Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 14, 2017, 12:10:54 PM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Other/Miscellaneous
| |-+  Off-Topic Discussion (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  Chinatown (1974)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Chinatown (1974)  (Read 31555 times)
The Firecracker
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 9672


Rub me the wrong way, and I'll go off in your face


View Profile
« on: March 03, 2008, 05:13:47 PM »

If you ask the question "what was the best American film of the 70's" most people would say Godfather or Taxi Driver as their answer. Not me. Chinatown runs circles around those two overly indulgent movies.

I was surprised this has yet to have a thread here. I'd be interested in hearing what everybody's thoughts on the film are.

To me it is probably the best American movie of recent history (past 45 years), along with Little Big Man and Bonnie and Clyde.

Even if Polanski is a rapist piece of shit, there is no denying his talent.


« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 05:43:56 PM by The Firecracker » Logged



The Official COMIN' AT YA! re-release site
http://cominatyanoir3d.com/
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13705

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 06:04:43 PM »

I like this film better than anything Francis Fraud Crap-ola ever made, and better than Scorcese's 70s pictures (with the exception, maybe, of New York, New York). It's got a good story, a fantastic score, great cinematography, and of course, bravura performances (I fault the art direction a bit: everything looks too new, too unused, like we're looking at displays in a museum). Nicholson is great, Dunaway was never better, Burt Young is Burt Young, and Huston is . . . well, the bit where he says , "Mr. Gittes, I drink your milkshake," always gives me goosebumps. Easily the best Hollywood film in its year of release.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Noodles_SlowStir
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 544



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 09:37:28 PM »

Definitely what Dave said.  Not only is it one of the great films, it's also one of my favorites.  As mentioned, from opening credits to ending credits, it's a film that approaches perfection on a level that most can't even imagine.  When I watch it,  I always consider how superior it is to The Godfather Part II.  Not surprisingly, the academy definitely blew that one as well.  Besides Huston and Young, a lot of the other supporting performances are pretty nice too (Diane Ladd, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Joe Mantell, Bruce Glover and James Hong).  Had a chance to see it on the big screen as well  Afro.       

Logged

geoman-1
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1163


In everyone's life there is a "Summer of '42"


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008, 04:06:05 PM »

I think I would include this film in my top 10 of all times. A true classic.
And I especially loved the soundtrack that created that ambiance in the
film. Afro

Logged
Tucumcari Bound
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5814



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 04:17:10 PM »

I like this film better than anything Francis Fraud Crap-ola ever made, and better than Scorcese's 70s pictures (with the exception, maybe, of New York, New York). It's got a good story, a fantastic score, great cinematography, and of course, bravura performances (I fault the art direction a bit: everything looks too new, too unused, like we're looking at displays in a museum). Nicholson is great, Dunaway was never better, Burt Young is Burt Young, and Huston is . . . well, the bit where he says , "Mr. Gittes, I drink your milkshake," always gives me goosebumps. Easily the best Hollywood film in its year of release.

Francis Ford Crapola? You're nuts.

Logged



"This train'll stop at Tucumbari."
The Firecracker
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 9672


Rub me the wrong way, and I'll go off in your face


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 04:25:25 PM »

Francis Ford Crapola? You're nuts.


Francis FRAUD Crapola, If you please. Wink

Logged



The Official COMIN' AT YA! re-release site
http://cominatyanoir3d.com/
PowerRR
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3008


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008, 04:40:11 PM »

One of the best of 70's cinema, for sure.

Logged
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13705

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 11:07:22 AM »

This film would be merely great if it weren't for Polanski's mise-en-scene, which takes the whole thing to a higher level of art. Unlike American directors, he tends not to use many establishing shots. Instead, he jumps right into a scene, forcing viewers to pay strict attention.

Here is a rare example of an establishing shot, one of only a handful in the film.


Early on, Polanski establishes his use of depth-of-field.


Here he combines depth-of-field with a character POV shot.


Character POV shots are infrequent, Polanski preferring over-the-shoulder ones that enable us to see what Nicholson's character sees from the side (we aren't the character, but we are with him). Polanski never follows these with reaction shots of Nicholson: he lets us make up our own minds about things.




When using characters in a depth-of-field shot, Polanski likes to cover three planes whenever possible: foreground, middle, and back.


