Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Shining (1980)

Cast and Crew
for

The Shining (1980)

Also Known As:Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' (1980) Runtime: 119 min / USA:146 min (original version) Country: UK Language: English Color: Color Sound Mix: Mono Certification: Argentina:18 / Australia:MA (uncut version) / Australia:M / Canada:18A / Finland:K-18 / Italy:VM14 / Netherlands:16 / Norway:18 / Sweden:15 / UK:18 / USA:R / West Germany:16

Directed by Stanley Kubric


Writing credits
Stephen King

(novel)
Stanley Kubrick

(screenplay) &
Diane Johnson (I)

(screenplay)

Cast (in credits order) verified as complete
Jack Nicholson
....
Jack Torrance
Shelley Duvall
....
Wendy Torrance
Danny Lloyd
....
Danny Torrance
Scatman Crothers
....
Dick Hallorann
Barry Nelson (I)
....
Stuart Ulman
Philip Stone (I)
....
Delbert Grady
Joe Turkel
....
Lloyd, Overlook bartender
Anne Jackson
....
Doctor
Tony Burton (I)
....
Larry Durkin
Lia Beldam
....
Young woman in bath
Billie Gibson
....
Old woman in bath
Barry Dennen
....
Bill Watson
David Baxt
....
Forest Ranger #1
Manning Redwood
....
Forest Ranger #2
Lisa Burns (I)
....
Grady daughter
Louise Burns (I)
....
Grady daughter
Robin Pappas
....
Nurse
Alison Coleridge
....
Suzie (Mr. Ulman's secretary)
Burnell Tucker
....
Policeman
Jana Sheldon
....
Stewardess
Kate Phelps
....
Receptionist
Norman Gay
....
Injured guest
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Vivian Kubrick
....
Smoking guest on ballroom couch (uncredited)

Produced by
Robert Fryer
....
producer
Jan Harlan
....
executive producer
Mary Lea Johnson
....
producer
Stanley Kubrick
....
producer
Martin Richards (I)
....
producer


Original Music by
Wendy Carlos


Rachel Elkind




Non-Original Music by
Béla Bartók

(from "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta")
György Ligeti (I)


Krzysztof Penderecki




Cinematography by
John Alcott




Film Editing by
Ray Lovejoy




Casting by
James Liggat (I)




Production Design by
Roy Walker (I)




Art Direction by
Leslie Tomkins

(as Les Tomkins)


Costume Design by
Milena Canonero





About the Movie

Novelist Jack Torrance and his family have been chosen to become the care-takers of a large hotel in the Rockie Mountains, The Overlook. Jack was delighted. Before long, Jack, his wife Wendy and their 6-year-old son, Danny, head up there. Danny has an imaginary friend, Tony and just recently, he was frightened of am image he saw in his mind of elevator doors opening and blood pouring out. Once at the hotel, the Torrances are shown around. There's a dozen rooms, kitchen, everything. The entire hotel would be vacant for the winter so it would be just the three of them alone. The cook, Dick Hallorann, notices that Danny is clarevoyent. He can read minds.Pretty soon, Jack, Wendy and Danny were completely alone and soon strange things start to happen; Danny rides his tricycle up and down the hallways, he sees two girls standing there. Also, there was a woman in one of the rooms that tries to strangle him. Jack goes to investigate and the woman becomes a rotting corpse. Jack also meets ghosts in the ballroom. One of them is of the former caretaker, Delbert Grady. He had gone insane and butchered his wife and two daughters. Coincidence? Danny continues to exhibit weird behavior and Jack comes down with cabin fever. He was going crazy. He must be, because Wendy noticed a whole pile of papers with only one continuous sentence on them: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy. Jack had been told by the spirits to kill his family. He vowed he would, even Wendy locking him in the storage closet didn't stop him. It was starting to snow pretty hard outside and Wendy couldn't radio for help, due to Jack had sabotaged both the radio and the Snow Cat: a vehicle built for traveling in snow. Jack chases Wendy and Danny with an axe. Danny summons Dick Hallorann with his mind and he hurries to the hotel in a Snow Cat. When he arrives, Jack plunges an axe in his back then chases Danny through a hedge maze in the backyard. Wendy finds him and they escape in the Snow Cat, leaving Jack to freeze to death and join the spirits in the hotel.A pretty good movie. Both perplexing and scary. Jack Nicholson was good. Shelley Duvall was good also, so were Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd. Crothers and Nicholson also starred in 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, also a good film. Scatman Crothers is sadly no longer with us. He died in real life in 1986.


Filmography for Jack Nicholson
Untitled Nancy Meyers Project (2003) (post-production) .... Harry Langer
Anger Management (2003) .... Dr. Buddy Rydell
About Schmidt (2002) .... Warren R. Schmidt
Pledge, The (2001) .... Jerry Black
As Good As It Gets (1997) .... Melvin Udall
Mars Attacks! (1996) .... President James Dale/Art Land
Evening Star, The (1996) .... Garrett Breedlove
Blood and Wine (1996) .... Alex Gates... aka Blood & Wine (1997) (video box title)
Crossing Guard, The (1995) .... Freddy Gale
Wolf (1994) .... Will Randall
Who's Tommy, the Amazing Journey, The (1993) (archive footage) .... The Specialist
Hoffa (1992) .... James R. 'Jimmy' Hoffa
Few Good Men, A (1992) .... Col. Nathan R. Jessep
Man Trouble (1992) .... Harry Bliss
Two Jakes, The (1990) .... Jake Gittes/Narrator
Batman (1989) .... The Joker/Jack Napier
Ironweed (1987) .... Francis Phelan
Broadcast News (1987) .... Bill Rorich
Witches of Eastwick, The (1987) .... Daryl Van Horne
Elephant's Child (1986) (TV) .... Narrator
Heartburn (1986) .... Mark Louis Forman
Prizzi's Honor (1985) .... Charley Partanna
Terror in the Aisles (1984) (archive footage) .... Jack Torrance (segment "The Shining")... aka Time for Terror (1984) (Europe: video title English title)
Terms of Endearment (1983) .... Garrett Breedlove
Border, The (1982) .... Charlie Smith
Reds (1981) .... Eugene O'Neill
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1981) .... Frank Chambers
28. Shining, The (1980) .... Jack Torrance... aka Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' (1980)
29. Goin' South (1978) .... Henry Lloyd Moon
30. Last Tycoon, The (1976) .... Brimmer
Missouri Breaks, The (1976) .... Tom Logan
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) .... Randle Patrick McMurphy
Fortune, The (1975) .... Oscar Sullivan aka Oscar Dix... aka Spite and Malice (1975)
Tommy (1975) .... A. Quackson, Mental Health Specialist... aka Tommy by 'The Who' (1975) (USA: complete title) ... aka Tommy: The Movie (1975) (USA: promotional title) ... aka Who's Tommy, The (1975)
Professione: reporter (1975) .... David Locke... aka Passenger, The (1975) ... aka Profession: reporter (1975) ... aka Reportero, El (1975) (Spain)
Chinatown (1974) .... J. J. (Jake) Gittes
Last Detail, The (1973) .... Billy Buddusky
King of Marvin Gardens, The (1972) .... David Staebler
Safe Place, A (1971) .... Mitch
Carnal Knowledge (1971) .... Jonathan Fuerst
Rebel Rousers, The (1970) .... Bunny
Five Easy Pieces (1970) .... Robert Eroica Dupea
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) .... Tad Pringle
Easy Rider (1969) .... George Hanson
Psych-Out (1968) .... Stoney
Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) .... Poet
Shooting, The (1967) .... Billy Spear
St. Valentine's Day Massacre, The (1967) (uncredited) .... Gino, Hit Man
Ride in the Whirlwind (1965) .... Wes
Back Door to Hell (1964) .... Burnett
Flight to Fury (1964) .... Jay Wickham
Ensign Pulver (1964) .... Dolan
Terror, The (1963) .... Lt. Andre Duvalier... aka Castle of Terror, The (1963/II) ... aka Haunting, The (1963/II) (USA: TV title) ... aka Lady of the Shadows (1963)
Raven, The (1963) .... Rexford Bedlo
Broken Land, The (1962) .... Will Brocious
Wild Ride, The (1960) .... Johnny Varron... aka Velocity (2000) (USA: video title)
Studs Lonigan (1960) .... Weary Reilly
Too Soon to Love (1960) .... Buddy... aka Teenage Lovers (1960) (UK)
Little Shop of Horrors, The (1960) .... Wilbur Force
Cry Baby Killer, The (1958) .... Jimmy Wallace



