L.A. in the early 1930’s: racism, poverty, and disease color the Bunker Hill neighborhood where Arturo Bandini, a lover of men and beasts alike, has arrived from Colorado to write the great Los Angeles novel. After six months and down to his last nickel, he orders a cup of coffee, served by Camilla Lopez, beautiful, self-possessed, and Mexican. Arturo gets advice, encouragement, and an occasional check from H.L. Mencken, so he keeps writing and he keeps seeing Camilla. But, he’s mean to her for no apparent reason, so the relationship sputters. A housekeeper from back East suggests a way out of his jealously and fears. “Camilla Bandini”: is it in the cards? –IMDb
Robert Towne would prefer his appearance as the stick-like leading actor Edward Wain in the prententious Roger Corman post-apocalyptic effort The Last Woman on Earth (1960) be forgotten — in addition to the film’s screenplay, which was Towne’s first. Despite this inauspicious beginning (and his follow-up starring appearance in Creature From the Haunted Sea 1961), Towne appreciated the early opportunity afforded him by Corman, and remained with the producer/director to pen the screenplay for Tomb of Ligeia (1965) (two more scripts for Corman, A Time for Killing and Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, were heavily revised by others). From there, Towne could only go up, and this he did as script consultant for Warren Beatty’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and as full screenwriter for Villa Rides (1967). After one more acting turn in Drive, He Said (1971), Towne made a good living as a screenwriter and troubleshooting script doctor. Towne’s output ranged from the salty profanities of The Last… read more
There is so much to like in this film but it still seems pale and plodding. The depression sets and cinematography are quite authentic and detailed in capturing the feel of Los Angeles during the thirties. Colin Farrell and Salma Hayak give convincing and charismatic performances as the doomed lovers of the piece but the screenplay never grabs you and your interest wanes as the film progresses. What a disappointment from the writer of " Chinatown", Robert Towne. Even the hyped sex scenes are a bit droll.