“The Big Goodbye is a captivating and revealing look at how the magicians of cinema really work.”


This story about the film Chinatown begins and ends with Roman Polanski who directed the film.  It begins with the Manson murders while Polanski is in Europe and ends with his sneaking out of America after his rape of a 13 year old and his conviction in court.   In between is the story of a man struggling with his grief and the anything goes atmosphere of Hollywood as the studio era begins to end
Their are great stories about Jack Nicholson who was very friendly with Polanski, Robert Evans, the  kid producer who is riding really high at the moment, and  Faye Dunaway whose career path has started downhill and she is considered very tough to work with.

They were out to make a perfect film.  On the first day of shooting there are over 40 takes of Nicholson lying in the dirt after a fight with an ant slowly making its way across the actors face.
John and Anjelica Houston are part of the story, John, who is acting in the film and Anjelica who is dating Nicholson.

What comes through here vividly are the problems writing the screenplay, over and over again until as they approach the ending of the film, they still don’t have an ending.

A good book for film lovers, especially those who are fans of the film.   Everyone else should probably stay away


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 28th May 2020

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Richard Franco