Filmography for Stanley Kubric
See Course literature for 2001: A Space Oddesy


Useful Web Sites:

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0081505

http://www.drummerman.net/shining/

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Cast and Crew for

FULL METAL JACKET (1987)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987) (USA) (poster title) Runtime: 116 min Country: USA Language: English / Vietnamese Colour: Colour Sound Mix: Mono Certification: Argentina:18 / Australia:R / Canada:18A / Finland:K-16 / France:-12 / Ireland:18 / Italy:VM14 / Netherlands:16 / Norway:18 / South Korea:18 / Sweden:15 / UK:18 / USA:R / West Germany:16

Cast
Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Modine
....
Pvt. Joker
Adam Baldwin
....
Animal Mother
Vincent D'Onofrio
....
Pvt. Pyle
R. Lee Ermey
....
Gny. Sgt. Hartman (as Lee Ermey)
Dorian Harewood
....
Eightball
Arliss Howard
....
Pvt. Cowboy
Kevyn Major Howard
....
Rafterman
Ed O'Ross
....
Lt. Touchdown
John Terry
....
Lt. Lockhart
Kieron Jecchinis
....
Crazy Earl
Bruce Boa
....
Poge Colonel
Kirk Taylor
....
Pvt. Payback
Jon Stafford
....
Doc Jay (as John Stafford)
Tim Colceri
....
Door gunner
Ian Tyler
....
Lt. Cleves


Crew
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/combined

Writing credits Gustav Hasford (also novel The Short Timers)Michael Herr


Produced by
Jan Harlan
....
executive producer
Michael Herr
....
associate producer
Philip Hobbs
....
co-producer
Stanley Kubrick
....
producer


Original Music by
Vivian Kubrick

(as Abigail Mead)


Non-Original Music by
Jeff Barry

(song "Chapel of Love")
Tom T. Hall

(song "Hello Vietnam")
Lee Hazlewood

(song "These Boots Are Made For Walking")
Mick Jagger

(song "Paint it Black")
Keith Richards

(song "Paint it Black")
Domingo Samudio

(song "Wooly Bully")


Cinematography by
Douglas Milsome




Film Editing by
Martin Hunter




Casting by
Leon Vitali




Production Design by
Anton Furst




Art Direction by
Keith Pain


Rod Stratfold


Leslie Tomkins

(as Les Tomkins)


Set Decoration by
Barbara Drake




Costume Design by
Keith Denny



AWARDS:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/awards


About the Movie
http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_reviews/1987/06/240105.html

Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" is more like a book of short stories than a novel. Many of the passages seem self-contained, some of them are masterful and others look like they came out of the bottom drawer. This is a strangely shapeless film from the man whose work usually imposes a ferociously consistent vision on his material.
The movie is about Vietnam and was shot on stages and outdoor sets in England. It's one of the best-looking war movies ever made on sets and stages, but that's not good enough when compared to the awesome reality of "Platoon," "Apocalypse Now" and "The Deer Hunter." The crucial last passages of the film too often look and feel like World War II films from Hollywood studios. We see the same sets from so many different angles that after the movie we could find our own way around Kubrick's Vietnam.
That would not be a problem if his material made the sets irrelevant. It does not, especially toward the end of the film. You can only watch so much footage of a man crouched behind a barrier, pinned down by sniper fire, before the situation turns into a cinematic cliché. We've been here before, in other war movies, and we keep waiting for Kubrick to spring a surprise, but he never does.
The opening passages of "Full Metal Jacket" promise much more than the film finally is able to deliver. They tell the story of a group of marine grunts undergoing basic training on Paris Island, and the experience comes down to a confrontation between the gunnery sergeant (Lee Ermey) and a tubby misfit (Vince D'Onofrio) who is nicknamed Gomer Pyle. These are the two best performances in the movie, which never recovers after they leave the scene.
Ermey plays a character in the great tradition of movie drill instructors, but with great brio and amazingly creative obscenity. All situations in the Marines and in war seem to suggest sexual parallels for him, and one of the film's best moments has the recruits going to bed with their rifles and reciting a poem of love to them.
In scene after scene, the war/sex connection is reinforced, and it parallels the personal battle between Ermey and D'Onofrio, who at first fails all of the tasks in basic training and then finds he has one skill: He is an expert marksman. It is likely that in a real boot camp D'Onofrio would have been thrown out after a week, but Kubrick's story requires him to stay, and so he does, until the final showdown between the two men.
In that showdown, and at several other times in the film, Kubrick indulges his favorite closeup, a shot of a man glowering up at the camera from beneath lowered brows. This was the trademark visual in "A Clockwork Orange," and Jack Nicholson practiced it in "The Shining." What does it mean? That Kubrick thinks it's an interesting angle from which to shoot the face, I think. In "Full Metal Jacket," it promises exactly what finally happens and spoils some of the suspense.
There is a surprise to come, however: the complete abandonment of the sexual metaphor once the troops are in Vietnam. The movie disintegrates into a series of self-contained set pieces, none of them quite satisfying. The scene in the press room, for example, with the lecture on propaganda, seems to reflect some of the same spirit as "Dr. Strangelove." But how does it connect with the curious scene of the Vietnamese prostitute - a scene with a riveting beginning but no middle or end? And how do either lead to the final shoot-out with a sniper?
Time and again in the film, we get great shots with no payoffs. In one elaborate setup, for example, Kubrick shows us a TV cameraman and soundman being led by their shirttails as they pan down a line of exhausted marines. At first the shot has power. Then the outcome is that several soldiers deliver neat one-liners, all in a row, all in their turns, all perfectly timed, and the effect is so contrived that the idea of actual battle is lost completely.
Kubrick seems to want to tell us the story of individual characters, to show how the war affected them, but it has been so long since he allowed spontaneous human nature into his films that he no longer knows how. After the departure of his two most memorable characters, the sergeant and the tubby kid, he is left with no charactors (or actors) that we really care much about. And in a key scene at the end, when a marine feels joy after finally killing someone, the payoff is diminished because we don't give a damn about the character.
The movie has great moments. Ermey's speech to his men about the great marine marksmen of the past (Charles Whitman and Lee Harvey Oswald among them) is a masterpiece. The footage on the Paris Island obstacle course is powerful. But "Full Metal Jacket" is uncertain where to go, and the movie's climax, which Kubrick obviously intends to be a mighty moral revelation, seems phoned in from earlier war pictures. After what has already been said about "Vietnam" in the movies, "Full Metal Jacket" is too little and too late.



