Chinatown script
Chinatown (1974)
Synopsis: When Los Angeles private eye J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband's activities, he believes it's a routine infidelity case. Jake's investigation soon becomes anything but routine when he meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) and realizes he was hired by an imposter. Mr. Mulwray's sudden death sets Gittes on a tangled trail of corruption, deceit and sinister family secrets as Evelyn's father (John Huston) becomes a suspect in the case.

FADE IN:

FULL SCREEN PHOTOGRAPH

Grainy but unmistakably a man and woman making love.

Photograph shakes. SOUND of a man MOANING in anguish. The

photograph is dropped, REVEALING ANOTHER, MORE compromising

one. Then another, and another. More moans.

CURLY'S VOICE

(crying out)

Oh, no.

INT. GITTES' OFFICE

CURLY drops the photos on Gittes' desk. Curly towers over

GITTES and sweats heavily through his workman's clothes, his

breathing progressively more labored. A drop plunks on Gittes'

shiny desk top.

Gittes notes it. A fan whiffs overhead. Gittes glances up at

it. He looks cool and brisk in a white linen suit despite

the heat. Never taking his eyes off Curly, he lights a

cigarette using a lighter with a "nail" on his desk.

Curly, with another anguished sob, turns and rams his fist

into the wall, kicking the wastebasket as he does. He starts

to sob again, slides along the wall where his fist has left

a noticeable dent and its impact has sent the signed photos

of several movie stars askew.

Curly slides on into the blinds and sinks to his knees. He

is weeping heavily now, and is in such pain that he actually

bites into the blinds.

Gittes doesn't move from his chair.

GITTES:

All right, enough is enough -you

can't eat the Venetian blinds,

Curly. I just had 'em installed on

Wednesday.

Curly responds slowly, rising to his feet, crying. Gittes

reaches into his desk and pulls out a shot glass, quickly

selects a cheaper bottle of bourbon from several fifths of

more expensive whiskeys.

Gittes pours a large shot. He shoves the glass across his

desk toward Curly.

GITTES:

-- Down the hatch.

Curly stares dumbly at it. Then picks it up, and drains it.

He sinks back into the chair opposite Gittes, begins to cry

quietly.

2.

CURLY:

(drinking, relaxing a

little)

She's just no good.

GITTES:

What can I tell you, Kid?

You're right. When you're right,

you're right, and you're right.

CURLY:

-- Ain't worth thinking about.

Gittes leaves the bottle with Curly.

GITTES:

You're absolutely right, I wouldn't

give her another thought.

CURLY:

(pouring himself)

You know, you're okay, Mr. Gittes.

I know it's your job, but you're

okay.

GITTES:

(settling back,

breathing a little

easier)

Thanks, Curly. Call me Jake.

CURLY:

Thanks. You know something, Jake?

GITTES:

What's that, Curly?

CURLY:

I think I'll kill her.

INT. DUFFY & WALSH'S OFFICE

noticeably less plush than Gitte's. A well-groomed, dark-

haired WOMAN sits nervously between their two desks, fiddling

with the veil on her pillbox hat.

WOMAN:

-- I was hoping Mr. Gittes could see

to this personally -

WALSH:

(almost the manner of

someone comforting

the bereaved)

-- If you'll allow us to complete

our preliminary questioning, by then

he'll be free.

3.

There is the SOUND of ANOTHER MOAN coming from Gittes' Office -something

made of glass shatters. The Woman grows more edgy.

INT. GITTES' OFFICE - GITTES & CURLY

Gittes and Curly stand in front of the desk, Gittes staring

contemptuously at the heavy breathing hulk towering over

him. Gittes takes a handkerchief and wipes away the plunk of

perspiration on his desk.

CURLY:

(crying)

They don't kill a guy for that.

GITTES:

Oh they don't?

CURLY:

Not for your wife. That's the

unwritten law.

Gittes pounds the photos on the desk, shouting;

GITTES:

I'll tell you the unwritten law, you

dumb son of a bitch, you gotta be

rich to kill somebody, anybody and

get away with it. You think you got

that kind of dough, you think you

got that kind of class?

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Robert Towne

Robert Towne (born Robert Bertram Schwartz; November 23, 1934) is an American screenwriter, producer, director and actor. He was part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking. His most notable work was his Academy Award-winning original screenplay for Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974), which is widely considered one of the greatest movie screenplays ever written. He also wrote its sequel The Two Jakes in 1990, and wrote the Hal Ashby comedy-dramas The Last Detail (1973), and Shampoo (1975), as well as the first two Mission Impossible films (1996, 2000). more…

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"Chinatown" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 22 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/chinatown_73>.

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