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Chinatown (1974)

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Chinatown (1974)


Jack Nicholson
Faye Dunaway
John Huston

Directed by Roman Polanski

Chinatown is a crime mystery psychological drama film; the screenplay in this 1974 classic is one that is way beyond its time and it will take years before another masterful screenplay can match the Academy Award winning screenplay of Chinatown. The screenplay was done by the Robert Towne (who you will know for his writing in the Tom Cruise Movies The Firm in 1993 Mission Impossible in 1996 and Mission Impossible II in 2000) who decide not to adapt the novel The Great Gatsby (1974) handed to him by producer Robert Evans but Towne wrote his own and Chinatown was the result of his writing.

The movie had a tragic ending with Robert Evans the producer, intending the screenplay to have a happy ending but Polanski stuck to his gun for a tragic ending, he is quoted to have said "I knew that if Chinatown was to be special, not just another thriller where the good guys triumph in the final reel, Evelyn had to die."

Director Roman Polanski (who won the Oscars for Best Director for the 2002 movie The Pianist) won a Golden Globe award for Best Director for this movie, Polanski shut the whole movie from the sight of J.J. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) he was in every scene of the movie and when he was knocked out the who screen went black till he woke up.

The movie plot is about a private investigator J.J. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), whose main job is tailing partner’s clients who are suspected to be having affairs.

He was hired by a woman to help find out if her husband Hollis I. Mulwray is having an affair, he tails him and finds him with another woman, takes pictures of them and releases them to the papers, all to get sued the next day by the woman Mulwary was with, as Gittes found out that the woman who hired him is actually a phony and that the woman he taught was Mulwray’s mistress was actually Mulwray’s real wife.

Polanski also appears in this movie in a cameo as the gangster who cuts Gittes' nose.

A sequel to this classic was titled The Two Jakes which was released in 1990. Jack Nicholson reprises his role as J.J. Jake Gittes and also directed the movie, with Robert Towne returning to write the screenplay. The sequel was a total failure though.

Chinatown is one of the few mystery films that will keep you on your seat till the very end as you eagerly wait to see where the entire strings tie up, as the movie composes plots and sub plots all leading to a grand and memorable ending.


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