Useful References and Web Sites

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/externalreviews

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/combined

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0380282/

For Mathew Modine
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000546/

For R.Lee Ermey
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000388/

Dr Strangelove (1964)

Cast and Crew for

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick


Writing credits
Peter George (III)

(novel Red Alert, aka Two Hours to Doom)
Stanley Kubrick

and
Terry Southern

&
Peter George (III)



Dr. Strangelove (1964) Runtime: 93 min Country: UK Language: English / Russian Colour: Black and White Sound Mix: Mono Certification: Argentina:Atp / Australia:PG / Canada:PG / Finland:K-16 / France:U (re-release) / Iceland:Unrated / Netherlands:AL (video release) / Norway:11 / Sweden:11 / UK:PG / USA:PG / West Germany:16

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers
....
Capt. Lionel Mandrake/President Merkin Muffley/Dr. Strangelove
George C. Scott
....
Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson
Sterling Hayden
....
Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper
Keenan Wynn
....
Col. 'Bat' Guano
Slim Pickens
....
Maj. T.J. 'King' Kong
Peter Bull (I)
....
Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
James Earl Jones
....
Lt. Lothar Zogg
Tracy Reed (II)
....
Miss Foreign Affairs
Jack Creley
....
Mr. Staines
Frank Berry (I)
....
Lt. H.R. Dietrich
Robert O'Neil (I)
....
Adm. Randolph
Glenn Beck
....
Lt. W.D. Kivel (as Glen Beck)
Roy Stephens
....
Frank
Shane Rimmer
....
Capt. G.A. 'Ace' Owens
Hal Galili
....
Burpelson AFB Defense Team member

Produced by
Stanley Kubrick
....
producer
Victor Lyndon
....
associate producer
Leon Minoff
....
executive producer (uncredited)


Original Music by
Laurie Johnson




Cinematography by
Gilbert Taylor (I)




Film Editing by
Anthony Harvey (II)




Production Design by
Ken Adam




Art Direction by
Peter Murton




Makeup Department
Stuart Freeborn
....
makeup artist (as Stewart Freeborn)
Barbara Ritchie
....
hair stylist


Production Management
Clifton Brandon
....
production manager


Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eric Rattray
....
assistant director


About the film.
``Dr. Strangelove'' (1964) is filled with great comic performances, and just as well, because there's so little else in the movie apart from faces, bodies and words. Kubrick shot it on four principal locations (an office, the perimeter of an Air Force base, the ``War Room,'' and the interior of a B-52 bomber). His special effects are competent but not dazzling (we are obviously looking at model planes over Russia). The War Room, one of the most memorable of movie interiors, was created by Ken Adam out of a circular desk, a ring of lights, some back-projected maps, and darkness. The headquarters of Gen. Jack D. Ripper, the haywire Air Force general, is just a room with some office furniture in it.
Yet out of these rudimentary physical props and a brilliant screenplay (which Kubrick and Terry Southern based on a novel by Peter George), Kubrick made what is arguably the best political satire of the century, a film that pulled the rug out from under the Cold War by arguing that if a ``nuclear deterrent'' destroys all life on Earth, it is hard to say exactly what it has deterred.
``Dr. Strangelove's'' humour is generated by a basic comic principle: People trying to be funny are never as funny as people trying to be serious and failing. The laughs have to seem forced on unwilling characters by the logic of events. A man wearing a funny hat is not funny. But a man who doesn't know he's wearing a funny hat ... ah, now you've got something.
The characters in ``Dr. Strangelove'' do not know their hats are funny. The film begins with Gen. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) fondling a phallic cigar while launching an unauthorized nuclear strike against Russia. He has become convinced that the commies are poisoning ``the purity and essence of our natural fluids'' by adding fluoride to the water supply. (Younger viewers may not know that in the 1950s this was a widespread belief.) Ripper's nuclear strike, his cigar technique and his concern for his ``precious bodily fluids'' are so entwined that they inspire unmistakable masturbatory associations.
The only man standing between Ripper and nuclear holocaust is a British liaison, Group Captain Mandrake (Sellers), who listens with disbelief to Rippers' rantings. Meanwhile, Ripper's coded message goes out to airborne B-52s to launch an attack against Russia. A horrified President Muffley (Sellers again) convenes his advisers in the War Room and is informed by Turgidson, bit by reluctant bit, of the enormity of the situation: The bombers are on the way, they cannot be recalled, and General Ripper cannot be reached, and so on. Eventually, Muffley calls the Russian premiere to confess everything (``Dimitri, we have a little problem ... '').
Other major players include the sinister strategist Dr. Strangelove (Sellers a third time); a character whose German accent now evokes Henry Kissinger, although in 1964 nuclear think-tanker Herman Kahn was the likely target. Strangelove's black-gloved right hand is an unruly weapon with a will of its own, springing into Nazi salutes and trying to throttle Strangelove to death. Action in the War Room and on the Air Force base is intercut with the B-52 cockpit, ruled by Major T.J. ``King'' Kong (Slim Pickens); when he's told by his radio man that the order to attack has come through, he tells them, ``No horsin' around on the airplane!''
Major Kong was intended to be Sellers' fourth role, but he was uncertain about the cowboy accent. Pickens, a character actor from westerns, was brought in by Kubrick, who reportedly didn't tell him the film was a comedy. Pickens' patriotic speeches to his crew (and his promises of promotion and medals) are counterpoint to the desperate American efforts to recall the flight.
I've always thought the movie ends on an unsure note. After the first nuclear blast, Kubrick cuts back to the War Room, where Strangelove muses that 'deep mines' could be used to shelter survivors, whose descendants could return to the surface in 90 years (Turgidson is intrigued by the 10-to-1 ratio of women to men). Then the film abruptly ends in its famous montage of many mushroom clouds, while Vera Lynn sings ``We'll Meet Again.``
It seems to me there should be no more dialogue after the first blast; Strangelove's survival strategy could be moved up to just before Slim Pickens' famous bareback ride to oblivion. I realize there would be a time lapse while Russian missiles responded to the attack, but I think the film would be more effective if the original blast brought an end to all further story developments. (Kubrick originally planned to end the film with a pie fight, and a table laden with pies can be seen in the background of the War Room, but he wisely realized that his purpose was satire, not slapstick.)
``Dr. Strangelove'' and ``2001: A Space Odyssey'' (1968) are Kubrick's masterpieces. The two films share a common theme: Man designs machinery that functions with perfect logic to bring about a disastrous outcome. The U.S. nuclear deterrent and the Russian ``doomsday machine'' function exactly as they are intended, and destroy life on earth. The computer HAL 9000 serves the space mission by attacking the astronauts.


