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Robert Towne, CHINATOWN, and the Bewitchments of 'Tone'

Robert Towne, CHINATOWN, and the Bewitchments of 'Tone'

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Title: Robert Towne, CHINATOWN, and the Bewitchments of 'Tone'
Author: Cameron, Evan Wm.
Abstract: Screenwriters during the 'studio era' were required to work in sequence upon the screenplays of movies. After the studios collapsed, however, they were obliged increasingly to work alone, many striving to secure above all what Robert Towne was to call the 'tone' of a movie – the 'feel' of its scenes. Towne wrote the screenplay for CHINATOWN, released in 1974, and among the most acclaimed movies of the last half of the twentieth-century. The ending of CHINATOWN, however, lacks power, as he acknowledged. Why? Because the scenes before it, when encountered in sequence, fail to cohere. Within this essay I unpack the weaknesses of the 'story' of CHINATOWN, concluding that screenwriters ought to avoid working alone, especially if bewitched by 'tone'.
Subject: BONNIE AND CLYDE
Chase, Borden
Chekov, Anton
CHINATOWN
Cliff, Montgomery
Cooper, Gary
DOUBLE INDEMNITY
Duryea, Dan
Filmmaking
GODFATHER, THE
Ireland, John
Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer
Lancaster, Burt
LAST DETAIL, THE
Lubitsch, Ernst
MALTESE FALCON, THE
MARATHON MAN
Polanski, Roman
POSTMAN ONLY RINGS TWICE, THE
Raphaelson, Samson
Riskin, Robert
ROOM WITH A VIEW, A
Screenwriting
Screenwriting, History of
Screenwriting, Teaching of
Stewart, Jimmy
Tone (of scenes)
Towne, Robert
TWO JAKES, THE
Wayne, John
WINCHESTER 73
Zanuck, Darryl
Type: Presentation
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/36133
Date: 2006

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada