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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true great - a modern-day masterpiece.
I've lost count the number of times I've seen this brilliantly executed period piece. Beautifully photographed and superbly played by all concerned, a director on the top of his game and a screenplay that screams class and pulls you in to the film.

Jack Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, a Private Investigator who gets embroiled in double dealings and deceits in the...
Published on 29 Dec 2005 by film fan

versus
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forget it, Jake - it's Paramount.
Pre-ordered and hugely anticipated Blu Ray disc of Chinatown finally arrived. This is my favourite movie. An outstanding collision of screenplay, direction, cinematography, acting and Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant score. What a joy to finally have it in pristine Blu Ray glory with all the extras, a restored print, a high def sound-track.

Forget it. No extras...
Published on 29 May 2012 by Wishavian


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true great - a modern-day masterpiece., 29 Dec 2005
By 
film fan (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Chinatown [DVD] (DVD)
I've lost count the number of times I've seen this brilliantly executed period piece. Beautifully photographed and superbly played by all concerned, a director on the top of his game and a screenplay that screams class and pulls you in to the film.

Jack Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, a Private Investigator who gets embroiled in double dealings and deceits in the clammy climate of a pre-war Southern California where the orange groves flourish from the water supply being pumped there in the middle of a drought. He gets hired by a beautiful socialite, Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband's extra-marital affair and to find out who his killer was.

Although this is a wonderful film that is also a gem and a landmark movie in the tradition of film noir, some of the concepts featured in the film can still somehow ring true watching it today. Jack Nicholson has never been so masterful and Faye Dunaway has never looked so sexy and sultry as she does here. It also features stunning support in the shape of film legend John Huston, father of Anjelica Huston.

This is one of those films that should be seen. Many people think that L.A. Confidential is better than this. In my personal view though, this set the standard for other film noir movies to follow. And only L.A. Confidential has been able to come close. This is still the better film in my opinion. It's one of my favourite films of all time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A milestone in film noir history., 4 Mar 2004
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
"Water is the life blood of every community." With this statement, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's website begins its biography of William Mulholland, the real life model of two of this movie's characters, water department chief Hollis Mulwray (an obvious play on words) and water tycoon Noah Cross. And indeed water, the access to it and the wealth it provides, is what drives everything and everybody in this movie set in the ever-thirsty Los Angeles of the first decades of this century, a budding boom town on the brink of victory or decay ... and whether it will be one or the other depends on the city's ongoing access to drinking water.
"Chinatown"'s story is based on William Mulholland's greatest coup; the construction of the Owen Valley aqueduct which provided Los Angeles with a steady source of drinking water but also entailed a lot of controversy. Splitting Mulholland's complex real-life persona into two fictional characters (the noble Mulwray who thinks that water should belong to the people and who refuses to authorize an unsavory new dam construction project and the greedy, unscrupulous Cross who will use *any* means to advance his personal fortune) creates the movie's one necessary black and white conflict ... other than this, the predominant shades are those of gray.
Into the wars raging around L.A.'s water supply, private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is unwittingly thrown when a woman introducing herself as Hollis Mulwray's wife asks him to investigate her husband's alleged infidelity. Before he realizes what is going on he is drawn into a web of treachery and treason, and fatally attracted to the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), Noah Cross (John Huston)'s daughter. Soon reaching the conclusion that he has been used, he refuses to drop the investigation, and instead decides to dig his way to the source of the scheming he has witnessed - the classical film noir setup.
To say that this movie is one of the best examples of the genre ever made is stating the obvious ... actually, it borders on being superfluous. Few other films are as tightly acted, scripted and directed, from Jack Nicholson's dapper-dressed, dogged Jake Gittes, who like any good noir detective is not half as hard boiled as he would have us believe, to Faye Dunaway's seductive and sad Evelyn Mulray, John Huston's cold-blooded and corrupt Noah Cross, Roman Polanski's brooding direction and Robert Towne's award-winning screen play, so full of memorable lines and the classical noir gumshoe dialogue, yet far more than just a well-done copy. And throughout it all, there that idea of Chinatown - that place where you do as little as possible, and where if you try to help someone, you're likely going to make double sure they're getting hurt.
"Chinatown" was Roman Polanski's return to Hollywood, five years after his wife (Sharon Tate) had been one of the victims of the Manson gang. Polanski and Towne fought hard whether the movie should have a happy ending or not. Polanski won, studio politics were favorable at the time, and the version we all know was produced - with one of the most stomach-churning endings in all of film history. But it is hard to imagine what kind of happy ending would have worked with the movie at all: too sordid are the characters' morals and too deep-rooted their conflicts. Unfortunately, being released the same year as "The Godfather II" robbed "Chinatown" much of the Academy Award attention it would have deserved; of 11 nominations (best movie, best actor - Jack Nicholson -, best actress - Faye Dunaway -, best director - Roman Polanski -, best screenplay - Robert Towne -, best original score - Eliot Goldsmith -, best cinematography, and others), the movie only won the Oscar for Towne's screenplay. Generations of fans, however, have long since recognized that "Chinatown" is a milestone in the history of the film noir and in the professional history of its participants, and one of Hollywood's finest hours.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb 1930s-Era Detective Drama - Jack Nicholson at his Best, 10 Mar 2008
Chinatown is a terrific period drama of the 'Film-Noir' genre (although note it is filmed in colour !) and in my top 5 best films. It was directed by Roman Polanski and deservedly won an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

