Chinatown (1974) Script

All right, Curly, enough's enough.

You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.

Down the hatch.

She's no good. What can I tell you, kid? You're right.

When you're right, you're right.

And you're right.

I'll pay you the rest next week.

We only caught 60 ton of skipjack down in San Benedict.

And they don't pay you the same for skipjack as they do albacore or tuna.

Forget it, will you, Curly?

I only brought it up to illustrate a point. I don't want your last dime.

What kind of a guy do you think I am?

Thank you, Mr. Gittes. Call me Jake.

Careful driving home, Curl, huh?

Mrs. Mulwray's waiting for you with Mr. Walsh and Mr. Duffy.

Mrs. Mulwray, may I present Mr. Gittes?

Mrs. Mulwray, how do you do? Mr. Gittes.

Now, what seems to be the problem?

My husband, I believe, is seeing another woman.

No. Really? I'm afraid so.

I am sorry.

Mr. Gittes, please, do you think we could discuss this alone?

I'm afraid not, Mrs. Mulwray. These are my operatives, and at some point, they're going to have to assist me.

I can't do everything myself.

Of course not.


what makes you certain that your husband is involved with someone?

A wife can tell.

Mrs. Mulwray, do you love your husband?

Yes, of course!

Then go home and forget everything. But, I...

I'm sure that he loves you, too, Mrs. Mulwray.

Do you know the expression, "Let sleeping dogs lie"?

You're better off not knowing.

I have to know.

Very well.

What is your husband's first name?


Hollis Mulwray.

Water and Power? He's Chief Engineer.

Chief Engineer?

Mrs. Mulwray, this...

This type of investigation can be hard on your pocketbook.

It takes time...

Money doesn't matter to me, Mr. Gittes.

Okay, we'll...

We'll see what we can do.

Gentlemen, today you can walk out that door, turn right, hop a streetcar, and within 25 minutes, end up smack in the Pacific Ocean.

Now, you can swim in it and you can fish in it, but you can't drink it, and you can't irrigate an orange grove with it.

Now remember, we live next door to the ocean, but we also live on the edge of a desert.

Los Angeles is a desert community.

Beneath this building, beneath our streets, is a desert.

And without water, the dust will rise up and cover us as though we never existed.

Now, the Alto Vallejo can save us from this, and I respectfully suggest that $8.5 million is a fair price to pay to keep the desert from our streets and not on top of them.

Hear, hear!

Mayor Bagby, let's hear from all the departments again.

I suppose we'd better take Water and Power first.

Mr. Mulwray?

In case you've forgotten, gentlemen, over 500 lives were lost when the Van der Lip Dam gave way.

Core samples have shown that beneath this bedrock is shale similar to the permeable shale in the Van der Lip disaster.

It couldn't withstand that kind of pressure.

And now you propose yet another dirt-banked terminus dam with slopes of 2.5: 1, 112 feet high, and a 12,000-acre water surface.

Well, it won't hold.

I won't build it. It's that simple.

I'm not going to make the same mistake twice.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Quiet! Quiet!

What the hell do you think you're doing? Get those goddamn things out of here!

Hold some of them. Tell me where to take them!

You don't have an answer for that so quick, do you?

You steal water from the Valley, ruin the grazing, starve the livestock!

Who's paying you to do that, Mr. Mulwray?

That's what I want to know!

Jeez, he was there all night. That's right.

I had to go back three times to pick up the watches.

Yesterday he went to three reservoirs, a men's room at a Richfield gas station, and The Pig'n Whistle.

The guy's got water on the brain.

So what do you got?


Well, they got into a terrific argument outside The Pig'n Whistle.

What about?

I don't know. The traffic was pretty loud.

I heard only one thing, though.

"Apple core."

"Apple core"? Yeah.

My God, Walsh, is that what you spent your day doing?

Look, you tell me to take pictures, I take pictures.

Let me explain something to you, Walsh.

J.J. Gittes and Associates.

This business requires a certain amount of finesse.

What is it, Sophie?

Duffy's on the phone.

Yeah, Duff, where are you? I got it!

He's found himself some cute little twist, the old buzzard...

Okay. Slow down. Where are you?

I'm at Glendale and Douglas.

They're in Echo Park in a rowboat. A rowboat!


Echo Park.

Water again.

Okay, pal, let's have us a big smile.

You'll love it.

Here. Let me...

When you get so much publicity, you got to get blasé about it.

Let's face it, Jake, you're practically a movie star.

Just look at that, Barn. Yeah, the heat's murder.

Sure is.

Fools' names and fools' faces.

What's that, pal? Nothing.

You got a hell of a way to make a living.

Oh? And what do you do to make ends meet?

Mortgage department, First National Bank.

Tell me, did you foreclose on many families this week?

We don't publish a record in the paper, I can tell you that.

Neither do I.

No, you have your press agent do it.

Who is this bimbo, Barney? Is he a regular customer or what?

Hey, listen, pal, I make an honest living.

People only come to me when they're in a desperate situation.

I help them out. I don't kick families out of their houses like you bums down at the bank do! Jake, can I tell you about the guy who...

Maybe you'd like to step down out of the barber chair and maybe we can go outside and discuss it.

What do you think? Oh, come on.

Jake, let me tell you about the guy who got tired...

I don't know how that thing got in the newspaper.

It was so quick, I didn't even know it myself.

Thank you. I make an honest living!

Of course you do.

Anyway, this guy who got tired of screwing his wife said to his friend, "What do I do?" An honest living, you understand?

So the guy says, "Why don't you do what the Chinese do?"

He says, "What do the Chinese do?"

He says, "The Chinese they screw a little and they get tired..."

Duffy. Hey, Walsh!

Sophie, go to the little girls' room for a minute, okay?

But, Mr. Gittes... Sophie...

Yes, Mr. Gittes.

Jake... Duffy, listen to me, man.

I want to tell you a story.

So, there's this guy, Walsh, you understand?

He's tired of screwing his wife.

Jake, there's a problem... Wait a second, Duffy.

You're always in such a hurry.

So his friend says to him, "Hey, why don't you do it like the Chinese do?"

