'Chinatown' revisited by A.O. Scott

chinatown-dunaway-grab.jpgThe New York Times' film critic (and occupant of a chair on "At the Movies") takes to video to consider the Roman Polanski-Robert Towne classic of L.A. noir. "Much blacker than even the darkest film noir," Scott says, and he means it in the good way. My favorite snippet of "Chinatown" dialogue is the exchange between John Huston and Jack Nicholson about the future of the San Fernando Valley:

Noah Cross: "You see Mr. Gittes, either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water."

Jake Gittes: "How are you going to do that?"

Cross: "By incorporating the valley into the city. Simple as that."

Of course, by the era in which Chinatown's fictional take is set, the Valley had been part of the city for two decades. So what! Scott's video piece doesn't seem to allow embedding, so you have to visit the NYT site to see what he has to say.

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