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Chinatown DVD - edited?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 01:51 AM

I rented Chinatown from Netflix and sat down to watch it with the Wife last night. Now, I have seen the film many times and for me, one of the key scenes is the first one where JJ mentions that you must be rich to get away with murder after Curly states that he is going to kill the man that his wife is cheating with.

The scene is in the film - But the portion about being rich is cut. Now I know that this was also cut from the film for the TV version for length purposes.

But I was shocked to see this cut from the widescreen DVD though. It makes me wonder if Netflix gets hacked up versions of films *(which Blockbuster has been reputed to have). Which brings me to my question here. Do any of you that own this DVD see this as being cut from your copies as well?

#2 of 21 Dmitry

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Posted July 27 2005 - 02:34 AM

I do, but I haven't watched it in a while. Can you tell me roughly at which time point in the movie it should be?
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#3 of 21 streeter

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Posted July 27 2005 - 02:38 AM

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#4 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 02:50 AM

Dmitry, Here is the opening portion of the script so you can follow along This is the very first scene in the film. I have boldfaced the section(s) that are missing:

1 FULL SCREEN PHOTOGRAPH

grainy but unmistakably a man and woman making love.
Photograph shakes. SOUND of a man MOANING in anguish.
The photograph is dropped, REVEALING ANOTHER, MORE
compromising one. Then another, and another. More moans.

CURLY'S VOICE
(crying out)
Oh, no.

2 INT. GITTES' OFFICE

CURLY drops the photos on Gittes' desk. Curly towers
over GITTES and sweats heavily through his workman's
clothes, his breathing progressively more labored. A
drop plunks on Gittes' shiny desk top.

Gittes notes it. A fan whiffs overhead. Gittes glances
up at it. He looks cool and brisk in a white linen suit
despite the heat. Never taking his eyes off Curly, he
lights a cigarette using a lighter with a "nail" on
his desk.

Curly, with another anguished sob, turns and rams his
fist into the wall, kicking the wastebasket as he does.
He starts to sob again, slides along the wall where his
fist has left a noticeable dent and its impact has sent
the signed photos of several movie stars askew.

Curly slides on into the blinds and sinks to his knees.
He is weeping heavily now, and is in such pain that he
actually bites into the blinds.

Gittes doesn't move from his chair.

GITTES
All right, enough is enough --
you can't eat the Venetian
blinds, Curly. I just had
'em installed on Wednesday.

Curly responds slowly, rising to his feet, crying. Gittes
reaches into his desk and pulls out a shot glass, quickly
selects a cheaper bottle of bourbon from several fifths
of more expensive whiskeys.

3 Gittes pours a large shot. He shoves the glass across
his desk toward Curly.

GITTES
-- Down the hatch.

Curly stares dumbly at it. Then picks it up, and drains
it. He sinks back into the chair opposite Gittes, begins
to cry quietly.

CURLY
(drinking, relaxing
a little)
She's just no good.

GITTES
What can I tell you, Kid?
You're right. When you're
right, you're right, and
you're right.

CURLY
-- Ain't worth thinking about.

Gittes leaves the bottle with Curly.

GITTES
You're absolutely right, I
wouldn't give her another
thought.

CURLY
(pouring himself)
You know, you're okay, Mr. Gittes.
I know it's your job, but you're
okay.

GITTES
(settling back,
breathing a little
easier)
Thanks, Curly. Call me Jake.

CURLY
Thanks. You know something,
Jake?

GITTES
What's that, Curly?

CURLY
I think I'll kill her.

4 INT. DUFFY & WALSH'S OFFICE

noticeably less plush than Gitte's. A well-groomed,
dark-haired WOMAN sits nervously between their two desks,
fiddling with the veil on her pillbox hat.

WOMAN
-- I was hoping Mr. Gittes could
see to this personally --

WALSH
(almost the manner
of someone
comforting the
bereaved)
-- If you'll allow us to complete
our preliminary questioning, by
then he'll be free.

There is the SOUND of ANOTHER MOAN coming from Gittes'
Office -- something made of glass shatters. The Woman
grows more edgy.

5 INT. GITTES' OFFICE - GITTES & CURLY

Gittes and Curly stand in front of the desk, Gittes
staring contemptuously at the heavy breathing hulk
towering over him. Gittes takes a handkerchief and
wipes away the plunk of perspiration on his desk.

