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The key to the riddle | The continuation of classic Chinatown is available on Amazon

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The classic black sequence is available in the Amazon Prime Video catalog

When director Roman Polanski launched Chinatown in 1974, there was a broad positive reception from critics who recognized the production and value of the film as truly different. It was also interesting to see how, in a short period of time, the production gained a prominent place in the noir genre (which peaked in the 1940s and declined from the 1960s).

Thanks to a few elements of composition such as the period chosen for the plot; the costumes in sober colors; a story that begins as another common case and leads the protagonist from one plot to another; the relationship of a not-so-heroic main character and an unreliable supporting female role that generates a dynamic of insecurity between them elevated Chinatown to the title of “last film noir”, symbolizing from that moment on the genre as it is. ‘he was known from the start. not there was more.

In addition, the film still received eleven Oscar nominations in 1975 and won the award for Best Original Screenplay. With that, screenwriter Robert Towne figured that at that point he could mimic the idea of ​​two more sequences, completing his goal of forming a trilogy around private investigator Jake Gittes. Towne then rushed to the producer of the original film, Robert Evans, ready to sell the idea.

“Chinatown” brought together all the most striking elements of black.

Evans agrees, since the screenwriter’s previous work was an absolute success, and entrusts Towne with writing and directing the next film. The producer had also offered to play an important supporting role. However, the first cracks began to appear when he realized he lacked a minimum of talent to act, and around 1985 the director had no choice but to fire Evans from the role; this generated enormous friction between the two who, for the moment at least, had put the project on hold.

Among the new comings and goings, one of the great Hollywood producers of the 1980s, Dino De Laurentiis, temporarily received a proposal from the Chinatown star (Jack Nicholson) to fund the idea. It is important to remember that during this period De Laurentiis had signed an immense number of productions of varying quality. From truly memorable films like Serpico in 1973 to much more questionable films like Duna from 1984, he was the name of the period to support Towne and Nicholson’s effort.

His involvement, however, never materialized due to legal barriers imposed by Paramount (the studio that produced Chinatown) demanding exorbitant amounts for the film to carry elements of the classic. Coming back to the designer one last time, it was Jack Nicholson’s confirmation in the late 1980s as a director that actually gave the film new life.

Robert Towne had plans for a trilogy.

Such a complicated pre-production couldn’t have a straightforward execution, which is exactly what happened. Evans and Towne (now only the screenwriter) did not speak during production, Nicholson began recording with the partially completed screenplay, which delayed the filming schedule.

The script in its final form did, in part, what each sequence should do: an extension of what was previously presented. However, this scope is also very limited, showing nothing that was not covered in the previous film and so on. A few years after his fateful affair with Evelyn Mulwray, Detective Jake Gittes must prove his innocence when his client is implicated in the murder of his wife’s lover and the only way to do so is to prove the accused guilty.

Working in an almost anthological format, the plot fails to delve deeper into who Gittes is, always remaining in known territory of his channel. The script also struggles to connect the current case with the previous one in the figure of Evelyn Mulwray’s daughter, but the connection never feels natural, believable. The premiere date was August 10, 1990 and the reception was fairly mixed by critics, varying between praise for the setting, but not being able to be as charismatic a thriller as its predecessor.

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