It features 2 fantastic lead actor performances, from Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, and is perhaps notable for the fact that the Nicholson character is never off the screen since the film is made from his viewpoint.

He plays a very 'colourful' private detective who gets himself involved with an investigation into an apparent murder, corruption and family feuding. Things progress dramatically and he unearths many well-kept secrets....

It is set in 1930s Los Angeles and the production values to reflect that era (eg costume and vehicles) are superb. Similarly, the musical soundtrack (which it turns out only replaced an inferior version at the very last minute !) helps to portray the mood.

There are some other well-known actors (eg John Huston) but this film belongs to Nicholson, who delivers his lines (which include some hilarious one-liners) superlatively and exhibits all the necessary emotions of confusion, aggression and competence in a lively and masterly fashion. I shan't give it away, but watch out for a 'sharp' and amusing cameo by the director himself....

The picture on this 'Special Collector's Edition' disc has been restored - it is excellent and a clear improvement over the previous issue; it is sharp, bright, flawless and has vivid colours.

I didn't notice any great change in the soundtrack, largely because the previous issue was already quite good.

There are a number of interesting featurettes which include contributions from Polanski, Nicholson and the writer of the Screenplay, Robert Towne.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forget it, Jake - it's Paramount., 29 May 2012
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Pre-ordered and hugely anticipated Blu Ray disc of Chinatown finally arrived. This is my favourite movie. An outstanding collision of screenplay, direction, cinematography, acting and Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant score. What a joy to finally have it in pristine Blu Ray glory with all the extras, a restored print, a high def sound-track.

Forget it. No extras. Same old murky print. Volume on the soundtrack even appears to be limited.

Five stars for Chinatown the movie.

No stars for Paramount the cheapskates.

