the Washington Post on the groundbreaking film, "Towne’s original screenplay was literate, finely detailed, and full of unexpected twists and turns. His characters were three-dimensional — 'based on life,' as he once put it, 'not other movies.' But for all its genius, the script was also confusing and over-plotted, and lacked a coherent ending. Evans recruited Polanski, who ruthlessly supervised Towne’s rewrite. Polanski also insisted on a darker, more appropriately brutal conclusion. Polanski was a brilliant filmmaker but a spiritually maimed human being. Raised in prewar Poland, his pregnant mother murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz, Polanski found his trauma compounded 25 years later when his beautiful wife, actress Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant, was slaughtered in their Beverly Hills home along with four others by followers of Charles Manson. 'The certainty of loss had corrupted his every longing, and his resultant sadness summoned up the worst in him,' Wasson writes. Polanski not only helped fix the screenplay, he brought a deliberate and melancholy sensibility to the making of the movie." https://www.washingtonpost.com/outl...c54a24-2116-11ea-86f3-3b5019d451db_story.html
     
  10. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    That's actually a good description of the Two Jakes, which is a couple turns too convoluted. Makes one appreciate the rigorous and direct approach Polanski took to ensure audiences could follow Chinatown's winding narrative. I think Nicholson was too close to the "Two Jakes" and didn't recognize the script problems
     
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  11. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    I can't remember the exact instructions Goldsmith gave to Rasey, but it was something like 'play it like you're making love, except it's in a whorehouse'

    I defy anyone listening to the theme to envision anything but a very hot humid night with no breeze.

    Brilliant.
     
  12. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Forum Resident

    I just ordered used copy of the 2012 Blu-ray. I'm going to screen fpr a friend who's never seen the movie. Based on Polanski's subsequent track record, the sub plot with the grand daughter is icky, but it's still a fabulous work of art. I'm surprised that a film that has been included in the National Film Registry hasn't been reissued in 4K UHD.
     
  13. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    Nice, atmospheric variations on Bunny Berigan's I Can't Get Started, which only briefly and faintly "appears" in the film (though in full on the short soundtrack album).
     
  14. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    I wish David Fincher would try to get Towne to finish the screenplay for the 3rd part of the trilogy and even get Nicholson back on camera once more (story might have to be adjusted for the 60's instead of the 50's). Although the prequel could be interesting, presumably as it would explore some of the allusions Gittes made to his time on the police force
     
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  15. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Forum Resident

    I thought Mr. Nicholson has retired?
     
  16. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    Not retired. But he quit acting sometime in the mid-1980s.
     
  17. IndyTodd

    IndyTodd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fishers, Indiana
    His final role, as of now, was in 2010. Nicholson was in about 20-30 films after the mid-1980s, including some very high profile films.

    There has been talk that he started having trouble remembering his lines and just decided to call it a day after 2010. I could see him maybe popping up in a cameo or minor role but otherwise it sounds like he's retired.

    Wish they would put out a 4k UHD for Chinatown. I hope that (at the latest) that happens for the 50th anniversary in a few years. I know that there is a 4K streaming version but I prefer 4k discs and also the reviews for the 4k streaming video quality haven't been as good as I hoped they would be.
     
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  18. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    IIRC the entire soundtrack is only 23 minutes of music, which is less than one might expect for a 2 hour film. I wonder if the last minutes music replacement meant that Goldsmith just didn't have time to score all the scenes Polanski wanted scored

    Nonetheless the music seems to hauntingly pervade the film.
     
  19. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    Though essentially based on I Can't Get Started, I always wondered whether Goldsmith had this song (featuring a young John Coltrane) in the back of his mind when scoring the film.

     
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