CURLY
(crying)
They don't kill a guy for that.

GITTES
Oh they don't?

CURLY
Not for your wife. That's the
unwritten law.

6 Gittes pounds the photos on the desk, shouting;

GITTES
I'll tell you the unwritten law,
you dumb son of a bitch, you
gotta be rich to kill somebody,
anybody and get away with it.
You think you got that kind
of dough, you think you got
that kind of class?

Curly shrinks back a little.

CURLY

... No...

GITTES
You bet your ass you don't. You
can't even pay me off.


#5 of 21 Micah Cohen

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Posted July 27 2005 - 02:54 AM

Whoa. Are you saying that my DVD is a "cut version" of this masterpiece? Missing something?! How come I never knew this?! How come I don't recall ever seeing this scene like this -- and I have seen this film a million times, even in the theater!

Is the DVD a cut version of the film?!

IS IT!?

MC
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#6 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 03:03 AM

This was NOT cut from the Laserdisc BTW.

The line:

Quote:
GITTES
I'll tell you the unwritten law,
you dumb son of a bitch, you
gotta be rich to kill somebody,
anybody and get away with it.
You think you got that kind
of dough, you think you got
that kind of class?

Is key to this film IMO. It is a prophecy about Noah Cross, in a way, and it is proved out at the end of the film.

#7 of 21 Micah Cohen

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:10 AM

So, this bit of dialogue exists; the scene is on the LD this way? How come I can find no evidence of this scene or dialogue or of the scene being cut, anywhere?

Someone please step in and tell me that the film I know inside and out is wrong, or that I am just misunderstanding this thread. Why would the DVD version be "cut," and why have I never seen this bit in the film any time that I have seen the film?

I hate to sound frantic, but I guess I am. This is shocking news to me. Help.

MC
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#8 of 21 TommyT

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:41 AM

Yeah, I'd be pretty damned concerned about this too BUT I've watched this film at least once a year since I 1st saw it on VHS nearly 20 yrs ago & I do not remember that dialogue in that scene.

It's also my absolute favorite movie.
It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime,
What better place than here? What better time than now?

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#9 of 21 TravisR

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:45 AM

I would nearly bet my life that someone would have noticed if Chinatown had been edited on DVD by now. People notice when a shot is removed from an obscure sci-fi movie from the 1950's so I think 10 seconds of dialogue removed from one of the most famous movies of all time would have been noticed by now. Or maybe someone did notice and people have just let it go but that seems unlikely. Posted Image

As for the version Netflix has, why would Paramount 'create' a disc that subtracrted some dialogue and nothing else for rental but not sell the same thing at retail? Maybe it's a faulty disc but that doesn't seem correct either.

Or maybe it was a scene that wasn't originally in the theatrical version of the movie but added to the laserdisc? Once again, that sounds unlikelyPosted Image

#10 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:47 AM

Consider that this exchange (that is cut out of the film):

Quote:


GITTES
You bet your ass you don't. You
can't even pay me off.

This seems to upset Curly even more.

CURLY
I'll pay the rest next trip --
we only caught sixty ton of
skipjack around San Benedict.
We hit a chubasco, they don't
pay you for skipjack the way
they do for tuna or albacore --

GITTES
(easing him out of
his office)
Forget it. I only mention it to
illustrate a point...


Should be followed by:

Quote:
7 INT. OFFICE RECEPTION

He's now walking him past SOPHIE who pointedly averts her
gaze. He opens the door where on the pebbled glass can
be read: J. J. GITTES and Associates - DISCREET
INVESTIGATION.

GITTES
I don't want your last dime.

He throws an arm around Curly and flashes a dazzling
smile.

GITTES
(continuing)
What kind of guy do you
think I am?

CURLY
Thanks, Mr. Gittes.

GITTES
Call me Jake. Careful driving
home, Curly.

He shuts the door on him and the smile disappears.

That part WAS in the film. But the whole "I won't take your last dime" routine does not make sense (in the creatively edited DVD version) since they cut out the previous section regarding Curly's ability to pay JJ.

