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 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:45 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I'm not sure who "the bad guys" are who show up at the end of Chinatown. L.A. Police? Gitte's operatives? Mulwray is there because he and Mulvihill make Jake drive them to Chinatown where Evelyn is trying to escape to Mexico with her daughter aboard Curly's skip.

A very tidy ending, if you ask me. Or do you prefer Towne's original ending?


What's the original ending?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   Rnelson   (Member)



I consider the FILM as a whole tidy (space, time, realism)


Please elaborate on that. I have to hear your view on this. Start with defining "tidy".

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Evelyn escapes.

Polanski hated it and re-wrote the ending which Towne now feels worked better.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:49 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Evelyn escapes.

Polanski hated it and re-wrote the ending which Towne now feels worked better.


Ah, I see. Thanks. Guess we'd have to see it executed to know if it had worked or not.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)



I consider the FILM as a whole tidy (space, time, realism)


Please elaborate on that. I have to hear your view on this. Start with defining "tidy".


'Tidy' as relating to the aristotelian rules of narrative. It's all connected, it all makes sense and there's no short cuts or desperate measures. It's a well-told story.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Not really.

It was quite the tempest in a teapot at the time.

Imagine, if you will, Evelyn and her daughter aboard Curly's skip, sailing into the sunset.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Rnelson   (Member)

I'm not sure who "the bad guys" are who show up at the end of Chinatown. L.A. Police? Gitte's operatives? Mulwray is there because he and Mulvihill make Jake drive them to Chinatown where Evelyn is trying to escape to Mexico with her daughter aboard Curly's skip.

The "bad guys" are the cops (Escobar, who suspects Evelyn of her husband's murder and are therefore after her, he is also after Gittes as a possible accessory to the crime) and Noah Cross who Evelyn says "owns the cops". So they are running from both the cops and Cross. Mulvehill (a corrupt sherrif) is also after Gittes. Mulwray is dead at the beginning of the movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 3:03 PM   
 By:   Rnelson   (Member)



I consider the FILM as a whole tidy (space, time, realism)


Please elaborate on that. I have to hear your view on this. Start with defining "tidy".


'Tidy' as relating to the aristotelian rules of narrative. It's all connected, it all makes sense and there's no short cuts or desperate measures. It's a well-told story.


Understood. The screenplay is an example of the type of narrative cohesiveness that seems to elude most screenwriters these days.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

" Mulwray is dead at the beginning of the movie."

Correct. I meant to say Cross.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 3:11 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



Thorski, Part I of this is included in our Screenwriters Appreciation on the Other Syde (spotlighting
Robert Towne) but, as Part II makes abundantly clear (1:30 in) , there was no last-minute 'rushing'
of any sort - quite the contrary.



So if'n you still wanna bark about it in the face of this evidence, Switzerland's a lot closer to you than us -
don't forget to remember to send us a Polanski postcard! wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   Jon Lewis   (Member)

"By the way, I wonder if some of those low piano rumblings are created by rubbing the piano strings themselves. Anyone know? "

Going by ear...

I think the sweeping, ethereal glissandos in the main title are produced by reaching inside the piano and strumming across the strings as if it were a giant autoharp. The first known use of this effect was by the American Henry Cowell in IIRC the 1920s.

In a witty aural pun Goldsmith answers this here and there throughout this score with other instruments which are played with the same motion-- harp glisses, that wooden scratch-stick thingy (what's it called? When JG has it played very slowly it sounds like someone riffling a deck of cards), and an actual autoharp.

In "Noah Cross" and in "The Captive" a technique similar to the "autoharp" one is used, except instead of strumming crosswise across all the strings, you scratch lengthwise along one single string. This produces a baleful, almost croaky sound. I don't think this technique was heard before the 1960s in the piano music of George Crumb.

Then toward the end of "The Captive" it sounds as if a stick is used to do a kind of quick stutter against a single piano string.

In "The Last of Ida" and "The Boy on a Horse" there is the staccato doomy thud produced when you reach inside the piano, stop a low string by hand, then strike that note with the key.

BTW if you want to hear a kind of sonic encyclopedia of these kind of extended inside-the-piano techniques check out George Crumb's great 4 volume cycle of piano pieces 'Makrokosmos'.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 4:03 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Tremendous film and score. Unbelievable that the score is unavailable.

