Chinatown is a 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski. Produced by Robert Evans and written by Robert Towne. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez and Burt Young. In 1971, the producer Robert Evans offered Robert Towne $175,000 to write a screenplay for The Great Gatsby, but Towne felt he could not better the original F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Instead, Towne asked for $25,000 to write his own story, Chinatown.
Chinatown was the Roman Polanski’s last film in the United States and features many elements of classic film noir, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and psychological drama.
Chinatown was nominated for 11 Academy Awards but won only 1 for Best Original Screenplay awarded to Robert Towne. It was nominated for 7 Golden Globes and won 4 for Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. At the BAFTA Awards, Chinatown was nominated for 11 awards and won 3 for Best Actor, Best Direction and Best Screenplay.
In 1991, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant and it is frequently listed as among the best in world cinema. In 2008, The American Film Institute placed it second among mystery films.
A sequel, The Two Jakes, directed by and starring Jack Nicholson was released in 1990. Robert Towne also wrote the screenplay. The film failed to generate the acclaim and financial success of its predecessor.
The stroyline is set during the Great Depression in 1937, Jake ‘J.J.’ Gittes a private investigator who specialising in cases of cheating spouses. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis, one of the most powerful and influential politicians in the city and builder of the city’s water supply system, of having an affair.
Most of what Jake witnesses in following Mulwray are his usual business dealings, among these is a public meeting for construction of a new dam to create an additional water supply for Los Angeles, the dam which Mulwray opposes. Jake then witnesses Mulwray meeting with a young woman who is not his wife. When he snaps a photo of Mulwray in the clenches of the young blonde and releases it to the media, the photo and juicy headline make front page news. An ensuing scandal begins in which it seems he was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray.
Jake is confronted by the real Mrs. Mulwray, and her attorney, who hands Jake a law suit, ordering him to stop following her husband. Additional information comes to light and leads Jake to believe that Mulwray is being framed and that he himself is being set-up. With his reputation at stake, Jake is anxious to talk to Hollis Mulwray, however he is unable to locate Mulwray at his office or apartment. At the Mulwray home, Evelyn Mulwray is evasive and uneven and she offers to dismiss the law suit. Mr. Mulwray is found dead, supposedly fell, drowned, and his body washed up in a runoff channel at the Stone Canyon Reservoir.
The further he gets into the investigation, he uncovers a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest and municipal corruption all related to the city’s water supply. Links to Mulwray’s former business partnership with Evelyn’s father, Noah Cross, begin to surface. Jake soon becomes embroiled in the mystery of Mulwray’s death and other questions which arise: Who was the imposter and who hired her? Why was she hired? Who is Evelyn Mulwray? Who is Noah Cross?
Year of Film
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Burt Young, John Huston
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Budget: $6,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: Unknown
Gross: $30,000,000 (Worldwide)
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