Movie Article

Toast of the Towne

Robert Towne picks his 5 favorite movies -- The ''Ask the Dust'' screenwriter tells us his favorite L.A. films

While screenwriter Robert Towne was researching 1974's Chinatown, he stumbled across John Fante's 1939 L.A. novel Ask the Dust and fell in love. Thirty years later, he's finally adapted it for the screen, with Colin Farrell. So we thought it was a good time to ask the Hollywood legend to pick five of his favorite L.A. movies — not including his own, of course.

DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
''At the top of the list. Film noir is essentially an L.A. genre, and all the little scenes — like the one in the supermarket — are iconic Los Angeles moments.''

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
''The narrator is William Holden, who's dead in the swimming pool. A lot of people in L.A. are dead in swimming pools and don't even know it.''

THE BIG SLEEP (1946)
''It exposes the city — from the hustlers to the corrupt old families — through the eyes of its private-detective protagonist. It influenced me on Chinatown.''

THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942)
''Bunker Hill is the downtown area re-created in Ask the Dust, and this movie contains some of the last shots of Bunker Hill before it was torn down. I love it for that.''

S.O.B. (1981)
''Everybody says it's s---ty. But you can't prove it by me. In some weird, perverted way, it's the most realistic account of studio politics on film.''

Originally posted Mar 10, 2006 Published in issue #868 Mar 17, 2006 Order article reprints
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