Sunday, January 20, 2008

Forget It Jake ...


... it's Chinatown ...

Flipping around the channels and happened across "Chinatown," last light. Been a while since I've seen it, and naturally, I got hooked into it again.

Movie gets better every time. As good an example of late film noire (and in color!) form as exists. It won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, for Robert Towne, and it sparkles.

Everybody else was nominated for best something: Jack Nicholson, for best actor; Faye Dunaway, for best actress, Polanski for direction -- his last American movie before he skipped the country to avoid going to jail after his conviction for sleeping with a little girl who was twelve or thirteen. Music by Goldsmith; cinematography; editing; best picture, should have won them all, but it was up against Godfather II, which also wasn't bad.

Nicholson was brilliant, and he carried the picture, was in almost every scene. Polanski even gave himself a bit part as a knife-wielding thug. Yeah, he's a child-molestor, and piss on him, but he was a great director.

If you haven't seen it, do. That scene with Gittes slapping Mrs. Mulray is as freaky a movie moment as any, and unforgettable ...

5 comments:

J.D. Ray said...

I think part of the problem is that we've replaced glamor with glitz. There's no elegance in movie stars today, and those few who try to be a little aloof or reclusive are tagged as weird hermits by the popular press who can't get a herd of paparazzi in front of them every time they take a bite of food.

Dave Huss said...

I think it is also laziness. It's a lot easier to show your naked ass and get attention then actually act. Look to what extremes actresses like Jessica Alba have to go to defend their "No Nudity" clauses in their contracts. I mean like could you ever imagine Betty Davis in a nude sex scene like Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball"? And she won a best actress Oscar.
I guess "when in Rome" give them blood, sex and violence.
Dave

Dan Moran said...

There's still class out there. I'll stack Michelle Pfeiffer up against any of the greats.

Steve Perry said...

There are still great actors and actresses, of course. Times have changed, the world has left that era behind, and on balance, it's a better place in many ways.

The cult of celebrity has always been around, but a heard of maddened photographers stalking movie stars' every move isn't an improvement.

Marilyn Monroe just pretended to be a dumb blonde. Some of today's hot young things? I don't think they are pretending. I feel sorry for them. Too rich, too famous, too fast, and they can't handle it.

The classic VH1 Behind-the-Music arc. Sad.

Steve Perry said...

That's "herd." Not "heard." Although I might could make a case for noisy paparazzi ...