Robert Towne Further Reading - Essay

Further Reading

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Criticism

Alpert, Hollis. "Jack, The Private Eye." Saturday Review/World 1, No. 23 (27 July 1974): 46.

Positive review of Chinatown that concludes the film "is clever, cunning, tricky, and superbly acted."

Cocks, Jay. "Lost Angelenos." Time 104, No. 1 (1 July 1974): 42.

Contends that Chinatown successfully recreates "the ambience of Los Angeles before the [Second World] war," but argues that the story's protagonist, J. J. Gittes, though "a kind of genial guide through all the thickets of plot," is not a fully developed character.

―――――――. "Blow Dry." Time 105, No. 8 (24 February 1975): 4-5.

Praises Shampoo as a "fast bedroom farce" that realistically depicts Southern California living in the late 1960s. Cocks, however, faults Towne for the "grossly sentimental" ending of the film, which he feels is inconsistent with the protagonist's character and the direction of the plot.

Ellsworth, Elizabeth. "Illicit Pleasures: Feminist Spectators and Personal Best." Wide Angle 8, No. 2 (1986): 45-56.

Surveys critical reactions to Personal Best, focusing on Towne's treatment of lesbianism and other feminist issues.

Hatch, Robert. Review of Personal Best, by Robert Towne. The Nation 234, No. 8 (27 February 1982): 251-52.

Contends that Personal Best treats women as sex objects and takes "crass advantage" of Mariel Hemingway's "comeliness."

Kael, Pauline. "The Man Who Understands Women." In her Taking It All In, pp. 302-07. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984.

Enthusiastic 1982 review of Personal Best, complimenting Towne's natural dialogue, character development, and cinematography. Kael asserts that Towne wants to show "that the beauty that excites him is the same as 'character,' and that a woman [athlete] who moves beautifully is beautiful through and through, right to her soul."

Moore, Kenny. "You Oughta Be in Pictures." Sports Illustrated 56, No. 4 (1 February 1982): 50-4, 56, 58-62.

Behind-the-scenes account of the making of Personal Best. Moore, an athlete and writer, played the character Denny in the film.

Young, Vernon. "Film Chronicle: Personal Best, Three Levels." The Hudson Review XXXV, No. 3 (Autumn 1982): 447-52.

Negatively reviews Personal Best, contending that the film lacks beauty and tenderness, and focuses on "vindictive competition, macho assumptions, and gutter language."

Zimmerman, Paul D. "Tars and Bars." Newsweek LXXXIII, No. 6 (11 February 1974): 85-6.

Mixed review of The Last Detail. Zimmerman contends that "Towne's sharp dialogue and inventive episodes, and [Hal] Ashby's spirited direction can go just so far in transforming an essentially depressing dead-end situation into a satisfying comedy."