Los Angeles has played so many cities over the years that when it does play itself locals tend to take notice. And when the movie itself is not simply set in the city but very much about the city, well. Into the treasured annals of moviedom it goes.
You probably know where this is leading, and certainly if you recognize the play on one of the most famous last lines in cinema, which appears above. (Full line: "Forget it, Jake; it's Chinatown." We want to be jake with Paramount Pictures and screenwriter Robert Towne, of course.)
Yes, we are indeed talking about "Chinatown," the 1974 noir that utilized several Los Angeles locales and that certain sunny dread our city has expertly exported, via celluloid, to the world.
The movie's various LA locations are plentiful. Check out the long list: Echo Park and South Pasadena and Brentwood and probably somewhere near you.
One of movie's main settings is downtown, so it's a treat to see the film screened there. Which will be at the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, April 14. LA Conservancy and the American Planning Association are behind the night.
A ticket is twenty bucks. There will be Wurlitzer action and there will be a short film about Hollywood and its early movie ties. LA Conservancy, you had us at "Wurlitzer"; we're sold.
"Chinatown" turns 40 in a year or so, which is a bit hard to believe, so it is probably time for another viewing. Plus? Jack Nicholson in a fedora. Plus? Faye Dunaway in shoulder pads. Plus? John Houston, tour-de-force-ing the heck out of one of moviedom's least savory characters.
We'll never, ever forget it.