The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
Sam Wasson offers compelling account of the origins and making of Polanski’s film
Jack Nicholson in Chinatown: Faye Dunaway noticed director Roman Polanski’s enjoyment of the scene in which she is slapped by Nicholson.
In August 1969, not long after the senseless murder of five people, including actress Sharon Tate, at a house near his own, in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, screenwriter Robert Towne decided that he needed a guard dog. The night after the killings another two murders were committed, and Los Angeles panicked. No one knew who was responsible. Anyone could be next.
“We were all running around with guns in our purses,” said Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. “We all suspected each other.”