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Who else could have starred in Chinatown?

Let's pretend it's 1974 and you're casting Chinatown. Suddenly, Faye Dunaway isn't available to play the damaged heroine Evelyn Mulwray. Who else could have believably claimed "she's my sister, my daughter...she's my sister AND my daughter"?

by Anonymousreply 143October 22, 2021 7:47 PM

Jane would have nailed it.

by Anonymousreply 1October 14, 2021 3:08 AM

No one. Faye was perfect. It was the role she was born to play.

by Anonymousreply 2October 14, 2021 3:09 AM

Yeah, I’m with R2. Somebody else would have had to do the role if she hadn’t but the privileged, glassy neuroticism that Dunaway gave it was perfect.

by Anonymousreply 3October 14, 2021 3:16 AM

Dunaway was perfection, but I think Mia Farrow would have been interesting.

by Anonymousreply 4October 14, 2021 3:20 AM

Jessica Walter was the same age as Faye.

Different, of course, but with Polanski’s deft hand, she probably would have nailed it.

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by Anonymousreply 5October 14, 2021 3:21 AM

Just go with it. She might have been interesting if Polanski had been tough with her.

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by Anonymousreply 6October 14, 2021 3:36 AM

I woulda knocked it outta the park!

by Anonymousreply 7October 14, 2021 3:45 AM

Actual Chinapeople

by Anonymousreply 8October 14, 2021 3:59 AM

Yvette Mimieux

by Anonymousreply 9October 14, 2021 4:02 AM

"Actual Chinapeople"

You can "Oh, dear!" this on many levels.

by Anonymousreply 10October 14, 2021 4:02 AM

I literally laughed out loud when I saw Marsha Mason's name.

by Anonymousreply 11October 14, 2021 4:21 AM

Pshaw, r11, Marsha would've been dazzling.

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by Anonymousreply 12October 14, 2021 4:31 AM

Jane Fonda can play anything but Candace Bergen would have been a good second choice. Has the right amount of beauty, privilege and aloofness.

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by Anonymousreply 13October 14, 2021 4:32 AM

Mia reuniting with Roman would've been interesting.

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by Anonymousreply 14October 14, 2021 4:36 AM

Susan Sarandon, Karen Black, Sally Kellerman

by Anonymousreply 15October 14, 2021 4:37 AM

That doesn’t look like Candace Bergen in R13

by Anonymousreply 16October 14, 2021 4:38 AM

Oy, Barbra as Evelyn Mulwray?

by Anonymousreply 17October 14, 2021 4:49 AM

That is definitely Candace Bergen 50 years ago.

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by Anonymousreply 18October 14, 2021 4:52 AM

"Moy sista! Moy daawta!"

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by Anonymousreply 19October 14, 2021 4:52 AM

Barbra could be enigmatic.

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by Anonymousreply 20October 14, 2021 4:52 AM

Barbra's contract would have included an emotional song "My Sister, My Daughter (Love Theme from Chinatown)", that would have been a sure-fire Oscar winner.

by Anonymousreply 21October 14, 2021 4:56 AM

Lois Chiles

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by Anonymousreply 22October 14, 2021 5:17 AM

Gayle Hunnicutt

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by Anonymousreply 23October 14, 2021 5:19 AM

Liz Montgomery, who was also in the running to play Carole Lombard in the biopic.

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by Anonymousreply 24October 14, 2021 5:22 AM

Ali MacGraw is criminally underrated as an actress, she would have been superb in the role.

by Anonymousreply 25October 14, 2021 5:22 AM

Jacqueline Bisset

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by Anonymousreply 26October 14, 2021 5:23 AM

R26, I think Bisset read too British or European to play the California born and bread Evelyn.

by Anonymousreply 27October 14, 2021 5:24 AM

Candice Bergen would not have worked at all. She's a light hearted comedy actress who could not capture the underlying darkness to Evelyns life and character. It would be like casting Goldie Hawn. The mood of the film would change completely.

by Anonymousreply 28October 14, 2021 5:27 AM

Karen Black

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by Anonymousreply 29October 14, 2021 5:28 AM

Jane Fonda had a well-known, difficult relationship with her father. That played out in "On Golden Pond." I don't think she would have had to dig too deep to play a woman abused by her father.

