I admit to being a little depressed after seeing Roman Polanski mugging frantically in the Rush Hour 3 trailer and Jack Nicholson frolicking at the beach in those unfortunate paparazzi photos. Let's just say that those moments will not be how they are remembered in cinema history. Thinking back to more glorious times, perhaps the career peak for both of them came in 1974's Chinatown, justly celebrated for its eminently quotable dialogue by Oscar-winner Robert Towne and the juicy performances by Nicholson, Faye Dunaway,John Huston and Polanski himself ("You're a very nosy fellow, kitty cat.") According to DVD Times,Chinatown will be issued in a new "Special Collection's Edition" on November 6, along with The Two Jakes, the ungainly, belated, Nicholson-directed sequel that finally appeared in 1990.

Both were originally released on DVD in November 1999. The first edition of Chinatown featured an anamorphic transfer, the original mono track, a remixed DD 5.1 audio version, the theatrical trailer and retrospective interviews with Nicholson, Polanski and producer Robert Evans. The forthcoming edition promises a restored mono audio track and four featurettes. Given the advances in DVD technology and the years since the original Chinatown transfer was completed, remastering the video would seem a given -- and would justify a double dip -- but no mention of a new transfer has been made.

The first DVD edition of The Two Jakes was even more bare bones: it had just the theatrical trailer in addition to the anamorphic transfer. The new "Special Collector's Edition" adds one featurette: "Jack on Jakes." Frankly, I'm having a hard time seeing how the new releases will be either special or collectible. The Two Jakes is strictly a curiosity item; a rental would suffice. But Chinatown is a classic; it rewards multiple viewings and deserves the deluxe treatment, which it evidently won't be getting anytime soon from Paramount.
categories Cinematical