A LOOK BACK - Chinatown, John Alonzo, ASC

Chinatown is a 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski featuring many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi layered story that is part mystery & part psychological drama. It stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, & John Huston.

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The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne. In 1991, Chinatown was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film was recognized by the American Film Institute as the 19th greatest film of all time in 1998, & as the 21st in 2007. In June 2008, the AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Chinatown was acknowledged as the second best film in the mystery genre.

Polanski originally offered the cinematographer position to William A. Fraker, Paramount agreed & Fraker accepted. Paramount had previously hired Fraker to shoot for Polanksi on Rosemary's Baby. When Robert Evans became aware of the hire he insisted the offer be reneged. Evans who had also produced Rosemary's Baby felt pairing Polanski & Fraker yielded a team with too much power on one side, & would thus complicate the production.

Consequently, John Alonzo, ASC was chosen as the Cinematographer. He also was the Director of Photography for Scarface. Mr Alonzo passed away on March 2001. The Camera Operator was Hugh Gagnier. He also was the Camera Operator for One Flew over Cuckoo's Nest.

Chinatown was shot in 35mm. negative color stock using anamorphic lenses and Panavision cameras, the aperture was 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the film stock was processed and printed by Technicolor.

OTHER FILMS SHOT BY JOHN ALONZO

HAROLD AND MAUDE, 1971, Paramount, 91 min. Producer Robert Evans fought hard for non-conformist editor-turned-filmmaker Hal Ashby to be allowed to direct this wildly offbeat romance. The result is one of the most poignant and subversive films of the New Hollywood era, the impossibly beautiful love affair between suicidal youngster Bud Cort and eccentric, 80-year-old Ruth Gordon.
VANISHING POINT, SOUNDER, NORMA RAE, SCARFACE, FAREWELL MY LOVELY, BLUE THUNDER and INTERNAL AFFAIRS.

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