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Chinatown (1974) movie script
by Robert Towne.More info about this movie on IMDb.com
Third draft. October 9, 1973.
1 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.
2 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
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.
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.
3 Gittes pours a large shot. He shoves the glass across
his desk toward Curly.
-- 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.
She's just no good.
What can I tell you, Kid?
You're right. When you're
right, you're right, and
-- Ain't worth thinking about.
Gittes leaves the bottle with Curly.
You're absolutely right, I
wouldn't give her another
You know, you're okay, Mr. Gittes.
I know it's your job, but you're
breathing a little
Thanks, Curly. Call me Jake.
Thanks. You know something,
What's that, Curly?
I think I'll kill her.
4 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.
-- I was hoping Mr. Gittes could
see to this personally --
(almost the manner
-- If you'll allow us to complete
our preliminary questioning, by
then he'll be free.
There is the SOUND of ANOTHER MOAN coming from Gittes'
Office -- something made of glass shatters. The Woman
grows more edgy.
5 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.
They don't kill a guy for that.
Oh they don't?
Not for your wife. That's the
6 Gittes pounds the photos on the desk, shouting;
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?
Curly shrinks back a little.
You bet your ass you don't. You
can't even pay me off.
This seems to upset Curly even more.
I'll pay the rest next trip --
we only caught sixty ton of
skipjack around San Benedict.
We hit a chubasco, they don't
pay you for skipjack the way
they do for tuna or albacore --
(easing him out of
Forget it. I only mention it to
illustrate a point...
7 INT. OFFICE RECEPTION
He's now walking him past SOPHIE who pointedly averts her
gaze. He opens the door where on the pebbled glass can
be read: J. J. GITTES and Associates - DISCREET
I don't want your last dime.
He throws an arm around Curly and flashes a dazzling
What kind of guy do you
think I am?
Thanks, Mr. Gittes.
Call me Jake. Careful driving
He shuts the door on him and the smile disappears.
8 He shakes his head, starting to swear under his breath.
-- A Mrs. Mulwray is waiting for
you, with Mr. Walsh and Mr. Duffy.
Gittes nods, walks on in.
9 INT. DUFFY AND WALSH'S OFFICE
Walsh rises when Gittes enters.
Mrs. Mulwray, may I present Mr.
Gittes walks over to her and again flashes a warm,
How do you do, Mrs. Mulwray?
Now, Mrs. Mulwray, what seems to
be the problem?
She holds her breath. The revelation isn't easy for her.
My husband, I believe, is seeing
Gittes looks mildly shocked. He turns for confirmation
to his two partners.
I'm afraid so.
I am sorry.
10 Gittes pulls up a chair sitting next to Mrs. Mulwray --
between Duffy and Walsh. Duffy cracks his gum.
Gittes gives him an irritated glance.
Duffy stops chewing.
Can't we talk about this alone,
I'm afraid not, Mrs. Mulwray.
These men are my operatives and
at some point they're going to
assist me. I can't do everything
Of course not.
Now -- what makes you certain he
is involved with someone?
Mrs. Mulwray hesitates. She seems uncommonly nervous
at the question.
-- a wife can tell.
Mrs. Mulwray, do you love your
... Yes of course.
Then go home and forget about it.
(staring intently at
I'm sure he loves you, too. You
know the expression, let sleeping
dogs lie? You're better off not
(with some real
But I have to know.
Her intensity is genuine. Gittes looks to his two
All right, what's your husband's
Hollis. Hollis Mulwray.
-- Water and Power?
Mrs. Mulwray nods, almost shyly. Gittes is now casually
but carefully checking out the detailing of Mrs.
Mulwray's dress -- her handbag, shoes, etc.
-- he's the Chief Engineer.
(a little eagerly)
-- Chief Engineer?
11 Gittes' glance tells Duffy Gittes wants to do the
questioning. Mrs. Mulwray nods.
This type of investigation can
be hard on your pocketbook, Mrs.
Mulwray. It takes time.
