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the skunks of los feliz
12.10.2004
 
If you like the movie Chinatown (and what self-respecting Angeleno doesn't?), here's an interesting article on the film's 30 year reunion. Most of the principals were there, sans Roman Polanski, natch, who's still on the lam from a child-sex charge, and they shared some interesting behind- the-scenes stories.

I love this movie. I love it because of it's painstaking recreation of L.A. in the 30's, a sun-kissed town that was still a frontier in so many ways. The scene in which Gittes and his operative paddle about on Echo Park lake while spying on a suspected adulterer makes me wish (even more than usual) that I could see L.A. back then, just for a day. An L.A. before freeways, before smog, before , even, the San Fernando Valley was transformed from a idyllic citrus orchard into a sprawling wasteland of ranch homes and strip malls.

Of course, Los Angeles was not a Edenic paradise then, anymore than now. This city attracts a certain type of person who, like the film's Mulholland avatar Noah Cross, view the acquisition of power as an end which jusitfies any means. They're still working for the DWP, or the studios, or the big developers, or in City Hall.

They're as endemic to Los Angeles as the coyotes who prowl the hills, the hawks that patrol the skies, or the corrupt police who turn their heads as they pocket a bribe. They'll always be with us, as unmovable as the San Gabriel mountains.

The movie's famous last line says it all: "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
 
Comments:
I'm with you there -- I'd love, just for a day or two, to go back in time and shop in the grand department stores downtown. Catch a flick at one of the movie palaces on Broadway. Check out the Victorians on Bunker Hill. Go to a Hollywood Stars game at Gilmore Field. Get lunch at the Brown Derby. And of course, ride the Red Car.
But on the flip side, the Los Angeles of that era obviously wasn't idyllic -- it was corrupt, extremely racist, etc. But still, I often think how cool it would be to step back in time.
 
Dude -- the story link doesn't work.
 
Sorry about the dead link....

I found a Guardian UK story that should fill in nicely.

Thanks for the heads up, Rob
 
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