So he says, "Well, how do the Chinese do it?"

The guy says, "Well, the Chinese, first they screw a little bit, "then they stop and they go and read a little Confucius.

"Come back, screw a little bit more, then they stop again, "go back and they screw a little..." Jake.

Walsh, just listen to me for a second.

I mean, you'll love this.

Now, then they go back and they screw a little bit more, and then they go out and they contemplate the moon or something like that. Makes it more exciting.

So, now, the guy goes home and he starts screwing his own wife, see.

So, he screws her for a little bit, and then he stops.

He goes out of the room and reads LIFE magazine.

Then he goes back in, he starts screwing again, and he says, "Excuse me for a minute, honey" and he goes out and he smokes a cigarette.

Now, his wife is getting sore as hell.

He comes back in the room, he starts screwing again, he gets up to start to leave again to go look at the moon, she looks at him and says, "Hey, what's the matter with you?

"You're screwing just like a Chinaman!"


That Barney!

Mr. Gittes?


Do you know me?

Well, I think I would have remembered.

Have we ever met?

Well, no.



That's what I thought.

You see, I'm Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray.

You know, Mr. Mulwray's wife?

Not that Mulwray?

Yes, Mr. Gittes, that Mulwray.

And since you agree with me that we've never met before, you must also agree with me that I never hired you to do anything, certainly not spy on my husband.

I see you like publicity, Mr. Gittes.

Well, you're going to get it.

Now, wait a minute, Mrs. Mulwray.

I think there's been some misunderstanding here.

There's no point in getting tough with me. I'm just...

I don't get tough with anyone, Mr. Gittes.

My lawyer does.

Here's something for you, Mr. Gittes.

I suppose we'll be hearing from your attorney.

Mr. Mulwray? He's not in, Mr...

Gittes. May I ask what this is regarding?

It's a personal matter. Has he been gone long?

Since lunch.

Gee whiz, and I'm late. He was expecting you?

Fifteen minutes ago. Why don't I just go in and wait?


Is Mr. Yelburton there?

Is he still in the building?

Very well. Thank you.

Can I help you? Russ Yelburton, Deputy Chief of the department.

J.J. Gittes.

It's not a departmental matter, Mr. Yelburton.

I wonder if you'd care to wait in my office.


We're a bit nervous around here with all this business in the papers about Mr. Mulwray.

Right this way.

You know, after you've worked with a man for a certain length of time, you come to know his habits, his values.

You come to know him.

And either he's the kind who chases after women or he isn't.

And Mulwray isn't?

He never even kids about it.

Well, maybe he takes it very seriously.

Sit down. No, thank you.

Do you know where Mulwray's having lunch?

No, I'm sorry, I don't.

Well, tell him I'll be back.

I will.

Do you mind if I take one of your cards?

In case I have to get in touch with you again.

No, help yourself. Thank you.

Mulvihill! What are you doing here?

They shut my water off. What's it to you?

How'd you find out about it? You don't drink it.

You don't take a bath in it.

They wrote you a letter!

But then you'd have to be able to read.

Relax, Mulvihill. Glad to see you. You know Claude Mulvihill here?

Well, I hope so. He's working for us.

Doing what?

Well, frankly, there have been some threats to blow up the city reservoirs.

Any particular reason? Well, it's this darn drought.

We've had to ration water in the Valley and the farmers are desperate.

But what can we do? The rest of the city needs drinking water.

Well, you're in luck, Mr. Yelburton. How's that?

When Mulvihill here was Sheriff of Ventura County, the rum runners landed hundreds of tons of booze on the beach and never lost a drop.

He ought to be able to hold on to your water for you.

J.J. Gittes to see Mr. Mulwray.


You wait.

Bad for glass. Yeah. Sure.

Bad for the glass.

Mr. Gittes.

Actually, I came to see your husband, Mrs. Mulwray.

Would you like something to drink?

What are you having?

Iced tea. That'll be fine, thank you.

Two iced teas, Kahn, please? Yes, ma'am.

My husband's at the office.

Actually, he's not, Mrs. Mulwray, and he's checked out of his apartment at the El Macondo.

That's not his apartment.

Anyway, I...

The point is, is I'm not in business to be loved, but I am in business, and believe me, Mrs. Mulwray, whoever set your husband up, set me up.

L.A.'s a small town. People talk.

I'm just trying to make a living. I don't want to become a local joke.

Mr. Gittes, you've talked me into it. I'll drop the lawsuit.

What? I said, I'll drop the lawsuit.

So let's just drop the whole thing.

Sugar, lemon, or both? Both.

Mrs. Mulwray... Yes, Mr. Gittes?

...I don't want to drop it.

I better talk to your husband about this.

Why? What on Earth for?

Hollis seems to think you're an innocent man.

Well, I've been accused of a lot of things before, Mrs. Mulwray, but never that.

Look, somebody's gone to a lot of trouble here, and lawsuit or no lawsuit, I intend to find out.

I'm not supposed to be the one who's caught with his pants down.

So unless it's a problem, I'd like to talk to your husband.

Why should it be a problem?

May I speak frankly, Mrs. Mulwray? You may if you can, Mr. Gittes.

Well, that little girlfriend, she was pretty, in a cheap sort of a way, of course.

She's disappeared. Maybe they disappeared together.

Suppose they did. How does that affect you?

It's nothing personal, Mrs. Mulwray. It's very personal!

It couldn't be more personal.

Is this business or an obsession with you?

Let's look at it this way.

Now, this phony broad, excuse the language, she tells me she's you. She hires me.

Now, whoever put her up to it doesn't have anything against me.

They're out to get your husband.

If I can see him, I can help him.

Did you talk to him this morning?


I went riding rather early.

Looks like you went quite a distance.

I was riding bareback.


You might try the Oak Pass or the Stone Canyon Reservoir.

Frequently, at lunch, Hollis takes walks around them.

Otherwise, he'll be home by 6:30.

I'll stop by.

Please call first.

Sorry, closed to public, sir.

Oh, that's all right, Officer.

Russ Yelburton, Deputy Chief of the department.

Sorry, Mr. Yelburton. Go on down. That's okay.

