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Chinatown

Chinatown  

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  1. 1. Does Chinatown belong on the AFI list?

    • Of course it's respectable! It's old.
      15
    • Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
      5

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  • Poll closed on 05/03/19 at 07:00 AM

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Posted (edited)

This week Paul & Amy investigate 1974's sunlit neo-noir Chinatown! They examine the charges against Roman Polanski and discuss how to watch and contextualize his work today, before diving into the film's recurring water symbolism and Faye Dunaway's superlative performance. Plus: historian and writer Hadley Meares (Curbed LA) breaks down some of the true Los Angeles history that inspired Chinatown.

 

What would your alternate title for Tootsie be? Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com  and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall

Edited by DanEngler

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Posted (edited)

John Alonzo, the cinematographer of Chinatown says that as they prepared to shoot the final scene, Polanski approached him and said that he had decided to go handheld after Evelyn gets shot, to do it documentary style, panning quickly, and then craning up, still handheld. This shot posed a lot of technical difficulties for lighting,  following focus, and finally, the issue of the camera shadow being visible on the actors. According to John Alonzo, Polanski told him "Put a hat on the camera. You’ll see a shadow if you look at the picture closely, but it will look like a hat shadow."

So they put a hat on the camera.

I tell this story because lost in the discussion of this movie on the podcast is the fact that Roman Polanski was a very shrewd and inventive director, but to hear this podcast you'd think he was a goon who did it for the cash, lucked into a good screenplay (despite the fact that the ending is all his),  the actress directed herself, and the only good thing he did for the film was to let them call him a midget in the scene that he acted in. Roman Polanski the human may be indefensible, but Roman Polanski the filmmaker deserves a lot more credit than is given to him on the podcast, for this film. It was he who composed all the shots, it was he who decided to light everything without difussion, it was he who decided that every time Jake Gittes arrives at a house, he should have to walk up a hill, or up a set of stairs, to emphasize the uphill battle he faces. He may have done it for the money, but he exercised a lot of control over the film. It's perfectly fine to say, fuck this guy, I'm not watching his movies, but if you're going to watch Chinatown and engage with it, you have to acknowledge all of Polanski's contributions to its greatness as a film.

All you have to do is look at his filmography and see the consistency of style, and the precision of his camerawork and lens choices, independent of who his cinematographer is. He trained as an actor himself, and he got great performances out of Mia Farrow, Catherine Deneuve, and Nastassja Kinsky - unless we are going to make the case that they also directed themselves.

I'll quote John Alonzo:

"Roman is a stickler for details. He wanted everything just right — Faye Dunaway’s fingernails, Jack Nicholson’s ties and coat, the color balance of the clothing against the wall, the perspective of the cyclorama, the backings outside the windows...So he led the way. He did this by staging the action in a particular way, by making certain words within a scene more important than others, by requesting that I light — and something not put light on — actors. There were times when he felt that he wanted the audience to listen to the words, as opposed to seeing the actors speak them.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m overdoing it, but I really mean it when I say that he is a very thorough and investigative type of director who gives credit where credit is due. He figures that if he has hired certain technicians, they must be good at what they do. That’s one of the things that made working with him on Chinatown a pleasure."

Finally, the podcast says that this was Robert Towne's first produced screenplay. That isn't accurate. He had already made The Last Detail.
 

Edited by Cronopio
Accuracy
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9 hours ago, Cronopio said:

 

 It's perfectly fine to say, fuck this guy, I'm not watching his movies, but if you're going to watch Chinatown and engage with it, you have to acknowledge all of Polanski's contributions to its greatness as a film.



 

That seems appropriate to me, and I like the way you put it.  When something has been celebrated as long as Chinatown and Polanski, I wonder if it's just a human temptation to try and say something fresh/interesting even if it's wrong?  Seems like you really have to try hard to argue that Chinatown was great without celebrating Polanski.