Money doesn't matter to me, Mr.
Very well. We'll see what we
12 EXT. CITY HALL - MORNING
already shimmering with heat.
A drunk blows his nose with his fingers into the fountain
at the foot of the steps.
Gittes, impeccably dressed, passes the drunk on the way
up the stairs.
13 INT. COUNCIL CHAMBERS
Former Mayor SAM BAGBY is speaking. Behind him is a huge
map, with overleafs and bold lettering:
"PROPOSED ALTO VALLEJO DAM AND RESERVOIR"
Some of the councilmen are reading funny papers and
gossip columns while Bagby is speaking.
-- Gentlemen, today you can walk
out that door, turn right, hop on
a streetcar and in twenty-five
minutes end up smack in the Pacific
Ocean. Now you can swim in it, you
can fish in it, you can sail in
it - but you can't drink it, you
can't water your lawns with it,
you can't irrigate an orange grove
with it. Remember -- we live next
door to the ocean but we also live
on the edge of the desert. Los
Angeles is a desert community.
Beneath this building, beneath
every street there's a desert.
Without water the dust will rise
up and cover us as though we'd
14 CLOSE - GITTES
sitting next to some grubby farmers, bored. He yawns --
edges away from one of the dirtier farmers.
The Alto Vallejo can save us from
that, and I respectfully suggest
that eight and a half million
dollars is a fair price to pay to
keep the desert from our streets
-- and not on top of them.
15 AUDIENCE - COUNCIL CHAMBERS
An amalgam of farmers, businessmen, and city employees
have been listening with keen interest. A couple of the
farmers applaud. Somebody shooshes them.
16 COUNCIL COMMITTEE
in a whispered conference.
-- Mayor Bagby... let's hear from
the departments again -- I suppose
we better take Water and Power
first. Mr. Mulwray.
17 REACTION - GITTES
looking up with interest from his racing form.
walks to the huge map with overleafs. He is a slender
man in his sixties, who wears glasses and moves with
surprising fluidity. He turns to a smaller, younger
man, and nods. The man turns the overleaf on the map.
In case you've forgotten, gentlemen,
over five hundred 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 there.
(referring to a new
Now you propose yet another dirt
banked terminus dam with slopes
of two and one half to one, one
hundred twelve feet high and a
twelve thousand acre water surface.
Well, it won't hold. I won't
build it. It's that simple -- I
am not making that kind of mistake
twice. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mulwray leaves the overleaf board and sits down. Suddenly
there are some whoops and hollers from the rear of the
chambers and a red-faced FARMER drives in several
scrawny, bleating sheep. Naturally, they cause
(shouting to farmer)
What in the hell do you think you're
(as the sheep bleat
down the aisles
toward the Council)
Get those goddam things out of here!
Tell me where to take them! You don't
have an answer for that so quick, do
19 Bailiffs and sergeants-at-arms respond to the
imprecations of the Council and attempt to capture
the sheep and the farmers, having to restrain one who
looks like he's going to bodily attack Mulwray.
(through above, to
-- You steal the water from the
valley, ruin the grazing, starve
my livestock -- who's paying you
to do that, .Mr. Mulwray, that's
what I want to know!
22 L.A. RIVERBED - LONG SHOT
It's virtually empty. Sun blazes off it's ugly concrete
banks. Where the banks are earthen, they are parched
and choked with weeds.
After a moment, Mulwray's car pulls INTO VIEW on a flood
control road about fifteen feet above the riverbed.
Mulwray gets out of the car. Me looks around.
23 WITH GITTES
holding a pair of binoculars, downstream and just above
the flood control road -- using some dried mustard weeds
for cover. he watches while Mulwray makes his way
down to the center of the riverbed.
There Mulwray stops, tuns slowly, appears to be looking
at the bottom of the riverbed, or -- at nothing at all.
trains the binoculars on him. Sun glints off Mulwray's
25 BELOW GITTES
There's the SOUND of something like champagne corks
popping. Then a small Mexican boy atop a swayback horse
rides it into the riverbed, and into Gitte's view.
himself stops, stands still when he hears the sound.