Gittes! For Christ's sake! Loach.

Get out of here before he sees you. What are you talking about?

What's going on here? Loach!

Hello, Jake.

Lou. How are you?

Lousy cold I can't seem to shake, but otherwise, I'm okay.

Yeah, summer colds are the worst. Yeah, they are.

There's no smoking here, sir...

That's all right, Officer. We can make an exception this time.

I'll see he's careful with the matches and doesn't burn himself.

Thanks, Lou.

How'd you get past the guard?

Well, to tell you the truth, I lied a little.

You look like you've done well by yourself.

I get by.

Well, sometimes it takes a while for a man to find himself.

Maybe you have.

Yeah, going through other people's dirty linen.

Yeah. Tell me, you still putting Chinamen in jail for spitting in the laundry?

You're a little behind the times, Jake.

They use steam irons now.

And I'm out of Chinatown.

Since when?

Since I made lieutenant.


What are you doing around here? I'm looking for somebody.


Hollis Mulwray. You seen him?


I'd like to talk to him.

So you'd like to talk to him, huh?

You're welcome to try.

There he is.

Looks like he was washed down the entire length of the run-off channel.

Could he swim? Of course.

Obviously, the fall must have knocked him unconscious.

Mrs. Mulwray, this alleged affair your husband was having.

The publicity didn't make him morose, or unhappy?

It didn't make him happy.

There is no possibility that he would have taken his own life?


Mrs. Mulwray, do you happen to know the name of the young lady in question?


Or where she might be? Certainly not.

You and your husband never discussed her?


We did.

He wouldn't tell me her name.

We quarreled over her, of course. It came as a complete surprise to me.

A complete surprise?

I thought you hired a private investigator.

A private investigator?

Mr. Gittes.

Yes, but I did that because I thought I would put an end to a ridiculous rumor that had no basis.

When did Mr. Gittes inform you that these rumors had some foundation in fact?

Just before the story broke in the papers, Lou.

You wouldn't happen to know where I could find her?


Or her name? No.

Of course not.

Will you need me for anything else, Lieutenant?

Oh, no, no, Mrs. Mulwray, I don't think so.

If we need anymore information, we'll be in touch.

Of course you have my deepest sympathy.

I'll see her to the car, Lou. I'll be right back.

Jake, come on, what's the story? Take it easy, guys. Let us get through.

We better do this in a hurry.

Let us through, guys! Give us a little room!

You want a picture, guys? Here it is!

"Gittes", two T's and an E.

Thank you for going along with me back there.

I just didn't want to explain anything.

I'll send you a check.

A check?

To make it official that I've hired you.

I'll get to him this afternoon if I can.

Jake, what are you doing here?

Nothing, Morty. It's my lunch hour.

Thought I'd drop by and see who dropped dead lately.

Yeah? Isn't this something?

Middle of a drought, and the Water Commissioner drowns.

Only in L.A. Yeah.

Looks pretty banged up. Well, it's a long fall.

So how are you doing, Morty?

Never better, except for this darn cough.

You know me, Jake. Yeah.

Who you got there?

Leroy Shuhardt, local drunk.

Used to hang around Ferguson's Alley.

Quite a character.

Lately he'd been living in one of the downtown storm drains.

Had a bureau dresser down there and everything.

All right, there.

Yeah. He drowned, too.

Come again?

Yeah. Got drunk, passed out in the bottom of the riverbed.

The L.A. River?

Yeah, right under Hollenbeck Bridge. What's wrong with that?

Well, it's dry as a bone, Morty.

It's not completely dry.

Well, he ain't gonna exactly drown in a damp riverbed, no matter how soused he is.

We got water out of him. He drowned!



You were riding out here the other day, weren't you?

Do you speak English?

You were talking to a man a few days ago. He wore glasses...


What did you talk about, do you mind my asking?

The water. What about the water?

When it comes. When it comes?

What did you tell him?

It comes in different parts of the river.

Every night a different part.

Son of a bitch! Goddamn Florsheim shoe.

Hold it there, kitty-cat! Hold it!

Hello, Claude. Where'd you get the midget?

You're a very nosy fellow, kitty-cat, huh?

You know what happens to nosy fellows?

No? Want to guess? No?

Okay. They lose their noses.

Next time you lose the whole thing.

Cut it off and feed it to my goldfish.


Understand? Don't you understand, Gittes?

I understand.

All right.

So some contractor wants to build a dam, and he makes a few payoffs. So what?

Think you can nail Mulvihill? They'll claim you were trespassing.

Don't want Mulvihill.

I want the big boys that are making the payoffs.

Then what do you do?

Sue the shit out of them.

Yeah? Yeah.

What is it, Sophie? A Miss Sessions is calling.

Who? Ida Sessions.

Don't know her. Take a number.

Sue people like that, they're liable to be having dinner with the judge who's trying the suit.

I'm sorry. Miss Sessions insists.

She says you know her.


Hello, Miss Sessions. I don't believe we've had the pleasure.

Oh, yes, we have.

Are you alone? Isn't everyone?

What can I do for you?

Well, I'm a working girl.

I didn't come in to see you on my own.

When did you come in?

I was the one who pretended to be Mrs. Mulwray. Remember?

Shut the fuck up. Beg your pardon?

Yes, I remember. Beg your pardon? Is something wrong?

No. I was just checking a detail or two with my two associates.

Go on.

I never expected anything to happen like what happened to Mr. Mulwray.

The point is, if it ever comes out, I want somebody to know that I didn't know what would happen.

I understand.

Who was your employer? That could be helpful to both of us.

Oh, no! Oh, no.


What's your address? Maybe we could talk this over.

No, Mr. Gittes.

Just look in the obituary column oftoday's L.A. Post-Record.

The obituary column?

You'll find one of those people. "Those people"? Miss...


How do you like them apples?


Thank you for coming.

Yes, sir? Drink?

Tom Collins. With lime, not lemon, please.

Tom Collins with lime.

I got your check in the mail.

Yes. As I said, I was very grateful.

Mrs. Mulwray, I'm afraid that's not good enough.

How much would you like?

Oh, stop it, the money's fine. It's generous.

