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Author Topic: Chinatown (1974)  (Read 31544 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #135 on: April 03, 2012, 07:51:15 PM »

It's a film I've watched many times, and will watch many times more, due in large part to the music.

Sorry the music didn't do anything for me. I'd watch it again & again for the interesting plot.

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« Reply #136 on: April 03, 2012, 08:17:19 PM »

DJ I'm glad you enjoyed my post of the John Alonzo interview, but I'm afraid I really don't follow your interpretation of it.

Film noir was shot in what is called "low key" light. That is to say that the ratio between the hard, direct "key" light and the soft, diffused "filler" light was huge. This was very different from the standard practice of having a small ratio between the two which used the diffused filler light extensively to even out the harsh shadows caused by the key light. The Femme Fatales were shot in this "low key" light to give them a harsher, more accentuated, beauty that suited their roles perfectly. Consequently when Polanski asked Alonzo to shoot without diffusion, he was basically asking him to shoot her in a noir style.

As for the lens, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think a 40mm anamorphic lens is extremely wide. Allowing the edges of the film to go dark would create a very claustrophobic noir look which, as Alonzo puts it, creates an effect like an old-fashioned view camera.

Consequently, in terms of cinematography, Chinatown is very much Polanski's homage to film noir. The style has just been updated in accordance with more modern technology to make it the very epitome of "neo-noir".

To give you a good counterpoint, L.A. Confidential is often called a "neo-noir" but in terms of cinematography it does not qualify.

One thing I did notice that may be caused by the use of the 40mm anamorphic lens is the cars weirdly all look too squatty, they should look longer, its hard to explain
if you are not familiar with them. I noticed this continually, in all the vehicle sequences.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #137 on: April 03, 2012, 08:31:21 PM »

Some interesting material here: http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=8394

Two things in this surprise me, and I wonder if they can be right. First, the statement that Towne and Evans disagreed over the ending. It's the first I've heard of this. The disagreement between Towne and Polanski is well documented, but maybe there was a subsequent disagreement with Evans.

Second, can it be true that some of Cortez's work survives in the finished film? Given the fact that the two cinematographers' styles were so different, this is hard to believe. I'd like to see more information detailing exactly where the Cortez material is (until which point I will remain highly sceptical of the assertion).

There is one sequence near the beginning where there are strong Venetian blind shadows upon a wall... Cortez possibly?

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« Reply #138 on: April 04, 2012, 08:26:41 AM »

I don't know if I completely agree about that, it could be a case of there not being many suitable outdoor LA locations left that are going to resemble anything close to circa 1935 LA so that was the only route to take.
Yes, Polanski in this case may have made a virtue of necessity, but how does that alter the fact of what he did? Regardless of the why, P used fewer establishing shots then others working in Hollywood at the time.

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« Reply #139 on: April 04, 2012, 08:27:38 AM »

This I don't agree with I just got done watching and do not even remember the score.
Then the fault is not with the score.

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« Reply #140 on: April 04, 2012, 03:16:27 PM »

Then the fault is not with the score.

lol, I usually remember a great score immediately, (I'm watching the special features as I type with the soundtrack playing) this is ok but nothing outstanding.

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« Reply #141 on: April 11, 2012, 08:23:29 AM »

In the comments section of the piece reproduced above is this interesting comment (from our old friend and erstwhile Leone board poster, Richard--W.!):


Hate to kick a man when he's not here but that seems awfully close to the "trivia" he claims not to find interesting. Cheesy

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« Reply #142 on: September 14, 2013, 07:15:28 AM »

An interesting link that ties into the plot of Chinatown: http://waterandpower.org/museum/St.%20Francis%20Dam%20Disaster.html

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« Reply #143 on: September 14, 2013, 11:38:47 AM »

Nice find, CJ. I found this summation interesting:
Quote
The disaster was primarily caused by the ancient landslide material on which the eastern abutment of the dam was built, which would have been impossible for the geologists of the 1920s to detect. Two of the world's leading geologists at the time, John C. Branner of Stanford University and Carl E. Grunsky, had found no fault with the San Francisquito rock. Therefore, an inquest jury determined responsibility for the disaster lay with the governmental organizations which oversaw the dam's construction and the dam's designer and engineer, Mulholland, but cleared Mulholland of any charges, since neither he nor anyone else at the time could have known of the instability of the rock formations on which the dam was built.

This sounds very close to how the dam disaster was explained in Chinatown.

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« Reply #144 on: November 16, 2013, 10:15:18 AM »

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-l-a-aqueduct-that-made-roman-polanskis-chinatown-famous-a-new-ucla-archive.html

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« Reply #145 on: November 16, 2013, 10:46:36 AM »

 Afro Afro Afro

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« Reply #146 on: November 16, 2013, 01:50:30 PM »

Definitely, thanks. Afro The 54-minute embedded interview with Polanski is essential viewing. I'm glad they front-load the piece with Chinatown; you can then stay on for the rest of his career or not, as you choose.

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