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Chinatown


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#1 Chris Clarke

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:25 AM

I'm going to see Chinatown on Sunday at the BFI. I've seen it on DVD but never projected. I know that a lot of it was shot on 40mm lens but would love to hear others views on any info that you have. I think it was covered in the May 1975 issue of American Cinematographer but it's not available as a back issue. It's one of my favourite films and would really like to know more about it's techniques.
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#2 Jean Dodge

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 01:00 PM

Take note of the interiors shot in the bathroom. The energy of having the wide scope lens right in the lead actress' face is apparent; it gets commented on a lot. I love the rosy color of the film; it can seem beautiful at times and at other moments it's a doomed desert look. The water in the film NEVER looks inviting - the blues are almost always either clear or black or raging white.

If you like mid seventies color noir, also check out NIGHT MOVES and THE LONG GOODBYE, two excellent films in the same vein, although both are contemporary. For period films, there is also THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY and DAY OF THE LOCUST that are gritty and bleak.
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#3 Mike Williamson

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 02:07 PM

There's an interview with John Alonzo in "Masters of Light" where he talks about the film, some very interesting topics including how he kept the close ups from looking weird while using the 40mm lens.
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#4 Chris Clarke

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 03:31 PM

I just read the interview in Masters of Light, thanks for the tip.
Here's a link to it:
Masters of Light

I've managed to order a back issue of the May 1975 American Cinematographer with a feature on Chinatown.

Thanks for your replies.
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