But I think you short-changed me on the story.

I have? I think so.

Something else besides the death of your husband was bothering you.

You were upset, but not that upset.

Mr. Gittes, don't tell me how I feel.


Look, you sue me, your husband dies, you drop the lawsuit like a hot potato, all of it quicker than the wind from a duck's ass.

Excuse me.

Then you ask me to lie to the police... It wasn't much of a lie.

If your husband was killed, it was.

This could look like you paid me off to withhold evidence.

But he wasn't killed.

Mrs. Mulwray, I think you're hiding something.

Well, I suppose I am.

Actually, I knew about the affair.

How did you find out? My husband.

He told you?

And you weren't the least bit upset?

I was grateful.

Mrs. Mulwray, you'll have to explain that.


Look, I do matrimonial work. It's my métier.

When a wife tells me that she's happy that her husband is cheating on her, it runs contrary to my experience.

Unless what?

She was cheating on him.

Were you?

I dislike the word "cheat".

Did you have affairs?

Mr. Gittes... Did he know about it?

Well, I wouldn't run home and tell him every time I went to bed with someone, if that's what you mean.

Is there anything else you want to know about me?

Where were you when your husband died?

I can't tell you.

You mean you don't know where you were?

I mean I can't tell you. You were seeing someone, too.

For very long?

I don't see anyone for very long, Mr. Gittes.

It's difficult for me.

Now, I think you know all you need know about me.

I didn't want publicity.

I didn't want to go into any of this, then or now.

Is that all?

By the way, what does this "C" stand for?


It's your maiden name? Yes.


No reason.

You must've had a reason to ask me that.

No. I'm just a snoop.

No. I have my own car. The Packard.

Wait a minute, sonny.

I think you better come with me.

But why? There's nothing more to say.

Will you get my car, please?

Okay, go home.

But in case you're interested, your husband was murdered.

Somebody's been dumping thousands of tons of water from the city's reservoirs, and we're supposed to be in the middle of a drought.

He found out about it, and he was killed.

There's a waterlogged drunk in the morgue.

Involuntary manslaughter, if anybody wants to take the trouble, which they don't.

It seems like half the city is trying to cover it all up, which is fine by me.

But, Mrs. Mulwray, I goddamn near lost my nose, and I like it.

I like breathing through it.

And I still think that you're hiding something.

Mr. Gittes...

J.J. Gittes to see Mr. Yelburton.

Mr. Yelburton will be busy for some time.

Well, it's my lunch hour. I can wait.

He's liable to be tied up indefinitely.

I take a long lunch hour.

All day, sometimes.

Noah Cross worked for the Water Department.


No. Well, did he or didn't he?

He owned it.

He owned the Water Department?


You mean, he owned the entire water supply for the city?


How did they get it away from him?

Mr. Mulwray felt the public should own the water.

Mr. Mulwray?

I thought you said Cross owned it.

Along with Mr. Mulwray.

They were partners? Yes! Yes, they were partners.

Mr. Yelburton will see you now.

Mr. Gittes, sorry to keep you waiting.

These staff meetings, they just go on and on.

Yeah. Must be especially tough to take over under these circumstances.

Yes. Hollis was the best department chief the city's ever had.

My goodness, what happened to your nose?

Cut myself shaving.

Well, you ought to be more careful. That must really smart.

Only when I breathe.

Only when you breathe.

Don't tell me you're still working for Mrs. Mulwray.

I never was. I don't understand.

Neither do I, actually.

You hired me.

Or you hired that chippy to hire me.

Mr. Gittes, you're not making a bit of sense.

Well, let's look at it this way.

Mulwray didn't want to build a dam.

He had a reputation that was hard to get around.

You decided to ruin it.

Then he found out you were dumping water at night.

Then he was...


Mr. Gittes, that's an outrageous accusation.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Well, Whitey Mehrholtz over at the Times will.

Dumping thousands of gallons of water down the toilet in the middle of a drought, that's news.

Mr. Gittes, we're...

We're not anxious for this to get around, but we have been diverting a little water to irrigate orange groves in the Northwest Valley.

As you know, the farmers out there have no legal right to our water, but we've been trying to help some of them out, keep them from going under.

Naturally, when you divert water, there's a little run-off.

Yeah. A little run-off.

Where'd you say those groves were? In the Northwest Valley.

That's like saying they're in Arizona.

Mr. Gittes, my field men are out. I can't give you the exact location.

You're a married man, aren't you? Yes.

Hard-working? Wife? Kids?


I don't want to nail you.

I want to find out who put you up to it.

I'll give you a few days to think about it.

Call me. I can help.

Who knows?

Maybe we can put the whole thing off on a few big-shots, and you can stay the head of the department for the next 20 years.

Drink? No, thank you.

What is your usual salary?

$35 a day, plus 20 to my associates, plus expenses, plus a bonus if I show results.

Whoever is behind my husband's death, why have they gone to all this trouble?


How they plan to make it out of emptying reservoirs, that I don't know.

I'll pay your salary, plus $5,000 if you find out what happened to Hollis, and who is involved.

Sophie, draw up one of our standard contracts for Mrs. Mulwray.

Yes, Mr. Gittes.

Tell me something.

Did you get married before or after Mulwray and your father sold the Water Department?

Noah Cross is your father, isn't he?

Yes, of course.

It was sometime after.

I was just out of grade school when they did that.

Then you married your father's business partner.

You've already got one going, Mrs. Mulwray.

Does my talking about your father upset you?

Why, no.

Yes. A little.

You see, Hollis and my...

My father had a falling-out finally.

Over you or over the Water Department?

Not over me. Why should it be over me?

Then it was over the Water Department.


Hollis felt that the water should belong to the public, and I don't think my father felt that way.

Actually, it was over the Van der Lip Dam.

You know, the dam that broke?

Oh, yeah? Yes. Hollis never forgave him for it.

Never forgave him for what? For talking him into building it.

They never spoke from that time on.

You sure about that?

Of course I'm sure.

Sign here.

The copy's for you.

Mr. Gitts? Gittes.

How do you do?

You've got a nasty reputation, Mr. Gitts. I like that.