Regarding the character of the director, I don't even understand my own feelings on this stuff.  I don't know why I can still watch some classic movies with underlying issues re cast/crew but not others.  Chinatown isn't a movie I'd want to see again anyhow.  I am such a huge fan of 70s movies and film noir and Dunaway, and I know in my head that Chinatown is an incredibly well-crafted movie, but there's always been something about Chinatown that stopped me from enjoying it.  If L.A. Confidential was on cable now, it's 50/50 I'd watch it again, but not Chinatown.  It feels wrong saying it, but it's how I feel.  One of the million reasons why I couldn't be a film critic.  :)

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Next week will be interesting for me.  I'm going to try and re-watch Tootsie.  I used to love that movie--in part because my parents loved it.  I always brushed aside the bullshit in the press when Hoffman sort of embraced feminism when promoting the movie, and I always had problems with Jessica Lange's character but the good parts really appealed to me for years.  And I repeat, my parents loved that movie.  They would quote lines from the movie.  My parents are dead and watching movies together could be a pretty big deal so I get emotional about some film memories.  Also from the time I was young, some of the early Hoffman films appealed to me even though he sometimes drove me crazy with the overacting.  I loved Kramer vs. Kramer so it was tough to read a couple of years ago that he was so awful to Streep.  And now I'm not sure I can enjoy anything about Tootsie given its lip service to female power (sort of in an 80s way) in light of the sum total of stories about Hoffman.  

Also Tootsie might have the worst soundtrack of all time.  So soft 80s, so horrible.

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When you type "Faye Dunaway Chinatown" into Google, you get the auto complete "Faye Dunaway Chinatown Eyebrows", and her eyebrow game is strong.

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She kept them for Network, where she may be the best-looking woman ever filmed.

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One more from Bonnie Clyde for good luck.

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This movie left me with a disturbed and gross feeling.  I loved it.
As far as remaining on the list, I have somewhat the same attitude that they took on the podcast.  I don't mind that it's there (I voted "yes"), but wouldn't cry to see it go.

Separating art from the artist is so damn complicated.  I can not stand abusive men, yet I still listen to James Brown, Miles Davis, and The Beatles.  And if that makes me a hypocrite, then I'm am genuinely disturbed by that.  At the very least,  as an admittedly weak rationalization, I'm hoping I can enjoy Polanski films made before any allegations; because Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and Repulsion are all films worth watching and studying.

And to Paul's point, a movie is a collaborative art form.  Even in the auteur era, tens to hundreds of people work on films, and their incredible work should not be diminished because of the detestable actions of the perceived figurehead.  Honestly, it's not too difficult for me to separate art from the artist.  That's one of the reasons I hate biopics.  I care more about the actual piece or art than the douche that made it.  I think it was Marc Maron who said something like, [heavily paraphrased] "Almost all the people who make interesting art are terrible humans."

 

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Just as a piece of art, I find this movie clearly worthy of inclusion. It's beautifully made on just about every level. The thing I didn't remember all that well until this week's rewatch was just how classical the style was. I remembered a more heated, emotional movie, but the filmmaking is laid-back and subtle all the way through. It's the story itself that elicits the heat and emotion, particularly the gut-punch ending.

On Polanski and art-vs.-artist questions (and I'll preface this by saying that I can only speak to how I personally think about these things, not trying to impose my morality on anyone else): I generally have no issue with consuming already-produced art that has long been in the public domain, particularly if the artist in question is already dead (I have no ethical qualms about buying more Michael Jackson music, for example). I can see the argument for not wanting to continue supporting an artist who is likely to continue his bad behavior (R Kelly, for example). When we dig back into history and decided to "cancel" long-dead artists for being assholes, I start to think it's not so much about helping people and more about just making yourself feel better.

Another thing I struggle with is whether or not there is any room for a person to grow and change and leave behind what they used to be. Polanski drugged and raped a teenage girl in the 1970s, I have no doubt of that. It's very possible (even likely) that he did it more than once. Would my support of his art contribute to more such behavior now, or was he a really fucked-up dude back then and has since changed? The rape victim herself seems to take the view that he has. I dunno, people can make their own call on that, but I'd just want to throw that out there as something else to consider. One of the things that sometimes bugs me about #MeToo and other examples of online activism is that there doesn't seem to be any room for atonement or forgiveness: you're either a "Good" person or a "Garbage" person and that's it. Humans are more complicated than that. There are "good liberals" who will argue for convicted felons to be granted all kinds of additional rights (something I generally agree with), but then will also proclaim someone a "garbage human" based on a single rape accusation from decades ago. That seems inconsistent to me. (And I also want to be clear: I think #MeToo is a net positive as a movement, but that also doesn't mean it's perfect.)

