erik lundegaard

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Sunday April 23, 2023

Before Escobar

Recognize the guy with Cagney on the set of “Mister Roberts”?

It's fucking Escobar, man. “Chinatown.” The guy who kills Evelyn Mulwray*, allowing her father to put his Grinch-like claws on the granddaughter. It's the guy who unknowingly gives us one of the saddest endings, with one of the greatest last lines, in movie history. The one who didn't listen to the lesson of Chinatown: do as little as possible. He thought he was upholding the law but he was creating injustice because he believed the lies. For a time, I guess, so did Jake.

IMDb's photo gallery for actor Perry Lopez includes only 16 shots from a 40-year career but man are they cool:

  • Three from “Chinatown”
  • Four from “Mister Roberts,” where he played Rodrigues
  • One from the “Shore Leave” episode of “Star Trek,” where he played Rodriguez
  • Four hanging out with Natalie Wood and/or James Dean on the set of “Rebel Without a Cause”

From that last, I assumed he played one of the hoods in “Rebel,” but he's not listed, so not sure why he was visiting the set. Was he going out with Wood? Or Dean? Not seeing connections.

Oddly, after “Chinatown,” he doesn't have many credits. He was working working working, then he gets an important role in a great film, and then nothing for five years. Did he return to the stage? After “Chinatown,” he's in four TV episodes (late '70s, early '80s) and four movies (late '80s, early '90s), including a reprise of Escobar in the disappointing “Two Jakes.” And that's it.

Lopez was born in 1929, two years before “The Public Enemy,” so he probably grew up idolizing Cagney. He certainly looks happy in the photo.


* My wife and I just watched the film again, and apologies to Lt. Escobar: He missed. It was fucking Loach that killed her.

Posted at 10:08 AM on Sunday April 23, 2023 in category Movies - Screen Credits