I saw Love Story (Ali McGraw) and she seems wooden. Candice Bergen, wooden as well.

by Anonymousreply 30October 14, 2021 5:29 AM

In 74 Bergen couldn't really do comedy or drama. She improved a few years later.

by Anonymousreply 31October 14, 2021 5:30 AM

r29, Yes, Karen would have been wonderful. I can imagine a close up after the slap scene... the slap resulting in Karen being cross eyed.

by Anonymousreply 32October 14, 2021 5:31 AM

What about me?

by Anonymousreply 33October 14, 2021 5:31 AM

Don't forget me!

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by Anonymousreply 34October 14, 2021 5:32 AM

Precisely, r32.

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by Anonymousreply 35October 14, 2021 5:33 AM

Katharine Ross

Jill Clayburgh

Ellen Burstyn

Gena Rowlands

Joan Hackett

Sally Field

Mary Tyler Moore

by Anonymousreply 36October 14, 2021 5:42 AM

Rutanya Alda

by Anonymousreply 37October 14, 2021 5:44 AM

I'd have been memorable.

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by Anonymousreply 38October 14, 2021 5:46 AM

Tippi Hedren.

by Anonymousreply 39October 14, 2021 5:48 AM

Don't tell Miss Dunaway, but Hilary Swank is planning a remake.

by Anonymousreply 40October 14, 2021 6:00 AM

Oops, it's Hilary DUFF as the new improved Evelyn.

by Anonymousreply 41October 14, 2021 6:02 AM

R40, Don't you mean Hilary Duff?

by Anonymousreply 42October 14, 2021 6:03 AM

Catherine O'hara in Polynesiantown!

by Anonymousreply 43October 14, 2021 6:04 AM

Lucille Ball was originally offered the role, but a wise Gary Morton convinced her to turn it down.

by Anonymousreply 44October 14, 2021 6:07 AM

Anne Bancroft or, as mentioned upthread by R36, Ellen Burstyn.

by Anonymousreply 45October 14, 2021 6:17 AM

Marsha Warfield?

by Anonymousreply 46October 14, 2021 6:20 AM

Ali McGraw. Yeah, I know she was never much of an actress but Polanski may have been able to coax some good work from her.

Robert Evans (the producer) can thank his lucky stars Faye Dunaway was available and willing to play the role because there was not actress more perfect at the time for that part.

by Anonymousreply 47October 14, 2021 6:26 AM

Nanette Fabray.

It would be a stretch but she could make it work.

by Anonymousreply 48October 14, 2021 6:32 AM

No. No Nanette.

by Anonymousreply 49October 14, 2021 6:33 AM

I would've killed it!

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by Anonymousreply 50October 14, 2021 6:34 AM

r48, Only if she was freshly fucked. Nanette in her memoir stated that she was only able to act if she was loosened up with sex and alcohol, she described herself as being emotionally stunted.

by Anonymousreply 51October 14, 2021 6:37 AM

Helen Lawson, singing an unexpected showstopper to the gardener: "Plant Your Own Tree!"

by Anonymousreply 52October 14, 2021 6:44 AM

Excuse me! Excuse me, Mr. Polanski...

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by Anonymousreply 53October 14, 2021 6:53 AM

DL fave Bonnie Franklin. The script would have to be changed so that she slaps Jack Nicholson.

by Anonymousreply 54October 14, 2021 7:05 AM

My mother! My sister!

by Anonymousreply 55October 14, 2021 7:21 AM

The only great choice, had she lived, was Sharon. As in the one and only Sharon Tate. The others are hogs.

by Anonymousreply 56October 14, 2021 7:22 AM

Jane Fonda or Tuesday Weld… though they’re looser spirits than Dunaway. One thing that makes her great in the role is she comes across as so inhibited (with good reason, as it turns out.)

