Forget It, Jake! It’s Chinatown! Cynical Attitudes and Sexual Motivations!

chinatown_1974

THIS is the dusty face of film noir…from one of the greatest films ever made…


Don’t You LOVE The Definition of Film Noir?

If you are not a fan of the genre, you are missing out on some of the most stylish – and darkest – films ever made in Hollywood. “Film noir” is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that “emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.”


Yep – Cynical Attitudes and Sexual Motivations!

film noir

Well, that’s just about everything I love! I’ve posted before about film noir – which is a classic style of film making, with classic films in the genre like “Double Indemnity” and “The Killers”…you tend to think of film noir in black and white:

film noir

But this time I want to share two more recent examples of the genre: it’s more like “dusty noir!”

ChinaEscobarGittes


“Dusty Noir!”

Plenty of classic “Chinatown” to share with you, but let’s start first with this neglected modern classic of the genre!


Red Rock West

Check out this trailer for a perfect example of “dusty noir!”

When a promised job for Nicolas Cage fails to materialize in Wyoming, he is mistaken by be the hit man hired to kill an unfaithful wife, played by a sultry Lara Flynn Boyle.

Cage takes full advantage of the situation, collects the money and runs. During his getaway, things go wrong – as they ALWAYS do in great film noir, and for Nicolas Cage, it turns into a nightmare when he – of course – runs into the REAL hit man, Lyle – played with delicious glee by Dennis Hopper.

According to IMDB website, Nicolas Cage largely took the part due to the recommendation of his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola who was a fan of Director John Dahl’s first film, “Kill Me Again.”

red-rock-west-dennis-hopper-nicolas-cage-john-dahl22

Originally director John Dahl wanted Dennis Hopper to play the husband, but he insisted on playing Hit Man “Lyle from Dallas”.


Lyle: [Eats a sandwich belonging to a man he just shot in the forehead] “Mm… it’s TURKEY!… one of my favorites.”

And of course, Nic and Lara have a fling – BUT OF COURSE!

Suzanne: Have you ever been married?
Michael Williams: No.
Suzanne: It does strange things to people.

And then there’s the very funny cameo from Country Rocker Dwight Yoakum, who plays a truck driver who finds Cage on top of his truck!

Truck Driver: [points gun at Michael’s head] Does that tickle? ‘Cause it won’t if I pull the trigger! What the hell are you doing on my truck?
Michael Williams: Sorry boss, I didn’t mean to scare ‘ya.
Truck Driver: [Smiles and points the gun closer] Do I look scared to you?

Dwight Yoakam brought his own pistol for his role as the Truck Driver.

By the time it all ends, you have sex, violence, car chases, and of course, lots and lots of guns!

This is a little-seen film that deserves much more attention…our next film was a huge hit and is considered one of the best films ever made…everyone involved was nominated for an Oscar, and rightly so…


“Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

film-noir-chinatown


Chinatown

A classic trailer for a classic film…

chinatown_1974

Simply put, one of the greatest films of all time. Directed by Roman Polanski, starring Jack Nicholson as LA Private Detective Jake Gittes, Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray, and legendary Director John Huston as LA Businessman Noah Cross…

Noah Cross: “You’ve got a nasty reputation, Mr. Gittes. I like that.”

‘Jake’ Gittes is a private detective who seems to specialize in matrimonial cases. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis, builder of the city’s water supply system, of having an affair.

You don’t need to know anything else – the plot is a history of LOA’s water system, a meditation on evil, and a masterclass in film making…


Noah Cross: “Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water.”

chinatown-1974-005-john-huston-jack-nicholson

[Lunch is served; it’s fish]
Noah Cross: “I hope you don’t mind. I believe they should be served with the head.”
Jake Gittes: “Fine… long as you don’t serve the chicken that way.”

Chinatown

One classic moment in the film occurs when Jack Nicholson gets too curious one night by a reservoir – looking for the source of LA’s water…

Man with Knife: “You’re a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. Huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No? Okay. They lose their noses.”

Director Polanski plays the tough guy with the knife, and Nicholson had a nose bandage for the rest of the movie…the scene where Roman Polanski slits Jack Nicholson’s nose was extremely complex to film…

Ultimately, Polanksi and Nicholson got so tired of explaining how it was done (by using a specially-constructed knife with a short hinge that would be safe as long as it was handled VERY carefully) that they began to claim Nicholson’s nose was actually cut.


Loach: “What happened to your nose, Gittes? Somebody slammed a bedroom window on it?”
Jake Gittes: “Nope. Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick. You understand what I mean, pal?”

Some of the best dialogue and most dramatic moment occurs near the end of the movie, when Jack and Faye Dunaway really get into it:


Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter.
[Gittes slaps Evelyn]
Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister…
[slap]
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter…
[slap]
Evelyn Mulwray: My sister, my daughter.
[More slaps]
Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister AND my daughter!

This movie is perfect: the writing, directing, and acting are all flawless…and it ends with one of the most iconic movie lines of all time:


“Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”



Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Awards, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Grindhouse, Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. I wish film noir would make another re-resurgence like it did in the 90s. Red Rock West is great, and of course Chinatown too, but that goes without saying.

Trackbacks

  1. The Limey! Night Moves! Classic “Action Noir”! « johnrieber
  2. Epic Oscar Mistake! Faye Dunaway And Warren Beatty Deserve Better! This Legendary Duo’s Greatest Work! – johnrieber
  3. My Movie Alphabet! An A-Z Of My Favorite – And Most Offbeat Films! – johnrieber

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