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 4:07 PM   
 By:   RR Aitken   (Member)

Tremendous film and score. Unbelievable that the score is unavailable.

I agree Onya. Powers that be please re-release the score and I will buy it. You can never have enough Jerry G or Jerry Fielding.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Tremendous film and score. Unbelievable that the score is unavailable.

Unavailable? Has the Varese release become that hard to find?

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 5:49 PM   
 By:   No Respectable Gentleman   (Member)

CHINATOWN PLOT QUESTION

Someone -- presumably Noah Cross and/or associates -- hires Ida Sessions to impersonate Evelyn Mulwray and hire Jake Gittes to investigate Hollis Mulwray's supposed affair with a teenage girl. The aim, it seems, is to discredit Hollis, thus forcing him to resign from the water commission and/or greenlight the dam he doesn't want to build.

This seems a bit flimsy on two fronts. I'm not sure a water commisioner's affair would be front page news, for a start. And, more to the point, if Jake and his men are following Hollis everywhere, isn't there a good chance that they'll see him with his real wife? (Assuming they wouldn't already recognize his real wife.) And if Cross wants some compromising photos, why doesn't he just get his muckrakers to take some photos of their own?

We have to assume at this stage that Cross doesn't know the girl is his granddaughter. But if Hollis is trying to keep her under wraps, he's not doing a very good job -- taking her out on boat rides and such. Or is he actually having an affair with her?

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Has the Varese release become that hard to find?

Very. The lowest price I can find (in my quick search) is $92. It's going for significantly more than that at Screen Archives.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 6:00 PM   
 By:   DJ3J   (Member)

I am betting that this year, Intrada adds this to their MAF catalog in a package like Patton and First Blood. It is up there in terms of importance both for Goldsmith and film music in general.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 6:22 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

It's a brilliant film. The ending does not feel at all forced to me. Yes, Huston is emotionally remote. That's the point. He's dead inside.

Goldsmith's arid scoring is dead-on -- it feels like the film is living and breathing the music.

I love the album. There may be another minute or two of music in the film, but I don't care about that. It would be nice for the CD to be back in print for those who don't have it.


I couldn't have expressed it any better myself. I can only add that this is my all-time favorite Goldsmith score, and perhaps my favorite movie of all time (I know, it's a stretch). But it all just seems so perfect. I do agree with many comments about the denouement. I also think it seems a bit forced or cliched.

For this story however, there really isn't any cool ending.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 6:56 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

CHINATOWN PLOT QUESTION

Someone -- presumably Noah Cross and/or associates -- hires Ida Sessions to impersonate Evelyn Mulwray and hire Jake Gittes to investigate Hollis Mulwray's supposed affair with a teenage girl. The aim, it seems, is to discredit Hollis, thus forcing him to resign from the water commission and/or greenlight the dam he doesn't want to build.

This seems a bit flimsy on two fronts. I'm not sure a water commisioner's affair would be front page news, for a start. And, more to the point, if Jake and his men are following Hollis everywhere, isn't there a good chance that they'll see him with his real wife? (Assuming they wouldn't already recognize his real wife.) And if Cross wants some compromising photos, why doesn't he just get his muckrakers to take some photos of their own?

We have to assume at this stage that Cross doesn't know the girl is his granddaughter. But if Hollis is trying to keep her under wraps, he's not doing a very good job -- taking her out on boat rides and such. Or is he actually having an affair with her?



My take on your question about whether the water commisioner's story would have been front-page news is more of a guess, but, there was a time when newspapers had some independent thought and I think, local news (especially in places like Los Angeles) were what people wanted.

About the the girl. Noah Cross didn't know where she was. THAT was why he hired that surrogate wife to hire him in the first place. His granddaughter has been hidden from him by Hollis and his own daughter.

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2011 - 8:57 PM   
 By:   robertmro   (Member)


Anyways, just revisited the film after many years, and it must have been a really long time, because I thought everything took place IN Chinatown.


'Chinatown' is a state of mind, not an actual place.
That's the point of the movie!

The film is a classic!
The score is one the greatest whether you idolize Goldsmith or not.

I have no doubt that a complete version of the score will be released in the not too distant future and that it will sell like hotcakes.

There is no more to be said.

Case closed, lets move on.

 
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