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Chinatown (1974)

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A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

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Top Rated Movies #131 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... J.J. Gittes
... Evelyn Mulwray
... Noah Cross
... Escobar
... Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling ... Hollis Mulwray
... Ida Sessions
... Mulvihill
... Man with Knife
... Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)
... Walsh
... Duffy
Nandu Hinds ... Sophie
James O'Rear ... Lawyer (as James O'Reare)
... Evelyn's Butler
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You get tough. You get tender. You get close to each other. Maybe you even get close to the truth. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barrio Chino  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$29,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,000,000, 31 January 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Van der Lip Dam disaster is a reference to the collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1928, forty miles northwest of Los Angeles, which had been designed by self-educated engineer William Mulholland. The consequent flooding killed at least four hundred fifty people, a loss of life that remains second only to that from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire in California's history. See more »

Goofs

When Jake first goes to Mr. Mulwray's office and lets himself in to search it (at 20 minutes), he looks through the desk's drawers. Upon opening the third drawer (the drawer before the empty one), a magnifying glass is visible (as is the red toiletries box he will remove). The camera cuts to his face, and when it returns to the drawer, the magnifying glass is suddenly covered by a booklet reading "Alexandria- Los Angeles". It was not there originally, but after appearing, it remains until the drawer is closed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jake Gittes: All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.
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Crazy Credits

The film opens with the 1940's Paramount logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Day
from the operetta "The Vagabond King" (uncredited)
Brian Hooker and Rudolf Friml
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
watered down noire
28 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

A film about LA and water set in the l930's during a drought with a dark incestuous subplot and some stunning performances by Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson, and superb cinematography that seemed to capture the essence of LA. Directed by Roman Polanski, who makes a terrific cameo appearance as a switchblade wielding heavy, and using the considerable acting talents of John Huston as a ruthless and perverted landowner. Read Cadillac Desert to know about LA's water grab but see Chinatown for its brilliant allegory of water and corruption, both public and private. The direction, the screenplay, the acting, the photography, and the soundtrack combine to make a convincing and atmospheric picture. The crushing ending is just so much more icing on the cake.


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