Syd Field's book "Screenplay" also points out that this was cut out of the film for the TV version of the film. So I am of the opinion that I am not insane. You're milage may differ Posted Image

#11 of 21 Micah Cohen

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:54 AM

You know what? The original script for CHINATOWN was over 300 pages long (according to imdb). So, this exchange is probably found in a shooting script, one of many rewrites, and the scene, which upon serious reflection is not a good bit, if shot, probably rightly ended up on the cutting room floor.

I can't believe I have just driven myself insane for the last hour trying to find a version of the film with this dialogue inserted. Posted Image It just doesn't seem to exist as a final shot in the film. It may exist as printed in script versions, but I don't think it ever made it into the film.

I feel three pounds lighter.

MC
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"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#12 of 21 John*D

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Posted July 27 2005 - 05:58 AM

As for the cuts to you're movie, you should defintely investigate which version of CHINATOWN you got. If this is the Polanski movie, then there is a RErelease coming on August 9th. It appears to have the same exact artwork/extras, but maybe it'll be uncut???



Quote:
I rented Batman ('89) from Netflix that it said Rental Version on it.

Pretty much anything from the WB or it's affiliates will have GREY disc art with the title etched out with the words "rental disc only".

Apparently NETFLIX burns it's own DVDs. As for the WB it's most likely to prevent STEALING/SELLING of the DVDs. A store that buys used DVDs is most likely NOT going to buy one of these discs.

#13 of 21 Michael Reuben

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:00 AM

I've edited the title of this thread, because it's clear that whatever's going on here isn't a Netflix issue.

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#14 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:00 AM

As soon as I get home I will check my LD again.

#15 of 21 Paul Linfesty

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:02 AM

Here is the opening portion of the script so you can follow along This is the very first scene in the film.


Keep in mind that a script, even the final shooting version, can have changes on the set and be tightnened and eliminated during the edited process. CHINATOWN is a particular favorite of mine, and I don't remember the "rich" speech (I've owned it on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD and saw it in theatres. Unfortunately, I no longer have the LD to double-check). Yes, it does point to the overall philosophy of the rich get away from the murder theme, but was it really necessary to STATE it? I think it comes through quite clearly without it, and may have gotten edited out during post-production. I would be surprised if no one has caught it until now, since people have noticed one or two lines missing from the James Bond films.

#16 of 21 Shaughan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:38 AM

Well there is a ton of stuff that is in the script that is omitted - In my example, the drip of sweat on the desk, the choice of the cheaper whiskey - Among others.

I just vividly recall this line...

#17 of 21 Tom Brennan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 08:14 AM

I've seen several prints of this movie over the years. 35mm, 16mm, VHS, laserdisc and the current DVD. The dialogue you've mentioned wasn't in any of them.

I don't have the DVD in front of me right now, but is it possible this dialogue is in the trailer?
 This Are Intentionally Left Blank

#18 of 21 Mark Hawley

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Posted July 27 2005 - 09:46 AM

Yeah, I remember reading Syd Field's Screenplay book and he holds Chinatown as being one of the best written scripts (and having the best setup in the opening ten minutes) and excerpts the first ten pages and draws special attention to the "have to be rich to kill someone" and says it's the entire meaning of the film (he doesn't mention it being cut from the film though).

I had seen the film before on VHS but couldn't remember whether that line was said or not. After having read Field's analysis, I watched the widescreen laserdisc (this was in the mid-ninties) and I noted that that line wasn't said. I assumed that Polanski decided to cut the line because it just too directly states the meaning of the film and he wanted the audience to figure it out for themselves - show rather than tell.

#19 of 21 Dmitry

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Posted July 27 2005 - 03:31 PM

Shaughan,

only confirming what everybody else said — bolded dialog is missing.

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#20 of 21 Don Solosan

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:13 PM

Quote:
Consider that this exchange (that is cut out of the film):

quote:

CURLY
I'll pay the rest next trip --
we only caught sixty ton of
skipjack around San Benedict.
We hit a chubasco, they don't
pay you for skipjack the way
they do for tuna or albacore --

GITTES
(easing him out of
his office)
Forget it. I only mention it to
illustrate a point...



My memory is that these lines are in the film, although they're kind of "thrown away" while Gittes is escorting Curly out of the office.


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