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.

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.”

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.