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Although it doesn't quite hold up compared to the first film, "The Two Jakes" arrives with improved picture and a nice extra
on October 20, 2007
It's about time that "The Two Jakes" gets a little love. Yes, it's a lesser film than "Chinatown" but it's still a GOOD film that was slammed in the press for not being the first film which, of course, it couldn't be simply because all the characters have tried to move on and time has taken its toll on all these people.
The new edition of the film is a marked improvement with more accurate colors and improved definition.
We have an excellent interview with Jack Nicholson that runs about 18 minutes discussing how he ended up in the director's chair ("it was the only way to not have it be this ongoing drama") how "The Two Jakes" was supposed to be the second part of a trilogy (with "Gittes vs. Gittes" originally about privacy as the third film). The original plan was that Towne (who appears in an interview for "Chinatown" but curiously NOT for "The Two Jakes") was going to write and direct the two sequels using the natural passage of time and each succeeding decade (30's, 40's and 50's) to document the change of Los Angeles which was a major character in the film as well.
Nicholson manages to discuss the film without making a nasty comment about anybody. He discusses the casting (Madeline Stowe, Meg Tilly, Eli Wallach, Harvey Keitel), particularly about the challenges working with the actors who often had very different training. We see some behind-the-scenes footage that was drawn from a vintage featurette. Sadly, we don't get a commentary track by Nicholson or any of the cast members. Nevertheless, this is great upgrade over the barebones original release.
Unfortunately Towne is MIA for the interview (given the difficulty he had in getting it made, his dismissal as director and his mixed feelings about the final result, it's understandable). I would have liked to hear the thoughts of Stowe, Tilly and Keitel about the making of the film. Nicholson is very diplomatic in discussing the making of the film and its difficult long haul to the big screen.
A terrific upgrade for fans of "The Two Jakes", Paramount has cleaned up the picture and the result is a much sharper looking DVD. A very good movie "The Two Jakes" may not be "Chinatown" but it's a solid thriller with strong performances and terrific cinematography. A pity that the planned third film in the trilogy won't be coming to the screen.