Shameful.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive disappointment!, 29 May 2012
By 
M. P. Mccabe (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Appalling Blu-ray completely lacking the extras available on the US BD. No excuses for the way this classic has been treated. Just vote with your wallets and avoid at all costs!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T forget it Jake - its Chinatown, 21 Nov 2001
This review is from: Chinatown [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This incredible film is the high point of many careers - Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway (easily her finest hour) and most of all the great Polish director Roman Polanski. It is a beautiful evocation of pre war LA - a 'noir' film rendered in bright Californian colour, a brooding, moody, twisting masterpiece with a score to match. It is an American film with more than a dash of the European and that gives it a deft touch and a serious heart. It is also a detective story that rewards repeated viewings, not least for one of the finest scripts to come out of Hollywood since the noirs of the 1940s and maybe the greatest evocation of a past time and place ever committed to celluloid, short of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. None of the characters here are black and white, there are no Hollywood 'stock' characters - all of them are just like you and me, some good in them, mostly bad. Nicholson followed this up many years later with the sequel "The Two Jakes" - also worth buying, but simply not in the same league - Godfather III syndrome, if you will. Whilst Chinatown is not a moralistic film, you can take something away with you from Roman's own line in the film "you know what happens to nosey parkers? They lose their noses."
Sheer genius, from start to finish. Buy it today.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this collectors edition! Perfect film, okay extras., 9 Dec 2007
By 
Cottoboi "chriso" (Bromley, London, UK) - See all my reviews
Chinatown is a cult classic and was the film that broke the mould in Jack Nicholson's career. The plot line is complex and it would be criminal if it was ruined. But, it basically involves water in the heat of LA during the 1930's and a dark family secret. The hero of the film is J.J. Gittes (Nicholson), a private gumshoe on the case of an adultery crime. The film is powerful and Nicholson is at his rawest and most intense during Chinatown. It is a wonderful, stylish thriller that is sure to be viewed again and again. The extras on this disk are fairly limited. Some of the documentaries are very entertaining but too short. This can be excused when considering the update of the feature's audio and great picture transfer. You will need patience to enjoy Chinatown, but if you can deal with that, you will be a lucky individual indeed...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars LOUSY EUROPEAN RELEASE CONTAINS NO EXTRAS!!! SHAME ON PARAMOUNT EU!!, 17 July 2012
By 
Jesper W. Rasmussen (Copenhagen, DENMARK) - See all my reviews
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This is bordering on dishonesty! This release, although completely similar to US packaging, contains absolutely non of the wonderful extras found on the US release.

The same goes for certain editions of TO CATCH A THIEF and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and othe Paramount releases. Make SURE you do your homework before buying!

It is incredible to me my they would leave out the extras - costs NOTHING extra to include them as they are already mastered for the US release??!

STAY AWAY FROM THE EUROPEAN BLU RAY RELEASES FROM PARAMOUNT HOME VIDEO!
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars English Blu Ray - DO NOT BUY!!!!!, 30 May 2012
By 
M. Blunden (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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The film is an absolute masterpiece. Paramount howeber have seen fit to throw us a sub-standard product. None of the impressive extras from the American blu ray have come over and the picture quality while in HD is average. Grab the region free import instead. I will be sending my copy back immediately. Hugely disapointing.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING!!! BLU-RAY PROBABLY WON'T HAVE THE EXTRAS THAT THE AMERICAN RELEASE HAS!!! : THANKS A LOT, PARAMOUNT U.K!!!, 17 May 2012
The five stars is for the film itself, BTW.

Anyone who is thinking of pre-ordering this, beware... there has been news that it might end up a vanilla disc in the U.K. Apparently, the German disc (released by Paramount, just like the U.S and U.K) which has been already been released, doesn't have any of the extras as follows...

Audio Commentary: Screenwriter Robert Towne and Filmmaker David Fincher.

Water and Power (480p, 1:17:50)

Chinatown: An Appreciation (480p, 26:15)

Chinatown: The Beginning and the End (480p, 19:28)

Chinatown: Filming (480p, 25:45)

Chinatown: The Legacy (480p. 9:37)

Chinatown Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 3:20)

I just checked the BBFC website and the only thing they have certificated for the Blu-Ray is the damn menus! (which I am sure are just static with not even Jerry Goldsmith's mysterious score to give it atmosphere!) It's less than two weeks before the release as of now, so this doesn't bode well at all! Paramount U.K have cheaped out on this big time ; it isn't the first time they have done something similar and it won't be the last either!

Luckly, the American disc is Region Free, so there will be no problem with it playing on U.K players, though it's bound to cost more in shipping...

ONCE AGAIN, GO SCREW YOURSELF, PARAMOUNT U.K!!!
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