Polanski and Towne argued about everything when making Chinatown—which ended up producing a classic. So, if you want to great a masterpiece, throw two talented people together and let their ideas and personalities bounce off each other constantly—that's one "mode of production" you can count on.
As for the technical specs, Chinatown was shot on 35mm film in Technicolor. (Source)
There aren't a lot of special effects in the movie, but, for the record, Polanski didn't really slice Jack Nicholson's nostril open. He used a special trick knife—but after he and Nicholson got tired of explaining how the trick knife actually worked, they encouraged the myth that Polanski'd really cut Nicholson's nose. (Source)