The tragedy and sadness of Montgomery Clift’s life is well-documented. As a montage in Robert Anderson Clift and Hillary Demmon’s documentary, Making Montgomery Clift, shows, the actor with the impossibly chiseled face was referred to as a “beautiful loser,” “tortured,” and suffering “the longest suicide in Hollywood history.” But Clift and Demmon, who never met the actor before his passing in 1966, set out to tell a story wholly divorced from those assertions. Indeed, Making Montgomery Clift isn’t the story of the rise and fall of a man fractured by his homosexuality, as has been repeated through the decades. Instead, their documentary seeks to look at how personas are shaped after death, and how the need to promote homosexuality as something to fear fueled much of what we know about Clift, leading to a documentary more intrigued at looking at the lives left behind, then the one lived.
Last Days of Chinatown looks at who and what remains in the Corridor. We hear how residents survived, how they sometimes didn’t, who fled the area and why — as gentrification now redefines the Corridor — long home to the poor and disenfranchised as well as to the artists and visionaries of the city.