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Thread: 30th Anniversary Screening of "Chinatown"

  1. #1
    Frank56 Guest

    30th Anniversary Screening of "Chinatown"

    I was privileged to attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 30th anniversary screening of "Chinatown" last night and wanted to share a bit of the event.

    Prior to the screening of a new 35mm print from the original elements, there was an incredible panel discussion (hosted by film critic Richard Schickel) with producer Robert Evans, Assistant Director Hawk Koch and writer Robert Towne. After the three men were introduced and seated, Schickel then announced a "surprise guest"...and Jack Nicholson joined the panel to no less than thunderous applause.

    The discussion of the film was amazing, with a number of previously unknown facts about the evolution of "Chinatown". One of the most fascinating in my opinion was revealed by Jack Nicholson -- that the film was orignally conceived as a trilogy that was to be released in a real time evolution of the characters through subsequent eras.

    There were lengthy discussions about creative fighting on set, origins of the key themes in the film -- for example, the mystery of Chinatown was based largely on conversations Towne had with LAPD personnel, assigned to Chinatown who mentioned in passing that they "didn't do much" in the area because they were unable to distinquish that their actions as helping or hurting criminals.

    Nicholson at one point even discussed the notion that Polanski had directed him very specifically on both speaking faster (to assure the film would have a final running time that was releasable) and the finer points of "acting with a car".

    The discussion wrapped up and the new print was then screened to an audience as fascinated as audiences were 30 years ago.

    I will never ever forget this once in a lifetime event and simply wanted to share it here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,603
    Cheers Frank, congratulations.

    That WAS an event, and I'm jealous. Chinatown, with the star in the house- Nicholson, no less.
    Great to hear you were there and thanks for letting us know what went down.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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