Useful Websites

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0057012

http://www.indelibleinc.com/kubrick/films/strangelove/

for Peter Sellers
http://us.imdb.com/Name?Sellers,%20Peter

for George C. Scott
http://us.imdb.com/Name?Scott,%20George%20C.

for Sterling Hayden
http://us.imdb.com/Name?Hayden,%20Sterling

Miller's Crossing (1990)

Cast and Crew for

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Directed by Joel / Ethan Coen


Runtime: 115 min Country: USA Language: English / Italian Color: Color Sound Mix: Dolby SR Certification: Argentina:16 / Australia:M / Finland:K-16 / Germany:18 (video release) / Netherlands:16 / Portugal:M/16 / Sweden:15 / UK:15 (re-rating) / UK:18 / USA:R


Cast (in credits order) verified as complete
Gabriel Byrne
....
Tom Reagan
Marcia Gay Harden
....
Verna
John Turturro
....
Bernie Bernbaum
Jon Polito
....
Johnny Caspar
J.E. Freeman
....
Eddie Dane
Albert Finney
....
Leo
Mike Starr
....
Frankie
Al Mancini
....
Tic-Tac
Richard Woods
....
Mayor Dale Levander
Thomas Toner
....
O'Doole
Steve Buscemi
....
Mink
Mario Todisco
....
Clarence 'Drop' Johnson
Olek Krupa
....
Tad
Michael Jeter
....
Adolph
Lanny Flaherty
....
Terry
Jeanette Kontomitras
....
Mrs. Caspar
Louis Charles Mounicou III
....
Johnny Caspar Jr.
John McConnell
....
Cop - Brian
Danny Aiello III
....
Cop - Delahanty
Helen Jolly
....
Screaming lady
Hilda McLean
....
Landlady
Monte Starr
....
Gunman in Leo's house
Don Picard
....
Gunman in Leo's house
Salvatore H. Tornabene
....
Rug Daniels
Kevin Dearie
....
Street Urchin
Michael Badalucco
....
Caspar's Driver
Charles Ferrara
....
Caspar's Butler
Esteban Fernández
....
Caspar's Cousin (as Esteban Fernandez)
George Fernandez
....
Caspar's Cousin
Charles Gunning
....
Hitman at Verna's
Dave Drinkx
....
Hitman #2
David Darlow
....
Lazarre's Messenger
Robert LaBrosse
....
Lazarre's Tough
Carl Rooney
....
Lazarre's Tough
Jack Harris
....
Man with Pipe Bomb (as Jack David Harris)
Jery Hewitt
....
Son of Erin
Sam Raimi
....
Snickering Gunman
John Schnauder Jr.
....
Cop with Bullhorn
Zolly Levin
....
Rabbi
Joey Ancona
....
Boxer
Bill Raye
....
Boxer
William Preston Robertson
....
Voice (voice)
Frances McDormand
....
Mayor's Secretary (uncredited)



Writing credits
Joel Coen

(written by) &
Ethan Coen

(written by)
Dashiell Hammett

novels Red Harvest and Glass Key (uncredited)

Produced by
Ben Barenholtz
....
executive producer
Ethan Coen
....
producer
Graham Place
....
line producer
Mark Silverman
....
co-producer


Original Music by
Carter Burwell






Non-Original Music by
James Campbell

(song "Goodnight Sweetheart")
Connelly

(song "Goodnight Sweetheart")
A.H. Gibbs

(song "Runnin' Wild")


Cinematography by
Barry Sonnenfeld




Film Editing by
Michael R. Miller




Casting by
Donna Isaacson


John S. Lyons

(as John Lyons)


Production Design by
Dennis Gassner




Art Direction by
Leslie McDonald




Set Decoration by
Nancy Haigh




Costume Design by
Richard Hornung




Makeup Department
Lynn E. Champagne
....
assistant hair stylist (as Lynn Champagne)
Lynn E. Champagne
....
assistant makeup artist (as Lynn Champagne)
Cydney Cornell
....
hair stylist
Peggy Hannaman
....
assistant hair stylist
Peggy Hannaman
....
assistant makeup artist
Katherine James
....
makeup artist (as Kathrine James)


Production Management
Alma Kuttruff
....
production manager
Ron Neter
....
unit manager




Filmography for Joel and Ethan Coen
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0001054/

Ladykillers, The (2004) (post-production)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) ... aka O' Brother (2000) (France)
Big Lebowski, The (1998)
Fargo (1996)
Hudsucker Proxy, The (1994) ... aka Hudsucker - Der große Sprung (1994) (Germany)
Barton Fink (1991)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Blood Simple. (1984)

Filmography for Gabriel Byrne
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0000321/

Filmography for Albert Finney
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0001215/
About the film
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0100150/


"Miller's Crossing" is brooding, dark and as coldly gleaming as gun metal. A gangster noir movie written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, it is a grim classic to admire if not to love, a Dashiell Hammett-style jigsaw of hard-boiled argot, dame troubles and existential dread. As violent as the streets of Washington, this Prohibition-era drama -- "a dirty town movie," the Coens call it -- is more than a little at home as a blood-and-pulp parable for these times.
Gabriel Byrne is the quintessential noir loner, a moralist whose Bambi eyes belie his tough guy's air. Adhering to a twisted chivalric code, he is Bogart by way of Dublin, a rigid man of honour among thieves. And "Miller's Crossing" is very much a story of honour among thieves. In its hard heart of hearts, it is a masterfully written and visually unsettling study in manly love.
In the leading role of Tom, Byrne is torn -- make that shredded -- between his fedora-covered head and his scabbed-over heart. The hat, symbolic of Tom's quandary, leads a life of its own, blowing off in the wind, then magically reappearing on the stair. Like many a Hammett hero, Tom would keep everything under his hat, if only he could keep it on his handsome head. And it's no accident that the movie's moll, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), wins it from him in a game of chance. Love's a gamble and Tom, in debt to the local loan shark, has a record as a loser.

