Jake J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a successful private detective. He is hired to investigate an extra-marital affair involving Hollis, the husband of Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway). Jake takes photos of Hollis with a young lady. Hollis then turns up murdered, which Jake decides to investigate. He finds more than he was looking for. Jake discovers a plot to buy cheap, unwatered land for low prices, water the land, and sell it for millions of dollars.
Though manhandled both by water department goons and angry farmers, Gittes stubbornly refuses to give up, even with his life on the line. His investigation leads him to an affair with Evelyn and a discussion with her father (John Huston), both of whom seem curiously interested in the girl Hollis was seen with.
Best Writing, Original Screenplay -> Robert Town
Release date: June 20, 1974
Actress in a Leading Role -> Faye Dunaway
Best Director->Roman Polanski
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Music, Original Dramatic Score ->Jerry Goldsmith
The movie was shot in Los Angeles. The lake is Lake Hollywood.
Writer Robert Towne wanted Noah Cross to die and his daughter to live. However, during pre-production Roman Polanski and Towne argued over it, with Polanski insisting on a tragic ending. Polanski won the argument. Source / More (Book)
Hollis Mulwray’s character is based on real-life water engineer William Mulholland. Source / More (Book)
The scene where director Polanski slits Jack Nicholson's nose was extremely complex to film, and the two men involved got so tired of explaining how it was done that they began to claim Nicholson’s nose was actually cut.
The title Chinatown refers less to the place than the state of mind: A condition of being continually on the wrong foot.
Chinatown has been crowned the third best screenplay ever. The members of the Writers Guild of America voted the Chinatown script into the top 10 of the guild’s 101 greatest screenplays. Casablanca topped the list. Source / More (Web)
Jack has a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
It’s located between Highland avenue and Orange Drive.
Jack started out as an office boy at MGM's cartoon department and soon began performing on the stage and in soap opera's.
About 1957 he met B-film king Roger Corman , who offered him the leading role in his low-budget film The Cry Baby Killer (1958).
Nicholson spent the next decade playing major roles in B-films but in 1969 his life changed playing a boozy Southern lawyer in a biker film, Easy rider. Nicholson's newfound stardom was secured with his leading role in Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Chinatown (1970).
Nicholson took home Oscar gold in 1975 for his portrayal of mental patient Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
He directed and starred in an revisionist western, Goin' South (1978). Critics were divided over The Shining (1980), in which Jack went crazy for nearly two hours.
In 1989, a wicked Nicholson appeared as The Joker in the blockbuster hit Batman.
By the 1990s, Nicholson was regarded as a screen icon and his notable roles included a colonel in A Few Good Men (1992); the title role in Hoffa (1992); a werewolf in Wolf (1994); and an obsessive-compulsive writer in As Good As It Gets (1997).