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Chinatown – that late masterpiece of film noir – could never be made now

7 February 2020

10:00 PM

7 February 2020

10:00 PM

The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood Sam Wasson

Faber, pp.398, £18.99

In one of the most frequently quoted lines of post-war European cinema, a character in the 1976 Wim Wenders film Kings of the Road remarks that ‘the Yanks have colonised our subconscious’ (‘Die Amis haben unser Unterbewusstsein kolonialisiert’). The Hollywood film, a powerful weapon broadcasting this almost mythological vision of American culture around the world, had already begun its long retreat from complex adult themes, after untold millions were made from the colossal success of pictures by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg such as Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), all of which became...

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