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					        Lecture 7:
Noir History in Chinatown




  Professor Aaron Baker
                            1
          In this Lecture…
• Hard Boiled
  Detectives
• Existentialism in
  Chinatown
• L.A. Water and
  Power


                             2
      In the Last Lecture…
• Auteur Theory
  (Film Authorship)
• Corrected Genre
• The Godfather (1972)
  – Gangster conventions
  – Social critique


                             3
Hard Boiled Detectives




  Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre in The Maltese Falcon, 1941



      Lecture 7: Part I
                                                                4
       Raymond Chandler

• Detective Fiction
  Writer
• Hollywood
  Screenwriter
  (Double Indemnity)
• The Big Sleep
  (1939)
• Philip Marlowe       Raymond Chandler



                                          5
             Knight Errant
•   Outlaw Hero
•   Strong
•   Self Reliant
•   Principled


                   Bogart pointing a gun in The Big Sleep 1946




                                                                 6
     Marlowe in The Big Sleep:
•   Hired by Sternwood Family
•   Blackmail and Murder
•   Stain glass panel of Knight saving Lady
•   “I would sooner or later have to climb up
    there and help him.”



                                            7
Existentialism in Chinatown




      Lecture 7: Part II
                              8
               Jake Gittes
• Seems like Marlowe
  – Private Investigator in
    L.A.
  – Smart and Tough
• Less Control
• Less Principled
                              Nicholson in Chinatown




                                                       9
          L.A. in Chinatown

• Noir world
• Pervaded by:
  – Corruption
  – Greed
  – Crime
  – Violence
                     Image from Chinatown




                                            10
  Gittes Less Idealistic Than
           Marlowe
. Businessman
•
• Flexible Morality
• Divorce Work
• Other People’s
  Dirty Laundry



                                11
                Rewards
• Marlowe’s modest
  office
• Gittes:
  – Spacious Office
  – Pretty Secretary
                       Gittes looking daper


  – Two Assistants
  – Well Dressed
  – New Car

                                              12
      Clip: Why So Touchy?
Gittes reacts
Angrily when man
in barbershop
criticizes his work.


      Clip #1
                             13
  Like Marlowe, Good Talker
• Self Defense in
  Mean World
• Cruder (Jokes)
• Quicker to Violence




                              14
                 Meaning?
• $ = Meaning for Gittes
• World Around Him
  Mysterious
• Chinatown as Metaphor
• Barriers to
  Understanding
  – Cultural
  – Linguistic
                            15
                Job with DA

• “Hey Lou, still
  throwing Chinamen
  in jail for spitting in
  laundry?”
• Do as little as
  possible


                              16
         L.A. in Chinatown
• Restricted Narration
• Secret Power
  Relations/Deals
• “Forget it Jake, it’s
  Chinatown.”



                             17
          Roman Polanski
• Tragic/Absurd Life
• Lived in Poland
• Holocaust
• Knife in the Water
  (1962)
                       Polanski in Chinatown
• Manson Murders
  (1969)
                                               18
              Existentialism
•   WW II
•   Holocaust
•   World Absurd
•   Systems Failed
•   Individual Meaning



                               19
      Theater of the Absurd
• Samuel Beckett
• Waiting for Godot
  (1952)
• Language doesn’t
  work
                      Waiting for Godot




                                          20
           Failed Language
• Curley’s moaning
• My sister, my
  daughter
• The Future Mr. Gits!
• “Forget it Jake”



                             21
L.A. Water and Power




   Lecture 7: Part III
                         22
 Clip: Lunch With Noah Cross
• Investigating
  officer?
• Big and small fish
• Fish for lunch
• “Has to swim in
  the same water we
  all do.”
• Water and Power      Clip #2
                                 23
           Cross’s Power

•   Bond
•   Aqueduct
•   Land in Valley
•   Profits



                           24
   Mike Davis, City of Quartz
• True Story
• L.A. Taxpayers
• Owens Valley (200
  miles NE of L.A.)
• 1908-1913
• San Fernando Land
  (Value up 10X)
                                25
         Family Melodrama

• Murder Son-in-Law
• Incest with daughter
  (Dunaway)
• Future of Family
  and City
                         Fay Dunaway in Chinatown




                                                    26
       Clip: Cross Explains

What is Noah
Cross’s motivation
for his crimes?



                Clip #3
                              27
         Gittes Never Really
             Understands
•   Powerless
•   No Outlaw Hero
•   Mr. Gits
•   No Justice




                               28
               Summary
• Hard Boiled
  Detectives
• Existentialism in
  Chinatown
• L.A. Water and
  Power               Jack Nicholson and John Huston in Chinatown




                                                            29
  Next Lecture: Murder in
Hollywood: The Player (1992)




          Tim Robbins in The Player



                                      30
End of Lecture 7




                   31

				
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