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by Anonymousreply 57October 14, 2021 7:40 AM

Angelica Huston would have nailed this role.

by Anonymousreply 58October 14, 2021 7:46 AM

R13 unfortunately she couldn’t act for shit, so...

by Anonymousreply 59October 14, 2021 7:51 AM


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by Anonymousreply 60October 14, 2021 8:11 AM

Yes. Sharon Tate.

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by Anonymousreply 61October 14, 2021 8:12 AM

Jean Stapleton

by Anonymousreply 62October 14, 2021 11:46 AM

Fonda is the only one on that list who's in Dunaway's league as an actress (much as I like Tuesday Weld) and I think she had the right mixture of toughness and vulnerability and of course daddy issues, but she was still heavily into her radical phase at the time, so I can't imagine her taking this part. I'm cracking up thinking of Ali MacGraw trying to emote her way through the role, though Bob Evans probably thought it would have been a swell idea.

by Anonymousreply 63October 14, 2021 11:57 AM

Meryl Streep

by Anonymousreply 64October 14, 2021 12:43 PM

R41 I hope that's a joke. If not ....🤢🤢🤢. The thought of Miss Starbucks Yoga Mommy in that role makes me shudder. I have always felt that it was slightly unfair how so many people are fixated on Mommie Dearest instead of Dunaways iconic performance as Evelyn. Yes, she can be a tad humorless about it but I can almost understand her frustration.

by Anonymousreply 65October 14, 2021 12:54 PM

Sue Lyon could have pulled it off.

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by Anonymousreply 66October 14, 2021 1:02 PM

Catherine Deneuve

by Anonymousreply 67October 14, 2021 1:08 PM


by Anonymousreply 68October 14, 2021 1:20 PM


by Anonymousreply 69October 14, 2021 1:51 PM

Dixie Carter

by Anonymousreply 70October 14, 2021 1:52 PM

For maximum realism, Anjelica Huston.

by Anonymousreply 71October 14, 2021 1:54 PM

I'm a big Polanski fan, he hires the best supporting actors, even in the smallest parts. A Nazi guard in The Pianist, A grieving father in The Ghost Writer, Dr. Hill and Laura Louise...all exceptional. Love all his films. Great storyteller. If you have not seen it, catch THE GHOST WRITER playing online. Olivia and Tom are especially good. Let us know what you think!

by Anonymousreply 72October 14, 2021 2:00 PM

R72 Ghost Writer is indeed an excellent film. Haunting and chilly depiction of the powerful, arrogant, and insulated ( well insulated at least up to a point...). I would also recommend reading the book it was based on by Robert Harris if you haven't already. I wonder if Tony Blair ever saw the film.

by Anonymousreply 73October 14, 2021 2:10 PM

I would say, note for note, that Dunaway’s Evelyn is one of the very finest performances I’ve seen on film. Just flawlessly executed.

The only other really hard roles I’ve seen done so very, very well - and I mean down to the smallest detail - are Jane Fonda in “Klute” and Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (which really should have got her an Oscar.)

These are three performances where you think, “I wouldn’t change a thing.” And they exceed even that.

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by Anonymousreply 74October 14, 2021 4:52 PM

[quote] I'm a big Polanski fan, he hires the best supporting actors, even in the smallest parts.

I saw "Heart of Darkness," the making of "Apocalypse Now." Coppola insisted on hiring real French actors to play the expatriates / colonizers. A big deal is made about how Coppola is a stickler for authenticity. Then, they gloss over the fact that they're in the Philippines (with, IIRC, Filipino extras), making a movie set in ... Vietnam.

by Anonymousreply 75October 14, 2021 6:04 PM

[quote]Then, they gloss over the fact that they're in the Philippines (with, IIRC, Filipino extras), making a movie set in ... Vietnam.