If you were a bank president, that would be one thing, but in your business, it's admirable.

And it's good advertising.

It doesn't hurt.

It's why you attracted a client like my daughter.


But I'm surprised you're still working for her, unless she's suddenly come up with another husband.

No. She happens to think the last one was murdered.

How'd she get that idea?

I think I gave it to her.

I hope you don't mind. I believe they should be served with the head.

Fine. Long as you don't serve chicken that way.

Tell me, what do the police say?

They're calling it an accident.

Who's the investigating officer? Lou Escobar. He's a lieutenant.

Do you know him? Oh, yeah.

Where from?

We used to work together. In Chinatown.

Would you call him a capable man?



As far as it goes.

Of course, he has to swim in the same water we all do.

Of course, but you've no reason to think he's bungled the case?

None. That's too bad.

Too bad?

It disturbs me. Makes me think you're taking my daughter for a ride.

Financially speaking, of course.

What are you charging her?

My usual fee, plus a bonus if I get results.

Are you sleeping with her?

Come, come, Mr. Gitts.

You don't have to think about that to remember, do you?

If you want an answer to that question, Mr. Cross, I'll put one of my men on the job.

Good afternoon. Mr. Gitts...

Gittes. Gittes.

You're dealing with a disturbed woman who just lost her husband.

I don't want her taken advantage of.

Sit down. What for?

You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me, you don't.

Why is that funny?

It's what the District Attorney used to tell me in Chinatown.

Yeah? Was he right?

Exactly what do you know about me? Sit down.

Mainly that you're rich, and too respectable to want your name in the newspapers.

Of course I'm respectable. I'm old.

Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

I'll double whatever your fee is and pay you $10,000 if you find Hollis' girlfriend.

Girlfriend? Disappeared, hasn't she?


Wouldn't it be useful to talk to her?


If Mulwray was murdered, she'd be one of the last to have seen him alive.

When's the last time you saw Mulwray?

Sheriff's gold posse. Bunch of damn fools who pay $5,000 apiece towards the Sheriff's re-election.

I let them practice up out here.


Do you remember the last time you saw Mulwray?

At my age, you tend to forget.

It was five days ago outside The Pig'n Whistle, and you had one hell of an argument.

I got the pictures in my office, if that'll help you remember.

What was the argument about? My daughter.

What about her?

Just find the girl, Mr. Gitts.

I happen to know Hollis was fond of her.

I'd like to help her if I can.

I had no idea you and Hollis were that fond of one another.

Hollis Mulwray made this city, and he made me a fortune.

We were a lot closer than Evelyn realized.

If you want to hire me, I still have to know what the argument was about.

My daughter's a very jealous woman.

I didn't want her to find out about the girl.

How did you find out?

I still got a few teeth left in my head, and a few friends in town.



I'll have my secretary draw up the papers.

Tell me, are you frightened for the girl or what Evelyn might do to her?

Just find the girl.

I'll look into it, as soon as I've checked out some orange groves.

Orange groves?

We'll be in touch, Mr. Cross.

I'm a little lost. I wonder if you could tell me where the plat books for the Northwest Valley are?

Part of it's in Ventura County.

We don't have Ventura County in our Hall of Records.

Well, then, I'll settle for Los Angeles County.

Row 23, section C.


Say, sonny,

why do they have all those names pasted in the plat books?

Land sales out of escrow are always recorded within the week.

Then these are all new owners? That's right.

Well, that means that most of the Valley sold in the last few months.

If that's what it says.

Can I check one of these volumes out?

Sir, this is not a lending library. It's the Hall of Records.

How about a ruler? A ruler?

Yeah. The print's real fine. I left my glasses home.

I'd like to be able to read across.

Why, thank you.

Hold it right there!

All right, quit it. Quit, now!

Search the man. See if he's armed.

I said see if he's armed, not empty his pockets!

Search him. Search him!

He ain't armed.

All right, mister, who you with, the Water Department or the Real Estate Office?

Get away from me! Answer him!

You come near me with that thing again, you're gonna need a pair of them!

Why don't you pick on somebody your own size?

I said cut that out! Give the man a chance to say something!

The name's Gittes. I'm a private investigator.

I'm not with either one of them.

Then what you doing out here, mister?

A client hired me to see...

To see if the Water Department was irrigating your land.

Irrigating my land?

The Water Department's been sending you people out here to blow up my water tanks, they put poison down three of my wells.

I call that a funny way to irrigate.

Who'd hire you for a thing like that?

Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray.

Mulwray? That's the son of a bitch who's done it to us.

Mulwray's dead. You don't know what you're talking about, you dumb Okie.

Well, that's that.

What's going on?

You didn't look too good, so we thought we better call your employer.

Thanks for coming.

That dam's a con job. What dam?

The one your husband opposed. They're conning L.A. Into building it.

But the water's not gonna go to L.A., it's coming right here.

To the Valley?

Everything you can see. Everything around us.

I was at the Hall of Records today.

In the last three months, Robert Knox has bought 7,000 acres, Emma Dill, 12,000, Clarence Speer, 5,000, and Jasper Lamar Crabb, 25,000 acres.

Jasper Lamar Crabb? You know him?

I think I would've remembered. Yeah.

They're blowing these farmers out of their land and then picking it up for peanuts.

You have any idea what this land would be worth with a steady water supply?

About $30 million more than they paid for it.

Hollis knew about this? That's why he was killed.

Jasper Lamar Crabb.

We got it! What?

We got it. What? What is it?

"A memorial service was held at the Mar Vista Inn today

"for Jasper Lamar Crabb."

He passed away two weeks ago.

Why is that unusual?

He passed away two weeks ago, and one week ago he bought the land.

That's unusual.

Hello, there. I'm Mr. Palmer. Can I help you folks?

Yes, I hope so.

It's Dad.

I can't seem to handle him anymore.

Can I, sweetheart? My goodness.

Nothing with Dad. It's me.

Oh, no, no, Dad is an absolute angel with everyone else.

It's just that he and my... Oh, I don't know.

Of course, I'm anxious for him to have the best, and money is no object.

Perhaps if we met with your father.

There is one question. Of course.

