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?


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, having suffered a series of strokes in recent months. 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.

7 July 2018

The Third Film

In the period allowed for questions, a young woman asked Robert Towne whether there was any chance for the completion of the 'trilogy' that had been begun with Chinatown.
'No,' he told the questioner. 'No chance.'
- David Thomson, The Whole Equation, 2004
Few things pique the curiosity of film buffs more than those films it seems they'll never get to see. There are those that were lost or destroyed - Orson Welles' original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons, Eric von Stroheim's eight-hour version of Greed. There are those that remain unreleased or unfinished - Jerry Lewis' notorious The Day the Clown Cried and various Orson Welles projects, most notably The Other Side of the Wind i.

Then there are those that were planned, but never made - Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune, and further episodes of successful film series.

8 July 2017

The Two Jakes: Take 2

"Paramount will make this movie," said one observer. "But only when the movie makers get their act together."
- Los Angeles Times, May 9, 1985
Following the very public collapse of the initial production of The Two Jakes in May of 1985, the sets were dismantled, a number of claims were filed by crew members regarding unpaid work, and the production faced lawsuits from Laird International Studios, Kodak and others. Paramount announced that the production had been postponed indefinitely, although Frank Mancuso, the executive producer, did state that he hadn't given up hope of resurrecting it.