Hardly surprising, since it was filmed in the late 70's, only a handful of years since the war ended. Nobody from America was doing anything in Vietnam then.

by Anonymousreply 76October 14, 2021 11:17 PM

Jane Seymour

by Anonymousreply 77October 15, 2021 3:33 AM

At 22 years old she would have been rather young for the role. It was developed for Ali MacGraw, who was 34.

Dunaway was 32.

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by Anonymousreply 78October 15, 2021 4:12 AM

If it’s Chinatown why don’t they hire actual Chinapeople for the roles? Otherwise rename it Whiteyville!

by Anonymousreply 79October 15, 2021 4:14 AM

La Dunaway is perfction in this role.

by Anonymousreply 80October 15, 2021 4:19 AM

I demand to know why Marlo Thomas is not on OP's list.

by Anonymousreply 81October 15, 2021 4:31 AM

Wasn’t Fonda offered the part? She was definitely talked about before Dunaway’s name came up but I think she didn’t want to play another victim-type role so soon after Klute.

by Anonymousreply 82October 15, 2021 4:39 AM

Geraldine Jones would have owned that role.

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by Anonymousreply 83October 15, 2021 4:42 AM

R82, Producer Robert Evans had approached Jane, but she turned it down, so he went to Faye, prompting a call from Faye's agent, Sue Mengers:

"$250,000 for Faye and an answer tonight or she's going to do 'Night Moves' with Arthur Penn."

"$75,000," Evans responded.

"I'm going with Arthur Penn."

"I'm going with Jane Fonda."

An hour later, Mengers called him back. "Honey, I spoke to Faye… we'll take the $75,000."

Later, Mengers gleefully phoned him. "Honeee, guess what? There was no picture with Arthur Penn. I made it up!"

"Guess what?" replied Evans. "Jane Fonda turned us down."

by Anonymousreply 84October 15, 2021 4:54 AM

Our Linda was the new girl in town when Chinatown was casting, being groomed as the next hot ice princess of Hollywood.

Don’t know why negotiations for Evelyn fell apart, but they did.

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by Anonymousreply 85October 15, 2021 5:44 AM

Jessica Lang

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by Anonymousreply 86October 15, 2021 6:11 AM

God spared me working with Lavin on "Chinatown", but five years later the shit hit the fan.

by Anonymousreply 87October 15, 2021 6:37 AM

One answer only: Joan Crawford. Her scenes would have to be shot in soft focus and with vaseline on the lens as well but she would have been perfect.

by Anonymousreply 88October 15, 2021 10:33 AM

[quote]the California born and bread Evelyn

I love Breaded Evelyn!

by Anonymousreply 89October 15, 2021 10:38 AM

[quote]"$250,000 for Faye and an answer tonight or she's going to do 'Night Moves' with Arthur Penn."

Whether Evans was making that conversation up or not (I suspect the story was apocryphal) I like that both he and Mengers absolutely NAILED the alternate casting in both those situations. Fonda would have been good in Chinatown and Faye would have been SO much better than Susan Clark in Night Moves.

by Anonymousreply 90October 15, 2021 10:41 AM

Ruta Lee

by Anonymousreply 91October 15, 2021 1:25 PM

Rita Moreno?

by Anonymousreply 92October 15, 2021 2:36 PM

Fonda would have been great. Weld would have been interesting--more clearly fucked-up, but mother/sister would have been less of a surprise. Bergen and MacGraw had no range. Lange wasn't much better, esp. back then. Bergen is fine with mildly sophisticated comedy but couldn't even do that in the 70s. Woodward would have been too mannered. Streep or Sarandon could have done a remake 10 years later, but it was too early for them.

