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The Man Who Shot Chinatown: The Life and Work of John A. Alonzo (2007)

An insightful documentary on one of the greatest Hollywood cinematographers, the talented John A. Alonzo (1934-2001). With more than 80 credits to his resume in a distinguished career that ... See full summary »


Axel Schill


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Credited cast:
John A. Alonzo ... Himself (archive footage)
Michael Crichton ... Himself
Richard Dreyfuss ... Himself
Roger Ebert ... Himself
Sally Field ... Herself
Mike Figgis ... Himself
William Friedkin ... Himself
James Wong Howe ... Himself (archive footage)
Martin Ritt ... Himself (archive footage)
Frank Sinatra Jr. ... Himself
John Toll ... Himself
Haskell Wexler ... Himself


An insightful documentary on one of the greatest Hollywood cinematographers, the talented John A. Alonzo (1934-2001). With more than 80 credits to his resume in a distinguished career that lasted more than 30 years, Alonzo is best known for his extensive and creative work in Chinatown (1974), which earned him an Oscar nomination. Actors, specialists and friends discuss about his life and work, and the certain lack of recognition he suffered for a certain period in the business. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Life and work of John Alonzo, one of the greatest cinematographers of cinema



Official Sites:

Official site [Germany]




English | German | Spanish

Release Date:

15 November 2007 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

A férfi, aki a Kínai negyedet fényképezte See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA


Box Office


EUR500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TV) (2010)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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User Reviews

A remarkable work
29 November 2009 | by choucroute17See all my reviews

This is an innovative and vividly pictorial documentary that I saw at the premiere in Cologne. Without any voice over (thank heavens), it explores Alonzo as man and artist in depth, using clips and interviews to weave a propulsive and compelling narrative. It really does draw you in, without ever falling into the "and then he shot..." banalities that infect this genre. This one's different, and mixes Alonzo's personal history with his craft into a fascinating whole. I really like the forward motion here. Clips are well-chosen. My only criticism is that the actual daily work of the cinematographer isn't really shown or described, the director/producers/writers apparently assuming (erroneously) that we'd know this already.

And--if I may critique a previous comment that bemoaned the absence of Polanski in the interviews--who the heck cares? He's SO bloody overrated as a director, and in interviews, a smug, pompous twit who specializes in self-congratulation.

My heretical opinion: Huston should have directed "Chinatown," not acted in it.

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