Polanski won the big argument: that a film called Chinatown had to have at least one scene set in a real chinatown. The overruled writer, Robert Towne, insisted it was just a metaphor. The director, whose first reaction to the script was to say:"I should have stayed in Poland," spent much of the film rowing with Towne, photographing topless teenyboppers jumping off the diving board and telling Faye Dunaway, whenever she queried her motivation: " Just say the f*cking lines-- your salary is the motivation." Nicholson charmed enough people to get the film made without too much violence breaking out, although he may have provided the urine in the cup Dunaway threw in Polanski's face. What ended up onscreen is a real noir classic, worthy of the greats of the 1940s, right down to the downbeat, cynical ending. In memory, it is often reduced to a procession of scenes: the nose slitting (performed by Polanski), the joke about the Chinaman having sex, the horror of the closing scene. The long-postponed sequel The Two Jakes has its good moments but is mainly for completists.
Director: Roman Polanski Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston


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