Do you accept people of the Jewish persuasion?

I'm sorry, but we don't.

Don't be sorry. Neither does Dad.

We just wanted to be sure, didn't we, hon?

Would it be possible for me to see a list of your patients, just to be certain?

We never reveal the names of our guests as a matter of policy.

You would appreciate that if your father came to live with us.

That's exactly what I wanted to hear you say.


I wonder, is it too late for us to have a look around?

No. Allow me to show you.

Would you mind if we took a stroll on our own?

Just if you'll confine yourself to the main building.

It's almost bedtime.

We understand. Come, my sweet.

Charlie! You ought to know better than that!

Sit down. Have a chair.

They're all there. Every goddamn name.

You're looking at the owners of a 50,000-acre empire.

They can't be.

They may not know it, but they are.

Hello, girls. Hello.

Hello. Are any of you Emma Dill?

Yes? Are you Emma? Yes.

Well, I've been wanting to meet you for a long time.


Did you know you were a very wealthy woman?

Oh, I'm not.

Yes, you are. You own a lot of land. No more.

Some time ago, my late husband owned a good deal of beach property at Long Beach, but we lost it.

That's very beautiful. Thanks.

Where did you get this piece of material?

At the Abbacore Club.

Abbacore? No. The Albacore.

It's a fish.

My grandson is a member, and they take very nice care of us.

How do they do that?

Oh, give us things, not just like this old flag, but...

But what?

We're a sort of unofficial charity of theirs, Mr. Gittes.

Would you come with me, please? Someone wants to talk with you.

Goodbye, ladies.

Bye! Bye!

Come on. I want you to meet someone, Gittes.

Can we leave the lady out of this?

Yeah. Why not? I'd like to see her to the car.

She knows where it's at. I'll stay.

Get in the car.

Maid's night off?

Why? What do you mean, why?

Nobody's here, that's why. I gave everyone the night off.

Easy. It's an innocent question.

No question from you is innocent, Mr. Gittes.

I guess you're right.

To you, Mrs. Mulwray.

Frankly, tonight, you saved my...

You saved my neck.

Tell me, Mr. Gittes, does this often happen to you?

What's that?

Well, I'm judging only on the basis of one afternoon and an evening, but if this is how you go about your work, I'd say you'd be lucky to get through a whole day.

Actually, this hasn't happened to me for a long time.

When was the last time?


It's an innocent question.

In Chinatown. What were you doing there?

Working for the District Attorney. Doing what?

As little as possible.

The District Attorney gives his men advice like that?

They do in Chinatown.

Why did you leave the police force?

Do you have any peroxide, or anything like that?

Surely. Will you come this way?

My God!

It's a nasty cut.

I had no idea...



Is it painful?

It must be painful.

What's wrong?

Your eye.

What about it? What?

There's something black in the green part of your eye.

Oh, that.

It's a flaw in the iris.

A flaw? Yes.

A sort of birthmark.

Did you wear a uniform?


Must have looked cute in blue.

Give me a break, will you?

I don't know you.

I want to know more about you.

Not now.

You really don't like to talk about the past, do you?

I'm tired.

No. Why does it bother you to talk about it?

It bothers everybody that works there. Where?

Chinatown. Everybody.

To me, it was just bad luck.


You can't always tell what's going on.

Like with you.

Why was...

Why was it bad luck?

I was trying to keep someone from being hurt.

I ended up making sure that she was hurt.

Was there a woman involved?

Of course.


Yes, hello?

Oh, my God. No, look, don't do anything.

Don't do anything until I get there.

I have to go.

Where? Just that I have to.

I want to know where you're going. No, please. Don't be angry.

It has nothing to do with you or with any of all of this. It's just...

Where are you going? Please...

Trust me this much.

I'll be back.

And there is...

There is something that I should tell you about.

The fishing club that old lady mentioned...

The pieces of the flag... Yes. The Albacore Club.

It has to do with my father. I know.

He owns it... You know?

I saw him.

You saw my father?

What... When? This morning.

You didn't tell me.

Well, there hasn't been much time.


What did he say?

That you were jealous.

And that he was afraid what you might do.

Do? To whom?

Mulwray's girlfriend, for one.

He wanted to know where she was.

I want you to listen to me.

Now, my father is a very dangerous man.

You don't know how dangerous. You don't know how crazy.

Are you trying to tell me that he might be behind all this?

It's possible.

Even the death of your husband?

It's possible.

Now, please, don't ask me any more questions now, just wait. Wait for me here.

I need you here.

No, no. Here.

Give me the keys.


It's either that or you drive yourself to the police.

The police?

Come on, Mrs. Mulwray.

You've got your husband's girlfriend tied up in there.

She's not tied up. You know what I mean.

You're holding her against her will. I am not!

Okay. Then let's go talk to her. No!


She's too upset.

What about?

Hollis's death.

I tried to keep it from her.

I didn't want her to know until I could make plans for us to leave.

You mean she just found out about it?

That's not what it looks like, Mrs. Mulwray.

What does it look like?

Like she knows more than you want her to tell.

You're insane.

Just tell me the truth. I'm not the police.

I don't care what you've done. I don't want to hurt you.

You won't go to the police if I tell you?

I will if you don't.


She's my sister.

Take it easy.

If she's your sister, she's your sister.

Why all the secrecy?

I can't.

Is it because of Hollis? Because she was seeing your husband? Is that it?

I would never have harmed Hollis.

He was the most gentle, decent man imaginable.

And he put up with more from me than you'll ever know.

I wanted him to be happy.

I borrowed your husband's car. I'll bring it back in the morning.

But aren't you going... Coming back with me?

Don't worry. I'm not going to tell anybody about this.

That's not what I meant.


Well, I'm tired, Mrs. Mulwray.

Good night.


Gittes? Yeah?

Ida Sessions wants to see you.

Who? Ida Sessions. You remember Ida.

Yeah, I do? Sure, you do.

I tell you what, pal.

If Ida wants to see me, she can call me at my office.

848-1/2 East Kensington. Echo Park.

She begged me to call. She's waiting for you.

Find anything interesting, Gittes?

What are you doing around here?

Didn't you call me?