Verna is the boss's girl, a classic put-your-lips-together-and-blow broad, a heart-melting icicle queen with cast-iron defence mechanisms and finger-waved hair. Good at taking care of herself, she talks in catty claw-and-scratch. "Intimidating helpless women is part of my job," says Tom, grabbing her arm. "Well, go out and find one and intimidate her," Verna returns. Naturally Tom, hat tipped back over his glossy waves, wants her even more. Now he's caught between his duty to his boss, Leo (Albert Finney), and Verna's silken allure.

Tom is Leo's closest adviser and the older man loves him, in his hood's way, like the son he's never had. But he's even crazier about Verna. "You don't like her, Tom, but I trust her as much as I trust you," says Leo. And so Tom confesses a night with Verna and the partnership is dissolved. Tom signs on with Leo's rival, the hot-headed Italian Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), who orders him to ice Verna's odious brother, Bernie (John Turturro), a bookie under Leo's protection.

"It's getting so a businessman can't expect a return on a fixed fight," complains Caspar, whose priorities aren't really all that unlike those of certain S&L chieftains. A little kingpin with an inferiority complex, he is easily manipulated by Tom, who convinces him that his henchman Dane (J.E. Freeman) is in cahoots with Bernie, allegedly Dane's homosexual lover. Whether straight or gay, the brutes find it impossible to cope with their feelings, which erupt in a volley of bullets and bashed brains.

"Miller's Crossing" explores that tension between cold blood and white heat in a thunderclap of venom and gunfire. If Tom's heart is pierced at all, it is merely for taking the pulse of the times. The Coens are playing a controlling game, the same as their cast of characters, and control frustrates passion, irrevocably. Love among these gangsters is a hard-luck affair.

But casting noir is another matter altogether. The Coens always get their girl, whether she is Frances McDormand of "Blood Simple," Holly Hunter of "Raising Arizona" or Harden here. All of them are astonishingly fierce actresses who approach their roles with quirky zeal. Harden, eloquent as the cheap satin moll, is an alumna of the stage, like most others in this explosive company. Finney, Byrne and Polito, to varying degrees, all seem capable of nuclear hatred. And do they ever blow.

"Miller's Crossing" is as disturbing and densely beautiful as its opening image, a lofty forest that dwarfs the gangsters as they laugh over their kill. There is an uncompromising magic about this primeval setting, until it comes over you like a wolf's shadow that this is where the brutal truly belong.

Raising Arizona (1987)

Cast and Crew for

Raising Arizona (1987)

Directed by Joel / Ethan Coen


Runtime: 94 min Country: USA Language: English Color: Color (DeLuxe) Sound Mix: Dolby Certification: Argentina:13 / Finland:K-14 / France:U / Sweden:15 / UK:12 (video rating: 2001) / UK:15 (original rating) / USA:PG-13 / West Germany:12

CAST

Nicolas Cage
....
H.I. McDonnough
Holly Hunter
....
Edwina 'Ed' McDonnough
Trey Wilson
....
Nathan Arizona (Hufheinz) Sr.
John Goodman
....
Gale
William Forsythe
....
Evelle
Sam McMurray
....
Glen
Frances McDormand
....
Dot
Randall 'Tex' Cobb
....
Leonard Smalls
T.J. Kuhn
....
Nathan Arizona Jr. (as T.J. Kuhn Jr.)
Lynne Dumin Kitei
....
Florence Arizona
Peter Benedek
....
Prison Counselor
Charles 'Lew' Smith
....
Nice Old Grocery Man
Warren Keith
....
Younger FBI Agent
Henry Kendrick
....
Older FBI Agent
Sidney Dawson
....
Moses (ear-bending cellmate)
Richard Blake
....
Parole Board Chairman
Troy Nabors
....
Parole Board Member
Mary Seibel
....
Parole Board Member
John O'Donnal
....
Hayseed in the Pickup
Keith Jandacek
....
Whitey
Warren Forsythe
....
Minister
Ruben Young
....
'Trapped' Convict
Dennis Sullivan
....
Policeman in Arizona House
Richard Alexander
....
Policeman in Arizona house (as Dick Alexander)
Rusty Lee
....
Feisty Hayseed


CREW
Writing credits
Ethan Coen

(written by) and
Joel Coen

(written by)

Produced by
Ethan Coen
....
producer
James Jacks
....
executive producer
Deborah Reinisch
....
associate producer
Mark Silverman
....
co-producer


Original Music by
Carter Burwell




Non-Original Music by
Igor Stravinsky

(from "Petrushka") (uncredited)
Ludwig van Beethoven

(from "9th symphony") (uncredited)


Cinematography by
Barry Sonnenfeld




Film Editing by
Michael R. Miller




Casting by
Donna Isaacson


John S. Lyons

(as John Lyons)


Production Design by
Jane Musky




Art Direction by
Harold Thrasher




Set Decoration by
Robert Kracik




Costume Design by
Richard Hornung




Makeup Department
Dan Frey
....
hair stylist
Camille Henderson
....
assistant hair stylist
Camille Henderson
....
assistant makeup artist
Katherine James
....
makeup artist (as Katherine James-Cosburn)


Production Management
Kevin Dowd
....
production manager
Alma Kuttruff
....
production supervisor
Andrew Sears
....
post-production manager
Andrew Sears
....
second unit manager


Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Patricia Anne Doherty
....
second assistant director (as Patricia Doherty)
Jon Kilik
....
second assistant director
Chitra F. Mojtabai
....
second assistant director (as Chitra Mojtabai)
Deborah Reinisch
....
first assistant director
Kelly Van Horn
....
first assistant director



Filmography for Joel and Ethan Coen
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0001054/

Ladykillers, The (2004) (post-production)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) ... aka O' Brother (2000) (France)
Big Lebowski, The (1998)
Fargo (1996)
Hudsucker Proxy, The (1994) ... aka Hudsucker - Der große Sprung (1994) (Germany)
Barton Fink (1991)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Blood Simple. (1984)

Filmography for Nicolas Cage
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000115/

Filmography for Holly Hunter
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000456/

About the film
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093822/combined
"Every day we keep a child out of the world is a day he'll miss," says Ed just before she flunks her fertility test. Then all the adoption agencies go and turn them down because Hi, though reformed, is an ex-con. So they kidnap a quintuplet -- who's going to miss one anyway?
The Coen brothers -- director Joel and producer Ethan -- deliver this bouncing baby picture with nods to Monty Python, comic Sam Kennison, the Gerber Baby and the Road Warrior. It is a wacky, happy, daring, darkly comic tale of parenting outside the law. It celebrates the middle-of-the-road dreams of decidedly off-center folks. It's a bundle of joy.