Anyway, on Polanski: he's still alive, but I'm not sure that watching a movie he made 40 years ago on Amazon or whatever really puts any significant money into his pocket. For a new, current release, yes, I can see the logic in boycotting. Studios do care about how your new stuff performs, not so much the old stuff. I'm fine with watching his classic films and analyzing them as art produced (in part) by a troubled person. I'm also fine with one of them being on a list like the AFI 100. The recognition is for the film, not the person.

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31 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Anyway, on Polanski: he's still alive, but I'm not sure that watching a movie he made 40 years ago on Amazon or whatever really puts any significant money into his pocket. For a new, current release, yes, I can see the logic in boycotting. Studios do care about how your new stuff performs, not so much the old stuff. I'm fine with watching his classic films and analyzing them as art produced (in part) by a troubled person. I'm also fine with one of them being on a list like the AFI 100. The recognition is for the film, not the person.

Jessie Maltin brought up the whole “art vs artist” thing on Twitter awhile ago and my take was essentially if I’ve already made a personal connection with the piece of art *before* learning anything untoward regarding the artist, then I can generally continue to appreciate the art on its own merits. At that point, the piece of art is, in effect, “mine” and I can kind of compartmentalize my feelings. However, like you said, I probably wouldn’t buy any “new” media from the person.

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Yea, everyone can and should make their own threshold of tolerance for these things.

But my line is generally: I can keep things separate for the most part, but I think about whether I'm participating in their perversion.  For instance, Miles Davis and John Lennon don't actually write songs about domestic abuse, so it feels safer to enjoy their art -- their real and artist personas feel more separate, and their art can live on its own. R. Kelly, though, writes "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number." It's right there, and you can't avoid it and it's gross.

There's a lot of examples now, and I guess basically I take it on a case-by-case basis.

I definitely understand though if people can't listen to like Michael Jackson or watch Roman Polanski anymore though. (And I definitely agree, re: new media from anyone like this.)

1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

One of the things that sometimes bugs me about #MeToo and other examples of online activism is that there doesn't seem to be any room for atonement or forgiveness: you're either a "Good" person or a "Garbage" person and that's it.

Right this is true, but I take it as the growing pains of a new cultural action, basically. We should get more nuanced. We may wrongly sweep some tolerable actions into the intolerable category, but maybe that's what has to happen here at the start of this valid movement. As you say it's not perfect, but I think it could and will move towards being more perfect in time. (Nothing's ever totally perfect.)

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1 minute ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Right this is true, but I take it as the growing pains of a new cultural action, basically. We should get more nuanced. We may wrongly sweep some tolerable actions into the intolerable category, but maybe that's what has to happen here at the start of this valid movement. As you say it's not perfect, but I think it could and will move towards being more perfect in time. (Nothing's ever totally perfect.)

That's also my feeling on it. I mean, it already feels safer for me to make that criticism of the movement now than it did a year ago, so things have softened a bit.

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4 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

But my line is generally: I can keep things separate for the most part, but I think about whether I'm participating in their perversion.  For instance, Miles Davis and John Lennon don't actually write songs about domestic abuse, so it feels safer to enjoy their art -- their real and artist personas feel more separate, and their art can live on its own. R. Kelly, though, writes "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number." It's right there, and you can't avoid it and it's gross.

This is why I'm still mostly okay with Annie Hall, but why I can never watch Manhattan again.

