18 April 2020

Jack Nicholson: Blue Champagne

The road that follows the history of cinema is littered with the bones of movies that didn't quite make it to the finish line - all the way from unproduced treatments and screenplays to fully completed films that never saw the light of day. While it's something of a given that many a low-budget or independent film project can suffer this fate, it's not something exclusive to those without large resources at their disposal - even the involvement of the most powerful filmmakers and movie stars can't guarantee that a production in trouble can be saved from cinematic oblivion.

Jack Nicholson is no exception to this rule, by any means. In the early 1990s, he was truly one of the greatest movie stars in the world, but there's an odd little entry on his filmography from this time involving a failed venture which few will remember, and far fewer have ever seen.

JJ Gittes Investigations and beyond

With news about any Jake Gittes projects, either past, present or future, in somewhat short supply (although the upcoming TV show in development might create something of an explosion if it gets picked up, and once we're past these dark times), I'll also be posting articles about a few obscurities involving those who were responsible for the creation of Chinatown and The Two Jakes.

First up is the unreleased independent film from the early 1990s, Blue Champagne, produced by Jack Nicholson.

18 March 2020

SCTV's 'Polynesiantown'

 
In 1981, the sketch TV show SCTV dedicated the majority of one episode to a very loose parody of Chinatown, entitled 'Polynesiantown', following the noir-ish escapades of restaurateur Johnny La Rue (played by the late, great John Candy) who runs a tacky Polynesian-style bar/restaurant.

14 March 2020

Review: Sam Wasson's The Big Goodbye

For three decades, I have devoured every piece of information I could find about the film that set me upon a lifelong obsession with cinema. Much as I would have loved to finally see a dedicated print publication giving Chinatown its due - something along the lines of Peter Cowie's wonderful, very simply titled, The Godfather Book, which partly inspired me to start this blog - surely the story of the making of Chinatown had already been told time and time again in multiple biographies, articles and film histories.

When it was announced that an upcoming book entitled The Big Goodbye, by Sam Wasson (Fifth Avenue 5 A.M., Fosse), would tell the story of the making of Chinatown "for the first time", I was skeptical. My initial assumption was that this would just be a book collecting everything out there about the film and jamming it together in one place. The same old stuff that I'd read already, right?

Wrong.

19 November 2019

Jake Gittes prequel TV series reportedly in development

Robert Towne

Deadline has reported that Netflix has closed deals with Robert Towne and David Fincher to pen a pilot script for a TV series that would be a prequel to Chinatown, covering the early days of private investigator Jake Gittes.

Towne, Fincher and Josh Donen have been announced as executive producers. Deadline states that "The hope is that Fincher might direct the pilot, but that is not part of the deal which at this point covers a pilot script."

David Fincher
Netflix is yet to make any comment regarding this project.

No further details have been revealed, beyond the involvement of Chinatown's own creator Robert Towne, Chinatown superfan David Fincher (director of Se7en and Fight Club, and passionate co-commentator on Chinatown's DVD commentary with Towne) and Josh Donen (producer, House of Cards), and that the series is intended as a prequel to the 1974 film.

More news as it comes in.

29 October 2019

R.I.P. Robert Evans 1930 - 2019

Chinatown's producer, the legendary, notorious and iconic Robert Evans, passed away on Saturday, October 26 at his Woodland home in Los Angeles. He was 89.

17 July 2018

The Two Jakes: Poster Concepts

Found a couple of very informative posts on artist Robert Rodriguez's blog regarding the development of the poster for The Two Jakes, which also include some of the early concept sketches by Steven Chorney.