How come you happen to know her?

I don't.

Come here. I want to show you something.

Isn't that your phone number? Is it?

I forget. I don't call myself that often.

Well, just to make sure, we had Loach here give you a call.

What happened to your nose, Gittes?

Somebody slam a bedroom window on it?

Nope. Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.

You understand what I mean, pal?


They look familiar?

Yeah. I took them. So what? How did she happen to have them?

Either you tell me or I guess. I don't know the answer.

You must really think I'm stupid, don't you, Gittes?

I don't think about it that much, but give me a day or two and I'll get back to you.

Now I'd like to go home. I want the other pictures, Gittes.

What pictures?

This broad hired you, not Evelyn Mulwray.

Yeah? Yeah.

Somebody wanted to shake Mulwray down, she hired you.

That's how come you found out he was murdered.

I heard it was an accident. Come on, Gittes.

Who the hell do you think you're dealing with, a bunch of assholes?

Mulwray had salt water in his lungs.

You were following him day and night. You saw who killed him.

You even took pictures of it.

It was Evelyn Mulwray, and she's been paying you off like a slot machine ever since.

You accusing me of extortion? Absolutely.

I don't think I need a day or two.

You're dumber than you think I think you are.

Not only that, but I wouldn't extort a nickel from my worst enemy, Escobar.

That's where I draw the line.

I want the rest of the pictures, Gittes.

We're talking about accessory after the fact, conspiracy, and extortion, minimum.

What do you think, Evelyn Mulwray knocked off her husband in the ocean, then dragged him up to a reservoir because she thought it would look more like an accident?

Mulwray was murdered and moved because somebody didn't want his body found in the ocean.

Why is that?

He found out they were dumping water there.

That's what they were trying to cover up.

What the hell are you talking about? Come on. I'll show you.

Come on, Lou. You're in charge. Make a decision.

It's too late. Too late for what?

They only dump the water at night.

Reach anybody? Yelburton. He's the new chief.

Yeah, I know who he is. Go on! He says...

I know what he says. Shut up.

Go on!

Yelburton says there's irrigation in the Valley, and there's always a little run-off after they do that.

And he says Gittes knows this, and he's been going around making irresponsible accusations all last week.

Lou, let's swear out a warrant for her arrest.

What the hell are we waiting for?

He just made lieutenant. Wants to hang on to his little gold bar.

Have your client in my office in two hours.

And remember, I don't have to let you go.

I've got you right now for withholding evidence.


Where's Mrs. Mulwray?

These her bags?

Is she going on a trip?

What are you doing? What's going on here?

Is she going on a vacation? Mrs. Mulwray no home.

"Mrs. Mulwray no home." Well, I'll just have a look around, huh?

Yeah, yeah. Bad for the glass.

Oh, yes. Bad for glass.

Salt water very bad for grass.

Salt water?

Very, very bad. See?

What's that?

Right there.


You wait. You wait.

How are you? I've been calling you.

Yeah? It's all right, Kahn.

Have you slept? Sure.

Have you had lunch? Kahn can fix you something.

Where's the girl? Upstairs. Why?

I want to see her.

She's having a bath right now. Why do you want to see her?

Going someplace?

Yes. We have a 5:30 train to catch.


J.J. Gittes for Lieutenant Escobar.

But... Now look, what's the matter? What's wrong?

I told you, we have a 5:30... You're going to miss your train.

Lieutenant Escobar.

Lou? Yeah.

Meet me at 1972 Canyon Drive.

Yeah. Soon as you can.

Why did you do that?

You know any good criminal lawyers? No.

Don't worry, I can recommend a couple.

They're expensive, but you can afford it.

Will you please tell me what this is all about?

I found these in your backyard in the pond.

They belonged to your husband, didn't they?

Didn't they?

I don't know. Yes, probably. Yes, positively.

It's where he was drowned.


There's no time to be shocked by the truth.

The coroner's report proves that he had salt water in his lungs when he was killed.

Just take my word for it, all right?

Now, I want to know how it happened, and I want to know why, and I want to know before Escobar gets here, because I don't want to lose my license.

I don't know what you are talking about. This is the craziest, most insane thing...

Stop it!

I'm gonna make it easy for you.

You were jealous. You had a fight. He fell. He hit his head.

It was an accident!

But his girl is a witness. So you had to shut her up.

You don't have the guts to harm her, but you got the money to keep her mouth shut.

Yes or no? No!

Who is she? And don't give me that crap about your sister, because you don't have a sister.

I'll tell you...

I'll tell you the truth.

Good. What's her name?

Katherine. Katherine who?

She's my daughter.

I said I want the truth!

She's my sister.

She's my daughter.

My sister, my daughter!

I said I want the truth!

All of it!

She's my sister and my daughter!

Kahn, please, go back.

For God's sake, keep her upstairs. Go back!

My father and I...


Or is it too tough for you?

He raped you?

Then what happened?

I ran away.

To Mexico.

Hollis came and took care of me.

I couldn't see her.

I was 15.

I wanted to, but I...

I couldn't.


Now I want to be with her.

I want to take care of her.

Where are you going to take her now?

Back to Mexico.

Well, you can't take the train. Escobar will be looking for you everywhere.

Well, how about a plane?

No, that's worse.

You better just get out of here. Leave all this stuff here.

Where does Kahn live? Get the exact address.

All right.

Those didn't belong to Hollis.

How do you know?

He didn't wear bifocals.

Katherine, say hello to Mr. Gittes.


He lives at 1712 Alameda. Do you know where that is?


J.J. Gittes and Associates.

Sophie, get me Walsh. Yes, Mr. Gittes.

Jake? Yeah.

Listen, pal, Escobar's going to try and book me in about five minutes.

What? What the hell's the matter? What...

Relax and I'll tell you.

Wait in the office for me about two hours.

If you don't hear from me, you and Duffy meet me at 1712 Alameda.

Jesus. That's in Chinatown, ain't it?

I know where it is. Just do it.

1712 Alameda...

Come on in, Lou.

Looks like we're both too late. She flew the coop.

I don't suppose you have any idea where she went.

As a matter of fact, I do. Where?