The cowriting Coens are like a couple of big kids who got cameras for Christmas; they're full of raw comic energy, as silly as they are sophisticated. But crucial to their success here is their affection for their dull-witted protagonists played with endearing deadpan by Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. He's Hi, a former convenience-store robber with a high recidivism rate, and she's Ed, his former police booking officer and now loving wife, who longs to change Huggies and push an Aprica full of tomorrow.

"I tried to stand up and fly straight, but with that darned Reagan in the White House . . ." recalls Hi, who vows to reform when he one day finds the tight-lipped Officer Ed in tears, deserted by her fiance.

Hi gets a job punching holes and the newlyweds move into a "suburban starter home," a tiny trailer in the Arizona scrub, where they start taking their temperatures and whatever else is necessary for the making of babies. "These were the happy days," says Hi, narrating as the camera pulls back for a panorama of the McDonnoughs relaxed on drugstore lawn furniture outside their modest home on the arid plains.

Even the photography is funny, and telling, as directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who earned kudos for his amusing cinematography on the Coens' first movie "Blood Simple." Through it, the Coens keep highlighting the contrast between what Hi perceives and the realities of his impoverished life.

Cage, who narrates much of the story, hooks us the minute we lay eyes on him. He's got that blank look that Wile E. Coyote gets after he's been hit between the eyes with an anvil. Nevertheless he is a deep thinker, without the IQ to support his habit. The cartoon look carries over to his hairdo -- like Woody Woodpecker's topknot without benefit of styling gel.

Cage, who proved himself a fine dramatic actor as the bandaged Vietnam veteran of "Birdy," brings that same sort of Innocence Lost to this absurd part. Badly cast as the husband in "Peggy Sue Got Married," he makes up for that lapse as a lovable loser who can say things like "I cannot tarry" and get away with it.

Hunter, who the Coens spotted in Broadway's "Crimes of the Heart," had the part of Edwina from the time they put it on paper. She recalls a repressed Cindy ("Laverne & Shirley") Williams, as she compulsively pursues motherhood. She looks about to burst with the need to nourish. But coming from a long line of police officers, she keeps her passion under control. She's tight-lipped, pinched as an American gothic farmwoman's bun.

"I want you to go up there and get me a toddler," she orders Hi in her perfunctory twang. And he climbs into the home of Nathan and Florence Arizona, an unfinished- furniture magnate and his fertility-drugged wife, who have borne at long last the cutest-wootest quintuplets. Given a choice between Harry, Barry, Larry, Garry, or Nathan Jr., of course Hi swipes Junior.
It's a merry abduction scene, with Hi scrambling after tots as they start spilling out of their cribs like assembly-line cakes on "I Love Lucy."

The joys of parenting are imperiled, however, with the arrival of Hi's old cellmates Evelle and Gale Snopes (played by William Forsythe and the baby-faced John Goodman), who sit drooling their breakfast cereal down their chins while warning Edwina of the consequences of not breast-feeding. "That's why we ended up in prison," says dopey Evelle. Goodman and Forsythe make a merry pair of incorrigibles from their muddy jailbreak (and symbolic rebirth) to their final holdup (an easy job they heard about from one of Nixon's imprisoned plumbers). In one scene, they scream continually, like colicky, grown-up variations on the adorable Nathan Jr. himself (played by the adorable T.J. Kuhn).

Eventually comes the Lone Motorcyclist of the Apocalypse, a scuzzy grenade-toting bounty hunter in search of the baby. Blowing up bunnies and butterflies on route, Tex Cobb is the uneasy rider who probably embodies every parent's fear of the nuclear world they bring their child into. And certainly he is Hi's nightmare incarnate

Barton Fink (1991)

Cast and Crew for

Barton Fink (1991)

Directed by Joel / Ethan Coen


Runtime: 116 min Country: USA / UK Language: English Colour: Colour Sound Mix: Dolby Certification: Argentina:13 / Australia:M / Chile:14 / Finland:K-14 / Germany:16 (bw) / Norway:15 / Portugal:M/12 / South Korea:18 / Spain:18 / Sweden:15 / UK:15 / USA:R

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Turturro
....
Barton Fink
John Goodman
....
Charlie Meadows
Judy Davis
....
Audrey Taylor
Michael Lerner
....
Jack Lipnick
John Mahoney
....
W.P. Mayhew
Tony Shalhoub
....
Ben Geisler
Jon Polito
....
Lou Breeze
Steve Buscemi
....
Chet
David Warrilow
....
Garland Stanford
Richard Portnow
....
Detective Mastrionotti
Christopher Murney
....
Detective Deutsch
I.M. Hobson
....
Derek
Meagen Fay
....
Poppy Carnahan
Lance Davis
....
Richard St. Claire
Harry Bugin
....
Pete


Writing credits
Joel Coen

(written by) &
Ethan Coen

(written by)

Produced by
Ben Barenholtz
....
executive producer
Ethan Coen
....
producer
Bill Durkin
....
executive producer
Jim Pedas
....
executive producer
Ted Pedas
....
executive producer
Graham Place
....
co-producer


Original Music by
Carter Burwell




Cinematography by
Roger Deakins




Film Editing by
Ethan Coen

(as Roderick Jaynes)
Joel Coen

(as Roderick Jaynes)


Casting by
Donna Isaacson


John S. Lyons

(as John Lyons)


Production Design by
Dennis Gassner




Art Direction by
Robert C. Goldstein

(as Bob Goldstein)
Leslie McDonald




Set Decoration by
Nancy Haigh




Costume Design by
Richard Hornung




Makeup Department
Fríða Aradóttir
....
hair stylist (as Frida Aradottir)
Jean Ann Black
....
makeup artist (as Jean Black)
Sarah Gaye Deal
....
assistant makeup artist (as Sarah Deal)
Keith Edmier
....
special makeup effects assistant
Peggy Hannaman
....
assistant hair stylist
Rick Lazzarini
....
makeup artist
Denise Van Arsdale-West
....
assistant makeup artist
Julie A. Welsh
....
assistant makeup artist (as Julie Ann Welsh)





Filmography for Joel and Ethan Coen
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0001054/

Ladykillers, The (2004) (post-production)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) ... aka O' Brother (2000) (France)
Big Lebowski, The (1998)
Fargo (1996)
Hudsucker Proxy, The (1994) ... aka Hudsucker - Der große Sprung (1994) (Germany)
Barton Fink (1991)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Blood Simple. (1984)

Filmography for John Turturro
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0001806/

Filmography for John Goodman
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0000422/

About the film
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0101410/combined

If there is a favourite image in the movies by the Coen brothers, it's of crass, venal men behind desks, who possess power the heroes envy. Maybe that's because, like all filmmakers, the Coens have spent a lot of time on the carpet, pitching projects to executives. In "Blood Simple," the guy behind the desk was M. Emmet Walsh, as a scheming private detective. In "Raising Arizona," it was Trey Wilson's furniture czar. In "Miller's Crossing," it was Albert Finney, as a mob boss. In "Barton Fink," it is Michael Lerner, as the head of a Hollywood studio. All of these men are vulgar, smoke cigars, and view their supplicants with contempt.

