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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 (Motion picture)
Chase, Borden
Chekov, Anton
Chinatown (Motion picture)
Cliff, Montgomery
Cooper, Gary
Double Indemnity (Motion picture)
Duryea, Dan
Godfather (Motion picture)
Ireland, John
Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer
Lancaster, Burt
Last Detail (Motion picture)
Lubitsch, Ernst
Maltese falcon (Motion picture : 1941)
Marathon man (Motion picture)
Polanski, Roman
Postman always rings twice (Motion picture : 1981)
Raphaelson, Samson
Riskin, Robert
Room with a view (Motion picture)
Screenwriting, History of
Screenwriting, Teaching of
Stewart, Jimmy
Tone (of scenes)
Towne, Robert
Two Jakes (Motion picture)
Wayne, John
Winchester '73 (Motion picture)
Zanuck, Darryl
Type: Presentation
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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