R75: We didn't recognize the govt of Vietnam until the mid-90s. The classic Vietnam war films were either done in Thailand or the Philippines. Thailand has a relatively large film industry so there usually was a better talent pool there.

by Anonymousreply 93October 15, 2021 3:25 PM

Cristina Raines

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by Anonymousreply 94October 15, 2021 3:43 PM

Sandy Dennis.

by Anonymousreply 95October 15, 2021 7:51 PM

Sandy Duncan

by Anonymousreply 96October 15, 2021 9:50 PM

Diahann Carroll

by Anonymousreply 97October 15, 2021 11:32 PM

Bea Arthur

by Anonymousreply 98October 15, 2021 11:58 PM

Susan Anton

by Anonymousreply 99October 16, 2021 12:19 AM

Jesus! R13 and R18 Candice was a world class stunner. Dayum!


Jane Fonda would have done wonderfully in "Chinatown." She would have known just what to do in her fashion. Jane can do dark when she wants to. I think "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" predates "Chinatown."

But, Faye kills it with her look. Her character trajectory and styling are just a perfect downright gothic meld of beauty and sorrow. That face and that unholy a hidden torment which slowly comes to life are just spectacular. I appreciate Faye in this.

by Anonymousreply 100October 16, 2021 1:38 AM

If the story had been transported to France, Isabelle Adjani would have slayed.

by Anonymousreply 101October 16, 2021 3:15 AM

I like the Mia Farrow suggestion.

And Tippi Hedren, wow I can see it. With Melanie as the sister/daughter Katherine.

Faye was perfect though, just perfect. Perfect 1930s face.

by Anonymousreply 102October 16, 2021 5:34 AM

What about Brett Somers? She was a member of the Actors Studio, after all. And she smoked.

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by Anonymousreply 103October 16, 2021 5:43 AM

Gawd, these are stupid threads. Worse than Greg.

by Anonymousreply 104October 16, 2021 5:58 AM

Natalie Wood

by Anonymousreply 105October 16, 2021 6:00 AM

No question, Vanessa Redgrave

by Anonymousreply 106October 16, 2021 6:07 AM

[quote]R105 Natalie Wood

Oh jebus. Here we go - -

I guess Liz Taylor is next on the list.

by Anonymousreply 107October 16, 2021 6:10 AM

R107, Taylor carried too much baggage in 1974 to play an enigmatic woman like Evelyn.

by Anonymousreply 108October 16, 2021 6:12 AM

Not to mention she’d never be able to act the part. Subtle she was not.

by Anonymousreply 109October 16, 2021 6:15 AM

[quote] Gawd, these are stupid threads. Worse than Greg.

Awww, gee, thanks!

by Anonymousreply 110October 16, 2021 6:19 AM

[quote]R100 Jesus! Candice was a world class stunner. Dayum!

Candice Bergen was amazingly beautiful in her youth.

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by Anonymousreply 111October 16, 2021 6:42 AM
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by Anonymousreply 112October 16, 2021 6:55 AM

(Bergen would have been wretched as Evelyn, of course, despite her world class looks.)

by Anonymousreply 113October 16, 2021 6:56 AM

This is Grace Jones in 1974, wearing Courrèges. That would've really been something.

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by Anonymousreply 114October 16, 2021 8:13 AM

Shelley Duvall

by Anonymousreply 115October 16, 2021 8:58 AM

Here is Candice in The Group, her first film in 1966. Her role was controversial at the time because she played an openly gay woman.

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by Anonymousreply 116October 16, 2021 9:07 AM

Ali MacGraw was too dark and ethnic looking for that part.

by Anonymousreply 117October 16, 2021 2:55 PM

If she could've tamed her accent...Genevieve Bujold.

