John Huston Haunts Cinespia

As part of her quest to write about “the dark corners of our 24-hour metropolis,” LA Times reporter Gale Holland recently took in a Cinespia screening of 1974 classic Chinatown at Hollywood Forever cemetery. For anyone who has had the good fortune to attend LA’s original outdoor summer screening series, her piece perfectly captures the appeal.

Just as tourists flock to their favorite Hollywood Walk of Fame stars because they know the celebrity in question was at one point right there with them, the Cinespia setting has its own unique ability to frame the celluloid proceedings. From Holland’s piece:

In an especially macabre touch, John Huston, who played Noah Cross, Chinatown’s Mephistophelean mogul, was with us both in spirit and in body. The late actor and director is buried near the cemetery lake, John Wyatt, the founder of Cinespia, which puts on the cemetery film series, announced to appreciative murmurings from the crowd.

Holland wraps things up nicely with a mention of today’s seedy Chinatown dealings involving Wal-Mart and provides a vivid reminder of why some 4,000 people showed up on a starry June 23 night. When the immortal line of dialogue – ‘Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’ – was uttered, she writes that “the crowd whooped and whistled as if Prince had just tuned up Purple Rain.”

Up next this Saturday at Cinespia: a remake released four years after Roman Polanski‘s enduring classic.

[Photo courtesy]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.