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1930s Los Angeles. Jake Gittes is a successful ‘bedroom dick’: a private eye specialising in cases of marital infidelity. Paradoxically he might also be the last truly ethical man in a corrupt town. Lured into an investigation of the death-by-drowning of City Water Commissioner Hollis Mulwray, Gittes gets more than usually entwined with his new client, Mulwray’s enigmatic widow Evelyn. He then finds himself crossing swords with Evelyn’s redoubtable father, the aging business magnate Noah Cross, who has professional and personal reasons of his own for wanting both Hollis and Evelyn silenced.
Academy Award-winner for Best Original Screenplay of 1974, Robert Towne’s Chinatown is widely regarded as the finest American movie script of the post-war years. Complex in narrative design, infused with the sordid real-life history of Los Angeles’ economic growth and unmistakably adult in its updating of the trademark violence and sexual intrigue of film noir, on the page Chinatown still shines – and cuts – like a blade.
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