In another post on this site I mentioned that Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema is about to embark on a season of Roman Polanski films, featuring around a dozen of his films including 1974’s Chinatown.
I also mentioned that I was fortunate to attend a screening of Chinatown in Hollywood in April 2012 as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival. In attendance were the film’s writer, Robert Towne, and producer, Robert Evans, who spent around fifteen minutes discussing the evolution of the film with TCM host, Robert Osborne.
Towne explained that Evans had originally requested he adapt F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for the screen, but that he didn’t want to do it. “We were having dinner at Dominick’s on Beverly Boulevard and Evans was trying to figure out why I didn’t want to do Gatsby,” noted Towne. “I told him [about Chinatown]. Bob said ‘I don’t understand a goddamned thing but I do like the title’. He got all of us in there who knew each other and cared about each other so that we could fight and have a good time.”
I captured the audio on my iPhone from a number of rows back in Grauman’s Chinese Theatre before settling back to enjoy the film. The file has been sitting gathering virtual dust on my phone since then.
As far as I know there was no ban on recording audio and no intention has been made to infringe any sort of copyright, so hopefully the lovely team at TCM won’t mind me publishing it here for Polanski/Chinatown fans to listen to….