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Art vs Artist is something I've really wrestled with for a long time. It really came down to the slope of "If I'm not going to support the work of a known rapist like Polanski, would I support the work of a probable rapist like Bryan Singer? Can I never watch a Hitchcock movie again? I don't want to support physical abuse either. Could I watch a Mel Gibson movie? What if the abuser didn't direct it but starred in it? Could I watch a Sean Connery Bond movie? Josh Brolin abused his wife. Can I watch End Game?" And it just kept going like that to smaller crimes and smaller parts of the creative process.

Ultimately, it came down to a case by case basis. Some people I can't separate from their crimes and some I can. It's definitely hypocritical of me but I don't know a way to watch another movie without being hypocritical in some way. I certainly wouldn't judge someone for choosing to not watch a Polanski movie and I won't judge them for watching it either.
 

4 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea, everyone can and should make their own threshold of tolerance for these things.

But my line is generally: I can keep things separate for the most part, but I think about whether I'm participating in their perversion.  For instance, Miles Davis and John Lennon don't actually write songs about domestic abuse, so it feels safer to enjoy their art -- their real and artist personas feel more separate, and theirart can live on its own. R. Kelly, though, writes "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number." It's right there, and you can't avoid it and it's gross.

Lennon did write Run For Your Life which is about as open a song as he could write about abusing his wife.

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9 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Lennon did write Run For Your Life which is about as open a song as he could write about abusing his wife.

Also the Bridge in “Getting Better.” (“I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her from things that she loved.”) I will have more to say about Lennon though in a minute.

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15 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Lennon did write Run For Your Life which is about as open a song as he could write about abusing his wife.

He stole that lyric from an Elvis song, but yea if I'm not being hypocrite here, maybe my test needs some reworking. Don't want to defend Lennon, he's not my favorite at all.

But it does lead to a wider question though - do artists get to create characters? Is everything they write supposed to be heard or seen as autobiography? What if like George Harrison wrote a "Run For Your Life"? Can someone write a song about angry jealousy, or is it just verboten?

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I think personal accountability and how the behavior is brought to light counts for a lot as well. For instance, take John Lennon. People like to bring up the quote, “I was a hitter” when they talk about his abuse, but the full quote and its context means a lot. The full quote is:  

It is a diary form of writing. All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace...I am not a violent man, who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.”

That interview, one of his last, was him and the interviewer going through every song The Beatles wrote and what they “mean.” What’s important to me is that he wasn’t exposed, he revealed. The reviewer wasn’t bringing it up because he was confronting Lennon with some dark rumor, Lennon volunteered the information. There’s a good chance, had he not said anything, the public would never have known anything about it. This is very unlike most of these stories where you have accusers and some level of cover up. In effect, Lennon was his own accuser, which for me, makes his contrition feel more sincere.

No, it doesn’t excuse things he did when he was younger, but it does show some self-awareness and personal growth. He even acknowledges that people will hate him when they learn the truth, and he’s honest enough to admit, “I’m scared about that.” That feels more human to me. Much more than, say, The Rolling Stones that “pretend” raped a woman as a “joke” for a documentary to appear “edgy” and then sued the filmmaker to prevent its release.

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15 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

He stole that lyric from an Elvis song, but yea if I'm not being hypocrite here, maybe my test needs some reworking. Don't want to defend Lennon, he's not my favorite at all.

But it does lead to a wider question though - do artists get to create characters? Is everything they write supposed to be heard or seen as autobiography? What if like George Harrison wrote a "Run For Your Life"? Can someone write a song about angry jealousy, or is it just verboten?

Yeah, it's one line from another song but Lennon expanded on it to make an entire song about abuse.

Artists can absolutely create characters. I would never argue otherwise. Lennon, in this instance, wasn't creating a character. He was abusive. He has admitted it and I believe later said the song was about his wife. 

2 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I think personal accountability and how the behavior is brought to light counts for a lot as well. For instance, take John Lennon. People like to bring up the quote, “I was a hitter” when they talk about his abuse, but the full quote and its context means a lot. The full quote is:  

It is a diary form of writing. All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace...I am not a violent man, who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.”

