RARA-AVIS: Chinatown, Flaw

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 20 Aug 2001

Dick writes:

<< In Chinatown, Nicholson looks into Dunaway's eyes and says something
 about there being a little black speck in the iris. In Jakes, he looks
 into Meg Tilly's eyes in an almost identical setup, and, if you remember
 the first movie, you wait for him to make the connection. But he
 doesn't. He goes off on some other tack entirely, leading one to think
 that the similarity of scenes is an unplanned coincidence. Here's my
 question. Is it a coincidence? Or did Robert Towne write the scene with
 the idea of using the eye thing as a clue only to have Nicholson the
 director misinterpret its significance and throw it away? >>

Not a writerly coincidence, I'd say. I don't remember the Two Jakes scene, but in Chinatown, I took the scene as an overdetermined one to cue Aristotle and the notion of the tragic flaw (the word "flaw" is specifically used) -- the movie has all them Greek tragedy elements.


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