Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: No, I Can’t Forget It, Walsh

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Though this motion picture is in-between milestone anniversaries (those of the 0 and 5 variety, that is), I can’t help but revisit it… regularly. Good timing, too. The American Cinematheque Los Angeles will have the renowned screenwriter Robert Towne discussing this film (and its sequel) in between the double-feature screening of the movies this Saturday.

“You may think you know what you’re dealing with, but, believe me, you don’t.”


The Lido Theatre:



July 6, 1974: I had no expectations with regard to seeing Chinatown when it hit that summer. I hadn’t seen any of Roman Polanski’s films prior to this — though I overheard plenty from my aunts discussing the filmmaker ad infinitum after they’d seen Rosemary’s Baby back in ’68. They’d be more aghast in their conversations the very next year when his beautiful actress wife was murdered in our fair city. Honestly, this was foremost on my mind when I brought my date to this movie.

Besides, I was all about impressing my college girlfriend at the time. My second, but who’s counting. Dinner dates were kinda of a new thing with me back then. I’d take her to some new place — when I had the money, that is. I even took her to the French restaurant that sat atop the same building where a famed gumshoe (portrayed by James Garner) would best the then unknown heavy, Bruce Lee, in the movie Marlowe. But, taking her to a movie was still the preferred option. For me, that is.

This elegant little cinema no longer stands. In 1979, Mann Theatres, the last chain to operate it, sold the property to Bank of America, which in turn razed the theatre for another damn parking lot.

Around this time, I was haunting Hollywood and its large, famous movie palaces. To this day, I don’t know why I took my date to another part of the city — well, maybe I do now. But it was my first time there, in fact. Still, glad to find in the Lido Theatre a fine, though small (880 seat) venue. Its ornate interior making it a movie hall worth the visit. The classy, intimate setting perfect for this seminal neo-noir film. Driving home afterwards, the Polanski/Towne work, like Jerry Goldsmith’s evocative theme, would remain unforgettable.

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

11 Responses to “TMT: No, I Can’t Forget It, Walsh”

    • le0pard13

      This was the last film he ever filmed in the U.S., too. I think I’ve read he had run-ins with Nicholson, Dunaway, and Robert Towne while making this. Thanks, Naomi.


  1. Custard

    I love this.

    I really miss those older type cinemas. Where I live our old ABC cinema that had a real vertigo inducing theatre has now turned into a casino/ restaurant. When I go to the multiplex ones now it just doesn’t have the same sense of wonder.

    Thanks for sharing this memory



    • le0pard13

      My apologies for the late reply to your great comment, Custard. Yes, the old theatre venues were unique in a way today’s multiplexes aren’t. Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond.


  2. TMT: Packed in the Rafters | It Rains… You Get Wet

    […] Those who’ve followed this series may spot the interconnections in this entry. The post on The Godfather was the one that I began the TMT series with. The young lady I took on the movie date to its sequel was the exact same person I took to see the film Chinatown earlier that same summer. […]



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