pugluvr's 70's movie education continues: Chinatown

When I was a younger woman, the big dramatic movies of the 70’s never appealed to me, so I never saw them. They were “guy” movies: graphic, gritty, violent and sometimes depressing. I liked older movies, comedies, etc.

However, starting in the mid-90’s, I began to run out of the types of movies that I liked: I had seen just about all of them. So I gritted my teeth and advanced to the 70’s. I started out with The Godfather, parts I and II. From there I went to Midnight Cowboy, and progressed rapidly to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

May I say what an idiot I was for missing these movies? I loved them every one. Yes, they were graphic “guy” movies, but they were also brilliant masterpieces.

The latest one was Chinatown, which I saw just a week ago. I had put that one off because I don’t care for Jack Nicholson. Judas Priest! What a flick. It was so beautifully paced, moving at a perfect speed from scene to scene, logically and convincingly. The cinematography was luscious, and it was filmed in many locations that I recognized, since I was born and raised in the L.A./Pasadena area. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway were marvelous in their roles, and for once JN did not play a sneering, leering degenerate. John Huston was chilling in his role as the conniving multimillionaire. And the plot was a good and convincing one. The water rights story melded perfectly with a classic gumshoe tale.

Next on the list: Apocalypse Now. I know this one will be violent, and this is the reason I’ve put off watching it. But I saw the last 20 minutes of it the other day, and it was so mesmerizing and beautifully filmed that I know I have to see it now.

::kicking myself for my early prejudices::

Oh, well, if I hadn’t put off watching these movies, I’d have nothing to watch now. A blessing in disguise, I suppose.

Funny, I just mentioned “Chinatown” in my ripping of rotton film not 10 minutes ago. Yes, it is a good piece of work. Very enjoyable.

As far as “Apocalypse Now” goes, it actually isn’t all that violent. More of a psycological thriller, maybe? I have seen the original and the “directors cut” and I vote for the shorter of the two (the original). The added scenes did nothing for the story in my sordid opinion. Still a good film, but not a great one.

Never kiss an animal that can lick its own butt.

You should put Network on your list.

Chinatown is one of my favorite films. As I’ve recently been reading Raymond Chandler (who is fast becoming my about my favorite writer) I see how well the movie captured the depressive lonliness and mood of those novels – Change Jake Gittes to Philip Marlowe and Chinatown to Bay City and it’s the best Chandler film ever made.


If you’re going to watch Apocalypse Now, you might also want to read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, upon which Apocalypse Now is based.

Conrad died decades before the war in Vietnam, and Heart of Darkness takes place in Africa instead of southeast Asia, but it is considered by many to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century and as a fan of Conrad I like promoting his works whenever I can :wink:

I opened this thread to offer up exactly the same suggestion.

For the OP, it is a scathing & very funny satire on the TV industry with a career best performance from Peter Finch.

You might also want to check out;

One flew over the cuckoos nest
The conversation
The french connection I/II

All are classic, superb 70’s movies

Network was one of those epiphany movies for me, it said everything I felt but was too inarticulate to say.

70’s movies which, if they happen to be on TV, suck me right in:

All the President’s Men

American Graffiti

A Clockwork Orange

Dog Day Afternoon
Not sure they stand the test of time, but I love them:



I own these 70’s films:

Don’t Look Now Venice can be very creepy

Little Big Man Dustin Hoffman at his finest; great storytelling

I resurrect my old thread to state that I finally rented Apocalypse Now; I watched it last night.


Wow – what a stunner. What a hypnotizing, vivid image-laden film.

You’re right, gatopescado, it wasn’t all that violent, although I did have to turn my head when the water buffalo was sacrificed. I liked the straightforward and involving plot: Willard must go upriver and find and assassinate the wacked-out Kurtz without following the same path to insanity (sanity?) that Kurtz did - in essence, Willard became the “snail on the razor blade” we hear Kurtz rambling about in the recording. But what is even better than the plot is the cinematography and the brilliant images that will stay with one forever. Others best like the scene of the helicopter attack on the village, but my favorite is the camera’s dreamlike slow approach to Kurtz’s temple compound from the river. It reminded me of the scene of the young Don Corleone’s unhurried stalking of the boss from the rooftops of little Italy during the festa.

I read varying reviews of Brando’s performance as Kurtz, that he was either brilliant or dragging and rambling. I think his peculiar rambling perfectly portrayed an ambitious military genius who has seen too much war and has imploded.

I’m getting the disc back out tomorrow morning just to watch the first few minutes of jungle, helicopters, napalm, and Doors.

See the documentary about the filming of AN, “Hearts of Darkness.”

Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, watch “The Two Jakes”, the sequel to “Chinatown”. Directed by Nicholson and a stinker of the first order.