Her maid's house. I think she knows something's up.

What's the maid's address?

She lives in Pedro. I'll write it down.

No, no, no, Gittes. You're going to show us.

What for?

Because if she ain't there, you're going downtown, and you're gonna stay there until she does show up.

Gee, Lou, I'm doing the best I can.

Tell us about it on the way to San Pedro.

Let's get the little lady. Lou, can I ask you a favor?

I'd like to bring her out myself.

She's not armed or nothing. She won't be a problem.

I just want a minute alone with her. It would mean a lot to her.

And to me.

You never learn, do you, Jake?

I guess not.

Okay. But...

I'll give you three minutes.

Just three minutes.

Gee, thanks, Lou.



Mr. Gittes! Come in! Well, this is some surprise, Mr. Gittes.

Call me Jake. How you doing, Curly?

Just sitting down for supper. You care to join us?

No, thanks.

How about a glass of wine?

Hey, honey, this is the fellow that... I know.

No, thank you, Curly, very much, but I would like a glass of water, though.

Come on out in the kitchen with me for a second, huh?

Sure thing.

Curly, where's your car? In the garage.

Where's that? Off the alley.

Can you give me a ride somewhere? Sure, soon as we eat.

Right now, Curly. It can't wait.

I'll tell my wife. Tell her later, Curl, huh?

Just drive slow for a block or two, will you, Curly?

What's this all about? I'll tell you in a block or two.

How much do you owe me?

Gee, Mr. Gittes, we're going out tomorrow.

I know you been real good about it, but my cousin Auggie's sick.

Forget it. How would you like to pay me off by taking a couple of passengers to Ensenada?

You'd have to leave tonight. I don't know.

I might be able to squeeze 75 bucks out of it for you.

Maybe even 100.

Plus what I owe? I'll throw that in, too.

1712 Alameda. It's in Chinatown. Wait for me until 8:30.

If I don't show up, take them to your boat.

You sure this is okay?

Curly, you know how long I've been in this business?

Have you got your checkbook handy, Mr. Cross? I've got the girl.

You've got her? Where?

Do you remember the figures we discussed?

Of course I do. Where are you?

At your daughter's house. How soon can you get here?

An hour.

Oh, there you are.

Well, you don't look too much the worse for wear, Mr. Gitts, I must say.

Where's the girl? I've got her.

Is she all right? She's fine.

Well, where is she?

With her mother.

I got something I'd like to show you, Mr. Cross.

What is it?

An obituary column. Can you see all right in this light?

I guess I can manage.

What does it mean?

That you killed Hollis Mulwray.

Right here, in that pond.

You drowned him.

And you left these.

The coroner's report shows Mulwray had salt water in his lungs.

Hollis was always fascinated by tide pools.

You know what he used to say?

I haven't the faintest idea.

"That's where life begins."

Sloughs, tide pools.

When we first come out here, he figured if you dumped water into desert sand and let it percolate down to the bedrock, it would stay there instead of evaporate the way it does in most reservoirs.

You'd only lose 20% instead of 70 or 80. He made this city.

And that's what you were going to do in the Valley.

It's what I am doing.

When the bond issue passes Tuesday, there'll be $8 million to build an aqueduct and a reservoir.

I'm doing it.

Gonna be a lot of irate citizens when they find out that they're paying for water that they're not gonna get.

Oh, that's all taken care of.

See, Mr. Gitts, either you bring the water to L.A., or you bring L.A. To the water.

How are you gonna do that?

By incorporating the Valley into the city. Simple as that.

How much are you worth? I have no idea.

How much do you want?

No, I just want to know what you're worth. Over $10 million?

Oh my, yes. Why are you doing it?

How much better can you eat?

What can you buy that you can't already afford?

The future, Mr. Gitts!

The future!

Now, where's the girl?

I want the only daughter I've got left.

As you found out, Evelyn was lost to me a long time ago.

Who do you blame for that? Her?

I don't blame myself.

See, Mr. Gitts, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of anything.

Claude, take those glasses from him, will you?

It's not worth it, Mr. Gitts.

It's really not worth it.

Where's the girl?

You remember "Night Train" Claude Mulvihill, don't you, boys?

Mr. Cross, these are my associates, Mr. Walsh and Mr...

You're under arrest, Jake.

Good news.

Withholding evidence, extortion, accessory after the fact.

I didn't extort nothing from nobody, Lou.

This is Noah Cross, if you don't know. Evelyn's father, if you don't know.

He's the bird you're after, Lou. I can explain everything.

Lieutenant? Just give me five minutes.

That's all I need.

He's rich! Do you understand? Shut up!

He thinks he can get away with anything!

Shut up or I'm gonna lock you in to the wheel of that car.

Lieutenant, I am rich, I am Noah Cross.

Evelyn Mulwray is my daughter. He's crazy, Lou!

He killed Mulwray because of the water thing!

I'm telling... Water?

Would you just listen to me for five minutes?

Loach, lock him to the wheel of that car.

Lou, you don't know what's going on here. I'm telling you.



I am your grandfather, my dear. Come, miss.

I'm your grandfather. Come, miss.

Katherine, get in the car.

Go on, go on. But, ma'am...

No, no, go back to the Hong Kong. I'll follow. It's all right.

Get away from her. Get away!

Evelyn. Please, please, be reasonable.

Come to my... Get away from her!


How many years have I got?

She's mine, too.

She's never going to know that!

Evelyn, you're a disturbed woman. You cannot hope to provide.

Evelyn, put that gun away! Let the police handle this!

He owns the police!

Get away from her.

You'll have to kill me first. Get away! Get...

Katherine, close the door.


Oh, no!

Better call the captain. Get an ambulance.

No! Turn him loose. Turn them all loose.

Lord. No!


No! No!

No! No! No! No! No! Don't look. Don't look. Don't look.

As little as possible. What's that?

What's that?

You want to do your partner a big favor?

Take him home.

Take him home!

Just get him the hell out of here!

Come on, Jake.

Go home, Jake.

I'm doing you a favor.

Come on, Jake.

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

All right, come on. Clear the area! On the sidewalk!

On the sidewalk!

Get off the street!