That interview, one of his last, was him and the interviewer going through every song The Beatles wrote and what they “mean.” What’s important to me is that he wasn’t exposed, he revealed. The reviewer wasn’t bringing it up because he was confronting Lennon with some dark rumor, Lennon volunteered the information. There’s a good chance, had he not said anything, the public would never have known anything about it. This is very unlike most of these stories where you have accusers and some level of cover up. In effect, Lennon was his own accuser, which for me, makes his contrition feel more sincere.

No, it doesn’t excuse things he did when he was younger, but it does show some self-awareness and personal growth. He even acknowledges that people will hate him when they learn the truth, and he’s honest enough to admit, “I’m scared about that.” That feels more human to me. Much more than, say, The Rolling Stones that “pretend” raped a woman as a “joke” for a documentary to be “edgy” and then sued the filmmaker to prevent its release.

There's a reason I didn't reference Getting Better as a song about abuse. That always felt like Lennon recognizing his violent past.

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16 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

There's a reason I didn't reference Getting Better as a song about abuse. That always felt like Lennon recognizing his violent past.

Especially since the rest of the lyric is, “Man, I was mean, but I’m changing my scene, I’m doing the best that I can.”

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I'm so glad that Paul brought up Jerry Goldsmith's score. I saw Chinatown for the first time as a boy in the 70's. Honestly, I think I may have been 10 years old. Anyway, other than my general lack of understanding of  what was happening in the film, what truly stuck out for me was the music. It wasn't until  I was older and had seen the film again, that the score not only stood out, but really helped tell the story.  It's fascinating that a complete score had been composed and Polanski refused it. Friedkin did the same thing with The Exorcist. Maybe that was a real 70's thing to do?

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I've been enjoying these podcasts. I'm listening to the new ones and trying to catch up on the earlier ones. I have one general comment on the ongoing discussion of whether this or that film should be on or off the list. I begin with the proposition that the notion of ranking the best American films is absurd. There is no reliable formula through which one can accurately rank films, and the project becomes especially difficult if we factor in changing technology and changing cultural values. Anyhow, art is not a contest. But I do like the list to the extent that it suggests that the films on it are worth watching--100 or so films that everyone ought to see. So I'm less interested in taking a film off the list than I am on expanding the list, which I would put in alphabetical order.

Oh, on films by women directors that should be on the "worth watching list," how about Katheryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker? And although it probably has no chance of making this list, I thought Chloé Zhao's The Rider was superb.

Finally, a comment on Chinatown, which I will preface by saying that Amy and Paul did as wonderful job (as usual and despite my lingering doubts about the seaworthiness of the Titanic).  Toward the end of the episode, Amy suggested that some glimmer of hope would have created a better tone, maybe a better sense of Towne's L.A. But the flag of hope was raised when Jake stepped out of his role as an indifferent and disinterested divorce P.I. and tried to help Mrs. Mulray escape to Mexico. To me, he was not motivated by ego or self interest. He wanted to do the right thing, and he briefly dons the armor of Raymond Chandler's good knight--dressed down as Paul pointed out--and enters the true film noir world of the night in the climactic scene. Here hope perishes, just as it does it most noir films, and the film ends just as one might expect from a director whose parents perished in the holocaust and whose wife died at the hands of Charles Manson. No, it's not Towne's L.A. It's Polanski's harsh reality.

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Taking the conversation back to the film itself, ultimately, I have to agree with Amy and Paul. I don’t mind that Chinatown is on the list, it’s a really good movie, but I wouldn’t exactly shed any tears to see it go.

My primary issue with Chinatown is that I don’t really see it breaking any new ground. Or, at least, not in any meaningful way. It kind of reminded me of when comic books take a pre-established superhero and try to make them “edgier” or “more realistic,” but when it really comes down to it, the difference is mostly cosmetic. (I was especially reminded of this when Paul brought up the movie code that said bad guys must always be punished, which sounds an awful lot like the Comics Code.) For me, Chinatown was like Marvel’s MAX line. Like, if Marvel were to do a MAX limited series of Daredevil, they might bring in a top writer and artist, they might make it bloodier, more violent, replace the grawlixes with actual curse words, and show full frontal nudity, but when you get right down to it, it’s still about a blind man with superpowers beating up bad guys. It’s not that the quality would be bad, but it wouldn’t really be doing anything that hasn’t already been done. It’s just kind of “extra” - in the pejorative sense. It’s pretty much bringing the same dish to the table as Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, or The Big Sleep, just slathered in Frank’s Hot Sauce (because Chinatown puts that shit on everything)

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Chinatown totally deserves to be on the list, and it would wild for it to not be on a list of top-100.

