Chinatown and cross references (was Re: RARA-AVIS: I AM LEGEND)

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 28 Nov 2003

Jesse wrote:

"Its an amazing novel in no small part because like the movie Chinatown it has a killer ending."

I haven't read I Am Legend, but you are so right about Chinatown's ending. I saw it again just last night, on a big screen. Damn, it is one fine movie. And Polanski certainly knew what he was doing when he changed Towne's original ending.

Related to that, I was watching Karen Sisco a week or two ago, the TV show based on Elmore Leonard's character. (By the way, I recommend the show when it comes back in the spring -- it does a good job of capturing Leonard's twisted humor and Carla Gugino is one hardboiled dame.) A woman hired Karen's PI father to get the goods on her cheating husband. Her name was Mrs. Mulraney. I knew immediately that the guy was not her husband and she was setting him up. Her name was just too close to Chinatown's Mrs. Mulray to be a coincidence.

Have others had that experience, that catching a reference clued you in early on something? I thought it was kind of cool in the TV show, but it was just a minor subplot, so it didn't affect the suspense of the main story. However, it annoyed me in Ace Atkin's Leavin' Trunk Blues
-- any blues fan (which assumedly applies to a lot of Atkins's readers) knows who really killed Billy Lyons.

By the way, I'm pretty sure I've already recommended Cecil Brown's Stagolee Shot Billy, but let me mention it again. He traces the true circumstances the murder ballad is based upon, then goes on to analyze why this, one of five murders in East St Louis on Christmas Eve 1895, became myth while the other four were quickly forgotten. Fascinating read (even if some of the proofing and editing could have been a little bit better).


# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Nov 2003 EST