Saturday, July 18, 2009


Right now I'm watching "Chinatown," which is not only a great flick, it takes me back to another time like no other.

Directed by Roman Polanski "Chinatown" premiered at the Biograph Theatre on June 28, 1974. In my nearly 12 years as manager of that cinema, I can't remember being more stunned by the first screening of a movie.

During the film's run the Biograph's staff and regular patrons played at finding obscure foreshadowing clues and such in the background and dialogue. Clearly, it was rare fun for us to have the best first-run picture in town, exclusively, for most of a summer. Then we closed for a quickie renovation, which converted the Biograph into a twin cinema.
Forget it, Jake ... it's Chinatown.
"Chinatown" remains my all-time favorite to this day.

-- Illustration by F.T. Rea


Jim said...

Don't forget that part of the movie (the water theft) is based on real incidents back when LA first put in the aqueduct, draining the Owens Valley dry.

Phil said...

It's a spectacular movie.

I always liked John Huston, specifically as a director, but I could never look at him the same way after he played Noah Cross in Chinatown.

"She's my sister...she's my daughter"....ick....

Anonymous said...

Favorite foreshadowing : Dunaway's reply to Nicholson's noting that she appeared to have something in her eye -

"It's a flaw in the iris; kind of a birthmark."

Foreshadowed event : fatal gunshot wound through that eye in the final scene.

Washington, DC

bruce said...

My favorite line was when Huston told him, "I hope you don't mind, I like to serve my fish with the head on." Nicholson replies, "Just as long as you don't serve your chicken that way."

F.T. Rea said...

Noah Cross (John Huston): 'Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable, if they last long enough."

mz said...

"Just find the girl, Mr. Gitts."
Noah Cross is one of the best drawn, creepiest movie villains of all time. He's playing for immortality, figuring how to matter long after he's gone. Jake says "Why are you doing it? What can you buy that you can't already afford?"
Noah Cross: "The future, Mr. Gitts, the future."