He is not, post-Antonioni, above the occasional tableau:


He can also produce a tableau with impressive depth-of-field:


A three-plane depth-of-field shot with two actors: Nicholson's reflection in the background glass completes the triad.


Here is an excellent example of P's compositional technique in a single-take scene. John Hillerman, in the foreground, is looking at Nicholson, middle, who is looking at another man, back. The axis is right-to-left.


Hillerman crosses to frame left, creating a triangle that speaks to the conflict generating in the scene.


The triangle collapses; tension mounts.


Tension is diffused, and a new alignment is established, left to right. The new character has supplanted Nicholson and is now in the middle position; Nicholson, about to exit behind elevator doors, is now in the background.


Symmetry is all: bye bye for now.


« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 12:28:52 PM by dave jenkins » Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13705

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 12:23:13 PM »

The Leone connection:









Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13705

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2008, 01:25:58 PM »

Speaking of Leone, has it occurred to anyone else that Chinatown does for the PI film what OUATITW did for the Western? I've spotted allusions and even direct quotes to The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
T.H.
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1771



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2008, 02:04:51 PM »

Great post, Jenkins. I'm going to have to revisit Chinatown in the next few days and watch with your comments directly in mind.

The "OUATITW of film noir" question you pose is very intriguing and to give an answer, I don't think it's quite the post-modern farewell/love letter to the genre. Like you said, the film is too pretty; and while I think it's one of the finer American movies I've seen, I think the fact that it's not filmed in B&W makes it void of that claim alone. Chinatown is also idiosyncratic in how it was made. It's almost if someone described the genre at length to Polanski and Towne and they said to themselves, "Yeah, I could do that". I don't think they necessary "blew up" and dissected the genre in the manner of Leone and co. I hope this post made some sense, it feels very awkward to me.

Logged


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre. What did you think of the script?
titoli
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8010



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2008, 03:22:12 PM »

If you ask the question "what was the best American film of the 70's" most people would say Godfather or Taxi Driver as their answer.

Depending on their age. I don't know much about these questions, but I presume that in USA Star Wars would be a more likely contender for the Godafather. And is Taxi Driver that popular in the USA?



Logged

dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13705

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2008, 09:48:25 PM »

The "OUATITW of film noir" question you pose is very intriguing and to give an answer, I don't think it's quite the post-modern farewell/love letter to the genre. Like you said, the film is too pretty; and while I think it's one of the finer American movies I've seen, I think the fact that it's not filmed in B&W makes it void of that claim alone. Chinatown is also idiosyncratic in how it was made. It's almost if someone described the genre at length to Polanski and Towne and they said to themselves, "Yeah, I could do that". I don't think they necessary "blew up" and dissected the genre in the manner of Leone and co. I hope this post made some sense, it feels very awkward to me.
I was careful not to mention "film noir" which I think is something of a myth; I had in mind the more specific category of the private detective film, of which there aren't all that many. As I said, I think there are definite references to PI films in Chinatown. The first visit to the Mulray house, for example, closely resembles Bogart's arrival at the Sternwood mansion at the beginning of The Big Sleep. There is even a couple shots of a car being washed (referencing the plot point in TBS having to do with the Sternwood's chauffeur), which has absolutely nothing to do with anything in Chinatown.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
T.H.
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1771



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2008, 03:49:45 PM »

I was careful not to mention "film noir" which I think is something of a myth; I had in mind the more specific category of the private detective film, of which there aren't all that many. As I said, I think there are definite references to PI films in Chinatown. The first visit to the Mulray house, for example, closely resembles Bogart's arrival at the Sternwood mansion at the beginning of The Big Sleep. There is even a couple shots of a car being washed (referencing the plot point in TBS having to do with the Sternwood's chauffeur), which has absolutely nothing to do with anything in Chinatown.

Sorry for the misinterpretation of your original question, but wouldn't Chinatown be more of a nod to Chandler than say the PI film? I certainly see the similarities and am familiar with the scenes in question, but I really don't have a suitable answer. I will need to look further into this subject as I don't see any other direct references to other PI films. Consider me stumped for now.

Logged


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre. What did you think of the script?
The Firecracker
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 9672


Rub me the wrong way, and I'll go off in your face


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2008, 03:58:47 PM »

And is Taxi Driver that popular in the USA?

Its canonization is a mystery to me.

Logged



The Official COMIN' AT YA! re-release site
http://cominatyanoir3d.com/
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.045 seconds with 19 queries.