Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: Hush, hush

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Since I am in the backstretch of my Versus AFI: 10 Top 10 arc, this month looking at the Mystery genre, it’s almost now a tradition I chronicle one of its selections in this series. My #1 pick of Chinatown was one of my early entries from last year. So, it’s fitting that the next memory I record here is one that I linked with that exceptional film.

“I admire you as a policeman — particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.”


The Marina Del Rey Six:



September 21, 1997: I had heard of this particular James Ellroy novel, but hadn’t read nary a page of it before its film adaptation arrived in the Fall that year. At the time, my routine pastime with books was taking a backseat in my household. Two years of fatherhood with a new son had significantly cut into my reading habit. If I had managed to read more than a couple of books since his birth, that would have been an accomplishment. And while I missed poring over the pages, I couldn’t say what replaced the activity was any less stimulating or unimportant in any shape or form. I loved being a dad, and still do.

Given all that was going on in my life to that point, I felt little interest toward seeing Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential. Yes, that was partly due to knowing next to nothing of its storyline. Plus, the two Aussies cast as the important leads in the film weren’t at all familiar to me. Lastly, in all honesty, the film just looked like another Chinatown wannabe. I mean, True Confessions in ’81 and 1990′s The Two Jakes came somewhat close to recreating vintage L.A. on celluloid, but nesting nowhere near the 1974 neo-noir classic. And don’t get this Angeleno started on the previous year’s Mulholland Falls. Sheesh.

Yet, the early word on the film was enough to get me out on its opening weekend. The nearby and old standby of the Marina Del Rey Six was where I landed. Alone. You see the other byproduct of 1995 motherhood reduced instances my wife could accompany me to the movies. She was on toddler duty this Sunday afternoon. While I wished she could have seen the picture with me, each minute I was in that darkened movie hall made me take back every reservation I brought with me. So much so, I made the decision soon after to buy and read that book. Though it took me till 1998 to do it (taking it one page at a time during lunch breaks), I found out how great this adaptation was.

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

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14 Responses to “TMT: Hush, hush”

  1. tkguthat

    A great movie. I agree. I think it has come closest to capturing that Chinatown feel. As for Mulholland Falls, my wife said at the time that L. A. Confidential was the movie Falls wished it was lol. So many great moments, but the scene when Kevin Spacy’s charater says, “Rollo Tomasi” deserves special mention :)

    • le0pard13

      We’re certainly in agreement there, tkguthat :-).

      “As for Mulholland Falls, my wife said at the time that L. A. Confidential was the movie Falls wished it was lol.”

      Smart woman. And yes, Kevin Spacy’s “Rollo Tomasi” moment is so memorable. I marvel at that scene every time I watch this. Wonderful comment. Thank you very much for it and for adding to this.

  2. Colin

    A personal favourite with me too. I have Ellroy’s book on the shelves but haven’t read it yet; I understand the film, necessarily, condenses the story quite a bit though.

    This really brought Crowe and Pearce into the spotlight, and deservedly so. Both of them give very memorable and contrasting performances.

    I know it gets compared to Chinatown but that’s actually a little unfair. Polanski’s movie set an impossibly high standard – the writing, direction and characterization leave it in a category of its own. LA Confidential is an excellent movie in its own right, but I don’t think it was ever trying to compete with Chinatown.

  3. Castor

    Possibly my favorite movie of all-time. It’s a truly fantastic adaptation and really, if you didn’t anything about the people involved, you could think it was made in the 60s. And obviously, great cast with excellent performances all around. I need to get me the book!

    • le0pard13

      Excellent point, Castor. If you get a chance to read the book, I think you’ll discover what may be the quintessential James Ellroy novel. Thank you very much.

  4. ruth

    I knew right away from your title what the movie is, awesome! I LOVE this film, one of my favorite Noir and both Aussie actors are electrifying as American cops :D That’s why I’m super excited that my boy Gerry Butler is working with Curtis Hanson on his next film, thanks Michael!

  5. Eric

    Nice! I saw this for the first time last year and it blew me away, enough so that I ranked it #1 on my 50 movies project. I would still like to read the book someday. So cool that you got to see this in the theater, Michael.

    • le0pard13

      Yeah, catching this one in when it first came out turned out to be quite memorable. Thanks very much, Eric.

  6. sgwordy

    Oooh, Michael, can I brag on this one? Ok, so I’m not really going to give you a chance to stop me… hehe, you’ll just have to delete me later if you dare… mwuahahahahahah! :)

    I was just a little tyke in my first semester of college in the Fall of 1997 and that was back in the days when I saw three movies a week in the theatre… I usually went alone because most people don’t go to the movies three times a week (unless they are you, of course:) but for this one I made a special trip south (from Baton Rouge to Houma) to drag my mom with me to see it. My anticipation was high and I was yakking about it to anyone who would listen. I think it was a whopping one person. This movie was not getting any love. But it certainly lived up to my expectations and my mom loved it, too. It’s still one of my favorites and I recall that it only took a couple weeks before the word got out and people started to take notice and it ended up being a success. Good memories for me.

    • le0pard13

      I seem to recall from other posts and comments you were a fan of this one ;-). Who am I to stop you on expressing that love? Not me, certainly. Great memory, Rachel. Thanks for sharing it here :-).


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