Maybe it doesn't break new ground, and no offense, but calling all the noirs the 'same dish' seems to be missing a lot about Chinatown, imo. I don't see it as the same as those other noir at all, and I'm not even sure it is one either. Regardless, I gather it may have started as one, but it dropped a lot of the main characteristics (voiceover, black & white, etc.) and it became its own individual film. That's why the filmmaking is impressive, imo; all those decisions that turned it into a masterpiece. (Not to mention the writing and acting which are all perfect too.)

I think because of this, it's an even bleaker commentary on humanity than even the darkest noirs. Everyone liked the bleakness of man revealed in Sierra Madre; why not here? It's easy to distance yourself from Double Indemnity and be like, I wouldn't fall for this, it's just a character, etc. Here, you can't avoid it. *shudders*

I loved the film before I listened to the pod, and interestingly, hearing Amy & Paul talk about it - even though they didn't love it, it seems - made me like it more! They did a great job bringing up all the details and layers I hadn't considered in first watch -- similarly to what they did that increased my enjoyment of All About Eve.

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Regardless, I gather it may have started as one, but it dropped a lot of the main characteristics (voiceover, black & white, etc.) and it became its own individual film.

The things that you’re describing as being typical noir are what I mean by it being cosmetically different. Also, I don’t feel like something being in “black and white” or having a “voiceover” defines something as being distinctly noir. Being black and white certainly isn’t unique to noir, and not all noirs have voiceover (I want to say The Big Sleep doesn’t, nor The Third Man - although I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong :)) 

Just looking at the definition online it says film noir is “a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace” all of which are present in Chinatown. I would also add to that most noir features a morally gray protagonist - also featured in Chinatown. 

By saying “the same dish,” I wasn’t saying that they are the same movie. That would be like saying High Noon and Young Guns are the “same dish” because they’re both Westerns. I’m saying that aside from more explicit sex and violence, there isn’t anything so original about Chinatown that it couldn’t have been done in the 30’s or 40’s - perhaps even better. Hell, it’s even set during that time period. There didn’t feel like any attempt to put any kind of distinctive spin on it. In my opinion, I feel like Blade Runner is far more successful at taking the noir template, modernizing it, and applying it in a new and interesting way. 

As I said above, I like Chinatown. I have no problem with it being on the list. And based on the poll, only one person here has said it shouldn’t be on the list. That being said, it’s not going to be the hill I die on. I feel like Chinatown is like a pretty decent cover song. It hits all the right notes, but it doesn’t feel personalized or really try to redefine itself in any meaningful way . It never even tries to change the key. It’s the Fine Young Cannibals’ cover of “Suspicious Minds” when it could have been Jimi Hendrix’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower” or Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt.”

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37 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

The things that you’re describing as being typical noir are what I mean by it being cosmetically different.

I could go deeper?  There's a vast difference in showing one man being tempted by crime, and say, showing a whole corrupt society hidden in plain sight. To me, the main point is that society is fucked up; not one man being corrupt(ed). That's a huge difference to me, that classic noirs don't usually do. (I'm sure someone will 'well actually' that with some example, but in general.)

By that vague definition you found though, almost anything could be noir (i'd argue Treasure of the Sierra Madre fits it).  It totally ignores the cinematic conventions of a typical noir. We're talking about cinema. You have to include some cinema in the definition; and that is what Chinatown subverts and establishes its own self. What is the similarity here between this and Double Indemnity?  There's very little besides the time period and a story centered on crime. I just don't see how it's the same key. Maybe you don't find it interesting, but it's not that similar.

I would say it is Hendrix's "All Along The Watchtower", easy. Dylan's original is the best, but the cover goes places the original never imagined.

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