RARA-AVIS: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown...

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 18 Aug 2001

Mark wrote:

>In my opinion, Polanski took what would have been a very good period PI
>film and turned it into a film classic.

I agree. And so do most of the people who've taken my poll. But wasn't CHINATOWN supposed to be a trilogy, originally?

A lot of people seem to hate THE TWO JAKES, but I see it as the logical sequel to CHINATOWN, tracing not just the development of Los Angeles, but of the private eye genre itself, as it moved from Hammett and Chandler's mean streets to the psychological mean streets of Ross Macdonald. No, JAKES is not CHINATOWN, but most movies aren't. What it is is a perhaps flawed but nonetheless engaging and intelligent, thought-out sequel that actual deserved to be filmed, not a quickie rip-off with a number tacked on the end of its title.

Of course, now Polanski's exiled to Europe, and Towne and Nicholson had a falling out over JAKES (which is why Nicholson himself ending up directing). Though maybe it's best not to have a third film made. The third might have a very bloated (seen THE PLEDGE?) Nicholson in a jogging suit with a wisecracking girlfriend, and a sociopathic mutant as a sidekick.

I don't want to see Jack jog -- it would be too frightening.


Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.thrillingdetective.com
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