A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
In 1937 Los Angeles, private investigator Jake 'J.J.' Gittes specializes in cheating-spouse cases. His current target is Hollis Mulwray, high-profile chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, whose wife suspects him of infidelity. In following Mulwray, Gittes witnesses some usual business dealings, such as a public meeting for construction of a new dam to create additional water supply for Los Angeles, as fresh water is vital to the growing community during the chronic drought; Mulwray opposes the dam. Eventually Gittes sees Mulwray meeting with an unknown young woman who isn't his wife. Once news of the supposed tryst between Mulwray and this woman hits the media, additional information comes to light that makes Gittes believe that Mulwray is being framed for something and that he himself is being set up. In his investigation of the issue behind Mulwray's framing and his own setup, Gittes is assisted by Mulwray's wife Evelyn, but he thinks she isn't being ...Written by
The film's enigmatic title is a metaphor for moral corruption by unseen forces. Throughout the film, Jake Gittes refers to his time as a police officer in Chinatown, where "you can't always tell what's going on." In Hollywood, the movie's line, "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown", has become a mantra for those who have been burned or snubbed by the entertainment industry, the implication being that it's better to "let it go" than make an issue of it, because that's just how the industry works. See more »
When Jake gets home after following Mrs. Mulwray and his phone rings, it is clearly not the sound of a 1937 telephone. The sound of his placing the receiver on the cradle is authentic, but the ringer is no earlier than the sixties. See more »
All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.
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The film opens with the 1940's Paramount logo. See more »
TV versions omit the "screwing like a chinaman" joke told by Jake. See more »
The year 1974 was very memorable. That year several films were successes which consisted of Francis Coppula's "The Godfather:Part II",Alan Pakula's political thriller "The Parallex View",Robert Aldrich's "The Longest Yard",and not to mention the disaster epics of the day;Irwin Allen's "The Towering Inferno",and Mark Robson's "Earthquake" not to mention the films "The Conversation",and "The Great Gatsby","Lenny",and "Blazing Saddles" to name a few. But one film in particular stood out from all the rest and it shows why that was one of AFI's 100 top films of all time.
The year was 1974. The motion picture is "Chinatown". This was the movie that cemented Jack Nicholson as a bonafide superstar throughout the entire decade of the 1970's. This was the movie that started it all.
Jack Nicholson graduated from star to superstar playing a gumshoe in this marvelously intricate film noir of the 70's directed by Roman Polanski,who has a memorable cameo as a sadistic hood,gives Nicholson the most famous nose job in motion picture history. Robert Towne's Oscar winning script(whom they used in some acting and writing classes as a learning tool in some colleges)brilliantly depicts 1940's Los Angeles as a glittering cesspool of murder,incest,and corrupt land deals. Faye Dunaway steals the picture with a haunting performance as the film's alluring female fatale,and John Huston,as her creepy millionaire father,will make your skin crawl. The stunning finale still packs an emotional wallop. "Chinatown" was the apex of what the cinema of the 1970's was about to become,and this was the prime factor of that as well.
The film was nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture and won three for Best Original Score(Jerry Goldsmith),Best Screenplay(Robert Towne),and Best Supporting Actor(John Huston).
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