To their desks come characters that want to make a deal with the devil. They know these men are evil, compromised and corrupt. But they want what they have - a lot of money. "Barton Fink," the latest Coen film (directed by Joel, produced by Ethan, written by both), tells the story of a man who would like to sell out to Hollywood, if only he had the talent. Barton Fink is a left-wing New York playwright, modelled on the Clifford Odets of "Waiting for Lefty," who writes one proletarian hand-wringer in the late 1930s and then is summoned to Hollywood, where Jack Lipnick (Lerner), the vulgarian in charge of Capitol Pictures, pays him piles of money and assigns him to write a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery.

Fink, played with a likable, dim earnestness by John Turturro, checks into an eerie hotel that looks designed by Edward Hopper. There is apparently only one other tenant, the affable Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), a travelling salesman who lives next door and says he could tell Fink a lot of interesting stories. But Fink, who claims to be the poet of the workingman, is not interested in a real proletarian, and spends most of his time staring at his typewriter in despair. He has writer's block.

Lou Breeze (Jon Polito), the studio czar's right-hand man, tells Fink he should look up W.P. Mayhew (John Mahoney), another great American writer on the studio payroll. Mayhew is obviously modelled on William Faulkner, and Mahoney, with a moustache, is his uncanny double. Fink arrives breathlessly at the great man's feet, only to discover that he is a raving drunk and that his "secretary" (Judy Davis) has written most of his recent work. The three go on a picnic one day, and the scene builds into a wry comic vignette - some satire, some slapstick.
Like all of the Coen productions, "Barton Fink" has a deliberate visual style. The Hollywood of the late 1930s and early 1940s is seen here as a world of Art Deco and deep shadows, long hotel corridors and bottomless swimming pools. And there is a horror lurking underneath the affluent surface. Goodman, as the ordinary man in the next room, is revealed to have inhuman secrets, and the movie leads up to an apocalyptic vision of blood, flames and ruin, with Barton Fink unable to influence events with either his art or his strength.

The Coens mean this aspect of the film, I think, to be read as an emblem of the rise of Nazism. They paint Fink as an ineffectual and impotent left-wing intellectual, who sells out while telling himself he is doing the right thing, who thinks he understands the "common man" but does not understand that, for many common men, fascism had a seductive appeal. Fink tries to write a wrestling picture and sleeps with the great writer's mistress, while the Holocaust approaches and the nice guy in the next room turns out to be a monster.

It would be a mistake to insist too much on this aspect of the movie, however, since "Barton Fink" is above all a black comedy in the tradition of David Lynch, Luis Bunuel and the Coens themselves. Turturro is the right man for the role, making Fink a plodding, introspective, unsure intellectual whose lack of insight is matched only by his lack of talent. The movie is a little unfair to Odets, its inspiration (even if he did go to Hollywood in the late 1930s and write a boxing picture, "Golden Boy," which did not drip with political commitment). But it is unfair, hilariously, to Faulkner, whose works were not written by a "secretary," but who was by all accounts just as much of a boozer as the Mayhew character.

"Barton Fink" won the 1991 Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and an unprecedented two more prizes as well, for director and actor. Since Cannes juries traditionally limit themselves to one award per film, their ecstasy would seem to indicate "Barton Fink" is one of the greatest films ever made. It is not. But it's an assured piece of comic filmmaking, and perhaps a warning by the Coens to themselves about what can happen when brilliant young talents from the East make that trek out to the land of the guys behind the desks.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chinatown (1974)

Cast and Crew for

Chinatown (1974)

Directed by Roman Polanski


Runtime: 131 min Country: USA Language: English Color: Color (Technicolor) Sound Mix: Mono Certification: Australia:M / Finland:K-16 / Netherlands:16 / Norway:15 / Spain:18 / Sweden:15 / UK:15 / USA:R / West Germany:16



Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson .... J. J. (Jake) Gittes

Faye Dunaway .... Evelyn Cross Mulwray

John Huston .... Noah Cross

Perry Lopez .... Lt. Lou Escobar

John Hillerman .... Russ Yelburton

Darrell Zwerling .... Hollis I. Mulwray

Diane Ladd .... Ida Sessions

Roy Jenson .... Claude Mulvihill

Roman Polanski .... Man with knife

Richard Bakalyan .... Det. Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)

Joe Mantell .... Lawrence Walsh

Bruce Glover .... Duffy

Nandu Hinds .... Sophie

James O'Rear .... Lawyer

James Hong .... Kahn





Writing credits
Robert Towne


Roman Polanski

uncredited

Produced by
C.O. Erickson
....
associate producer
Robert Evans
....
producer



Original Music by
Rudolf Friml

(song "Some Day")
Jerry Goldsmith


Brian Hooker

(song "Some Day")


Cinematography by
John A. Alonzo




Film Editing by
Sam O'Steen




Casting by
Jane Feinberg


Mike Fenton




Production Design by
Richard Sylbert




Art Direction by
W. Stewart Campbell




Set Decoration by
Ruby R. Levitt

(as Ruby Levitt)


Costume Design by
Anthea Sylbert




Makeup Department
Hank Edds
....
makeup artist
Susan Germaine
....
hair stylist
Lee Harman
....
makeup artist
Vivienne Walker
....
hair stylist


Production Management
C.O. Erickson
....
unit production manager



Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael Ader
....
second assistant director
Hawk Koch
....
assistant director (as Howard W. Koch Jr.)
Lee Rafner
....
second assistant director (uncredited)


Art Department
Bill MacSems
....
property master
Gabe Resh
....
set designer
Robert Resh
....
set designer
Mike Reedy
....
property maker (uncredited)


Sound Department
Clint Althouse
....
boom operator (as Clint Althaus)
Bob Cornett
....
sound editor
Charles Grenzbach
....
sound re-recordist
John C. Hammell
....
music editor
Larry Jost
....
sound mixer
Howard Beals
....
sound editor (uncredited)
David Dockendorf
....
sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Roger Sword
....
sound editor (uncredited)
John Wilkinson
....
sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)


Special Effects by
Logan Frazee
....
special effects


Stunts
Jim Burk
....
stunts
Alan Gibbs
....
stunts (uncredited)
Hal Needham
....
stunt coordinator (uncredited)


Filmography for Roman Polanski
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000591/

Filmography for Jack Nicholson
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000197/

Filmography for Faye Dunaway
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001159/

Filmography for John Huston
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001379/

Filmography for Robert Evans
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0263172/
About the film
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071315/

`Are you alone?" the private eye is asked in Roman Polanski's "Chinatown." "Isn't everybody?" he replies. That loneliness is central to a lot of noir heroes, who plunder other people's secrets while running from their own. The tone was set by Dashiel Hammett, and its greatest practitioner was Raymond Chandler. To observe Humphrey Bogart in Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon" and Chandler's "The Big Sleep" is to see a fundamental type of movie character being born--a kind of man who occupies human tragedy for a living.

