Chinatown Comes to Blu-ray

Chinatown arrives on Blu-ray April 3 from Paramount Home Media. It’s part of the studio’s centennial celebration. The modern hard boiled masterpiece from ’74, directed by Roman Polanski and written by Oscar-winner Robert Towne, sports a new high-def transfer, and offers packaging that features the original theatrical poster and collectible booklet.

Paramount sent me the following additional info:

-  Scanned from the original negative

-  To significantly improve the image, several short sections where the original negative was missing were replaced with digitally combined separation master scans: This gave a previously soft, compromised image quality a sharper more integrated look, especially in the “orange grove” scene.

-  Final color correction overseen by Towne, who has worked closely with Paramount over the years on this film and knows the creative intent of director and cinematographer well.

-  The 5.1 audio remix was done from an original mono multi-track recording. Audio expert Bruce Botnick oversaw the work and had a close working relationship with composer Jerry Goldsmith.

“When I first saw the movie, years and years ago, just before it was released, all I could think of was everything that was missing from the movie,” Towne told me two years ago. “And with the passage of time, those memories of what’s missing have faded and I can see the movie as a moviegoer — and it seems to me to hold together very well.” Towne terms Chinatown “the futility of good intentions.”

The disc includes more than 2 ½ hours of bonus material:

Commentary with Robert Towne and David Fincher— Towne and Fincher offer unique insights into this classic film.  No matter how many times you’ve watched Chinatown, this commentary will open your eyes to a whole new experience.

Water and Power (HD)— In this three-part documentary, Robert Towne visits sites along the original Los Angeles Aqueduct for the first time.  He is informed of the social and environmental impacts and given insight into the major issues around the creation and ongoing operation of the aqueduct.

o   The Aqueduct (HD)— The City of Los Angeles completed the 233-mile gravity-fed aqueduct from the Owens Valley in 1913, under the leadership of a self-taught engineer named William Mulholland. L.A. Department of Water and Power representatives along with Catherine Mulholland, granddaughter of the engineer, discuss the development of the aqueduct and its contribution to the growth of the nation’s second-largest city.

o   The Aftermath (HD)— For decades a large rural community was desiccated under the management of water rights by the City of Los Angeles over a vast area of the Owens Valley. Legal victories beginning in the 1970s lead to successful reductions in environmental damages and the restoration of some natural habitats.  Historians, local ranchers and activists discuss the up-to-date impacts of the aqueduct and struggle to maintain a stable environment and community.

o   The River & Beyond (HD)— Prior to the building of the first aqueduct a century ago Los Angeles relied solely on its own local water supply: the Los Angeles River and its aquifer. Today the river as a water resource is largely forgotten. Currently there are plans to re-develop the river to reduce L.A.’s dependence on imported water, reducing the environmental impact on distant communities, while creating parks and open spaces for the city.

Chinatown: An AppreciationChinatown has been hailed as a perfect film.
Robert Towne’s cynical labyrinth of secrets and sin, Roman Polanski at the top of his form, Jack Nicholson in all his glory, Faye Dunaway at her sexiest and most mysterious, John Huston as one of the creepiest and most unrepentant villains of all time, the great cinematography, the wonderful score, the bandage on the nose…

In this featurette, prominent filmmakers express their personal admiration for the film:

o   Steven Soderbergh – Director – Traffic

o   James Newton Howard – Composer – The Dark Knight

o   Kimberly Peirce – Writer/Director – Boys Don’t Cry

o   Roger Deakins – Cinematographer – No Country For Old Men

o   Chinatown: The Beginning and the End

  • Chinatown: Filming
  • Chinatown: The Legacy
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Home Entertainment, Movies, Oscar

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