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by Anonymousreply 118October 16, 2021 3:52 PM

How about Louise Fletcher?

by Anonymousreply 119October 16, 2021 4:54 PM

Farrow would have played her as a waif and missed the character's capacity for manipulation and deceit. Sandy Dennis would have come off as too fragile but in a more batshit crazy way. If they were going to go in that direction, Weld would have been better as well as being more conventionally attractive.

by Anonymousreply 120October 16, 2021 5:37 PM

Okay, how about this. Dolly Parton for Evelyn, Faye Dunaway as Carrie White, and Sissy Spacek as Doralee.

by Anonymousreply 121October 16, 2021 5:58 PM

Nina van Pallandt

by Anonymousreply 122October 20, 2021 7:28 AM

Lee Grant!

by Anonymousreply 123October 20, 2021 7:40 AM

Seems like Lee Remick was considered for everything back then. Like "Play Misty for Me," the role that eventually went to Jessica Walter. I guess I could picture it, but Jessica was just so priceless.

by Anonymousreply 124October 20, 2021 1:28 PM

Marlo Thomas. Obviously. But only if Faye was not available.

Faye Dunaway may be a Five Star Cunt of World Class status, but she is irreplaceable in three of the most important American films of the 1970s. She may be unemployable now, but she will always have Chinatown, Network and Bonnie and Clyde on her resume.

by Anonymousreply 125October 20, 2021 1:43 PM

R122 Inspired choice.

by Anonymousreply 126October 20, 2021 2:29 PM

Joyce Bulifant

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by Anonymousreply 127October 21, 2021 1:24 PM

[quote]R124 Seems like Lee Remick was considered for everything back then. Like "Play Misty for Me," the role that eventually went to Jessica Walter.

Lee Remick was a few years older than Jack Nicholson. No way were the guys funding movies going to have a female romantic lead be older than the hero. I mean, what would the world come to??

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by Anonymousreply 128October 22, 2021 3:01 AM

Wasn't Donna Mills the romantic lead?

by Anonymousreply 129October 22, 2021 3:09 AM

R129 Donna was the “good” girlfriend, Jessica was the crazed stalker.

by Anonymousreply 130October 22, 2021 3:14 AM

[quote]R129 Wasn't Donna Mills the romantic lead?

We’re talking about Remick for the role of Evelyn, dear.

Now go tell her she’s fired.

by Anonymousreply 131October 22, 2021 4:55 AM

Jessica Walter was the antagonist, not a romantic lead.

by Anonymousreply 132October 22, 2021 4:57 AM

I am going to pretend you’re not getting on my [italic]last nerve.

by Anonymousreply 133October 22, 2021 5:00 AM

Did Faye have any hits in between Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown?

by Anonymousreply 134October 22, 2021 5:36 AM

The Thomas Crown Affair, Little Big Man, and The Three Musketeers.

Those are only the biggest films between Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown.

by Anonymousreply 135October 22, 2021 5:41 AM

[quote]R134 Did Faye have any hits in between Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown?

Yes. The Thomas Crown Affair and the Musketeer movies. But her career was pretty up and down the whole way through.

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by Anonymousreply 136October 22, 2021 5:43 AM

she went from blonde to brunette.

by Anonymousreply 137October 22, 2021 5:44 AM

for some reason I can't see Jane Fonda in the film. Maybe because Dunaway is so perfect that you can't imagine anyone else doing better. I've never been impressed by Tuesday Weld.

by Anonymousreply 138October 22, 2021 5:55 AM

Why are there no.oriental cast members? ???

by Anonymousreply 139October 22, 2021 6:18 AM


by Anonymousreply 140October 22, 2021 2:08 PM

R138 I agree. I have trouble picturing Jane in this. She's just not as elegant and mysterious as Faye.

by Anonymousreply 141October 22, 2021 2:10 PM

R139, not true. James Hong is in it.

by Anonymousreply 142October 22, 2021 5:07 PM

R139, R142, and Beulah Quo and Jerry Fujikawa.

by Anonymousreply 143October 22, 2021 7:47 PM
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