Yet the Bogart character is never merely cold. His detachment masks romanticism, which is why he's able to idealize bad women. His characters have more education and sensitivity than they need for their line of work. He wrote the rules; later actors were able to slip into the role of noir detective like pulling on a comfortable sweater. But great actors don't follow rules, they illustrate them. Jack Nicholson's character J.J. Gittes, who is in every scene of "Chinatown" (1974), takes the Bogart line and gentles it down. He plays a nice, sad man.
We remember the famous bandage plastered on Nicholson's nose (after the Polanski character slices him), and think of him as a hard-boiled tough guy. Not at all. In one scene he beats a man almost to death, but during his working day he projects a courtly passivity. "I'm in matrimonial work," he says, and adds, "it's my metier." His metier? What's he doing with a word like that? And why does he answer the telephone so politely, instead of barking "Gittes!" into it? He can be raw, he can tell dirty jokes, he can accuse people of base motives, but all the time there's a certain detached underlevel that makes his character sympathetic: Like all private eyes, he mud wrestles with pigs, but unlike most of them, he doesn't like it.

Nicholson can be sharp-edged, menacing, aggressive. He knows how to go over the top (see "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and his Joker in "Batman"). His performance is key in keeping "Chinatown" from becoming just a genre crime picture--that, and a Robert Towne screenplay that evokes an older Los Angeles, a small city in a large desert. The crimes in "Chinatown" include incest and murder, but the biggest crime is against the city's own future, by men who see that to control the water is to control the wealth. At one point Gittes asks millionaire Noah Cross (John Huston) why he needs to be richer: "How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can't already afford?" Cross replies: "The future, Mr. Gitts, the future." (He never does get Gittes' name right.)

Gittes' involvement begins with an adultery case. He's visited by a woman who claims to be the wife of a man named Mulwray. She says her husband is cheating on her. Gittes' investigation leads him to Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling), to city hearings, to dried river beds and eventually to Mulwray's drowned body and to the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway). Stumbling across murders, lies and adulteries, he senses some larger reality beneath everything, some conspiracy involving people and motives unknown.

This crime is eventually revealed as an attempt to buy up the San Fernando Valley cheaply by diverting water so that its orange growers go broke. Then that water and more water, obtained through bribery and corruption, will turn the valley green and create wealth. The valley has long been seen as a key to California fortunes: I remember Joel McCrea telling me that on his first day as a movie actor, Will Rogers offered two words of advice: "Buy land." McCrea bought in the valley and died a rich man, but he was in the second wave of speculation.

The original valley grab was the Owne River Valley scandal of 1908, mirrored in the 1930s by Towne. In the preface to his Oscar-winning screenplay, he recalls: "My wife, Julie, returned to the hotel one afternoon with two quilts and a public library copy of Carey McWilliams' Southern California Country, an Island on the Land--and with it the crime that formed the basis of Chinatown." McWilliams, for decades the editor of the Nation, presented Towne not only with information about the original land and water grab, but also evoked the old Los Angeles, a city born in a desert where no city logically should be found. The screenplay explains, "Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water." John A. Alonzo's cinematography, which got one of the movie's 11 Oscar nominations, evokes the L.A. you can glimpse in the backgrounds of old movies, where the sun beats down on streets that are too wide, and buildings seem more defiant than proud. (Notice the shot where the bright sun falls on the fedoras of Gittes and two cops, casting their eyes into shadows like black masks.)

Gittes becomes a man who just wants to get to the bottom of things. He's tired of people's lies. And where does he stand with Evelyn Mulwray, played by Dunaway as a cool, elegant woman who sometimes--especially when her father is mentioned--seems fragile as china? First he's deceived by the fake Evelyn Mulwray, and then by the real one. Then he thinks he loves her. Then he thinks he's deceived again. Then he thinks she's hiding her husband's mistress. Then she says it's her sister. Then she says it's her daughter. He doesn't like being jerked around.
Her father the millionaire is played by Huston with treacly charm and mean little eyes. There is a luncheon where he serves Gittes a fish with the head still on, the eyes regarding the man about to eat it. "Just as long as you don't serve the chicken that way," Gittes says. In life and on the screen, Huston (who directed "The Maltese Falcon") could turn on disarming charm by admitting to his failings: "Of course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough."

Like most noir stories, "Chinatown" ends in a flurry of revelation. All is explained, relationships are redefined, and justice is done--or not. Towne writes of "my eventual conflict with Roman and enduring disappointment over the literal and ghoulishly bleak climax" of the movie. Certainly the wrong people are alive (and dead) at the end of the film, but I am not sure Polanski was wrong. He made the movie just five years after his wife, Sharon Tate, was one of the victims of the Manson gang, and can be excused for tilting toward despair. If the film had been made 10 years later, the studio might have insisted on an upbeat ending, but it was produced during that brief window when Robert Evans oversaw a series of Paramount's best films, including "The Godfather."

For Polanski, born in 1933 in Paris, reared in Poland, "Chinatown" was intended as a fresh start in Hollywood. After several brilliant thrillers made in Europe in the early 1960s ("Knife in the Water," "Repulsion"), he came to California and had an enormous success ("Rosemary's Baby," 1968). Then came the Manson murders, and he fled to Europe, making the curious "Macbeth" (1971), with its parallels to the cult killings. After "Chinatown" came charges of sex with an under-age girl, and exile in Europe. "Chinatown" shows he might have developed into a major Hollywood player, instead of scurrying to finance bizarre projects such as "Pirates" (1986).

For Nicholson, the role had enormous importance. After a decade's slumming in exploitation films, he made an indelible impression in "Easy Rider" and followed it with strong performances in "Five Easy Pieces" (1970), "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) and "The Last Detail" (1973). But with Jake Gittes he stepped into Bogart's shoes as a man attractive to audiences because he suggests both comfort and danger. Men see him as a pal; wise women find weary experience more attractive than untrained lust. From Gittes forward, Nicholson created the persona of a man who had seen it all and was still capable of being wickedly amused. He could sit in the front row at a basketball game and grin at the TV camera as if he expected the players to commit lascivious deeds right there on the floor.

"Chinatown" was seen as a neo-noir when it was released--an update on an old genre. Now years have passed and film history blurs a little, and it seems to settle easily beside the original noirs. That is a compliment.