Power lines and the sun are overhead, the trickle of
brackish water at his feet.
He moves swiftly downstream in the direction of the
sound, toward Gittes.
moves a little further back as Mulwray rounds the bend
in the river and comes face to face with the Mexican
boy on the muddy banks. Mulwray says something to the boy.
The boy doesn't answer at first. Mulwray points to the
ground. The boy gestures. Mulwray frowns. He kneels
down in the mud and stares at it. He seems to be
concentrating on it.
28 After a moment, he rises, thanks the boy and heads swiftly
back upstream -- scrambling up the bank to his car.
There he reaches through the window and pulls out a roll
of blueprints or something like them - he spreads them
on the hood of his car and begins to scribble some notes,
looking downstream from time to time.
The power lines overhead HUM.
He stops, listens to them -- then rolls up the plans and
gets back in the car. He drives off.
Hurries to get back to his car. He gets in and gets right
back out. The steamy leather burns him. He takes a
towel from the back seat and carefully places it on the
front one. He gets in and takes off.
31 POINT FERMIN PARK - DUSK
Street lights go on.
pulls up, parks. Hurries out of the car, across the park
lawn and into the shade of some trees and buildings.
pulls up, moves across the park at a different angle, but
in the direction Mulwray had gone. He makes it through
the trees in time to see Mulwray scramble adroitly down
the side of the cliff to the beach below. Be seems in
a hurry. Gittes moves after him - having a little more
difficulty negotiating the climb than Mulwray did.
34 DOWN ON THE BEACH
Gittes looks to his right - where the bay is a long,
clear crescent. He looks to his left - there's a
promontory of sorts. It's apparent Mulwray has gone
that way. Gittes hesitates, then moves in that direction
-- but climbs along the promontory in order to be
35 AT THE OUTFALL
Gittes spots Mulwray just below him, kicking at the sand.
Mulwray picks up a starfish. Brushes the sand off it.
Looks absently up toward Gittes.
backs away, sits near the outfall, yawns.
37 BEACON LIGHT AT POINT FERMIN
flashing in the dust.
38 CLOSE - GITTES
sitting, suddenly starts. He swears softly -- he's in
a puddle of water and the seat of his trousers is wet.
below him in watching the water trickling down from
the outfall near Gittes.
Mulwray stands and stares at the water, apparently
fascinated. Even as Gittes watches Mulwray watching, the
volume and velocity seem to increase until it gushes in
spurts, cascading into the sea, whipping it into a foam.
40 AT THE STREET - GITTES' CAR
There's a slip of paper stuck under the windshield wiper.
Gittes pulls it off, gets in the car and turns on the
dash light. It says: "SAVE OUR CITY! LOS ANGELES IS
DYING OF THIRST! PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY! LOS ANGELES
IS YOUR INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE!!! VOTE YES NOVEMBER
6......CITIZENS COMMITTEE TO SAVE OUR CITY, HON. SAM
BAGBY, FORMER MAYOR - CHAIRMAN." Gittes grumbles,
crumples it up and tosses it out the window. He notices
other flyers parked on a couple of cars down the street.
Gittes reaches down and opens his glove compartment.
41 INT. GLOVE COMPARTMENT
consists of a small mountain of Ingersoll pocket watches.
The cheap price tags are still on them. Gittes pulls
He absently winds it, checks the time with his own watch.
It's 9:37 as he walks to .Mulwray's car and places it
behind the front wheel of Mulwray's car. He yawns again
and heads back to his own car.
arrives whistling, opens the door with "J.J. GITTES AND
ASSOCIATES - DISCREET INVESTIGATION" on it.
Sophie hands him a small pile of messages. He goes
He's in the dark room.
43 Gittes walks through his office to Duffy and Walsh's.
A little red light is on in the corner, over a closed
door. Gittes walks over and knocks on the door.
Where'd he go yesterday?
Three reservoirs -- Men's room of
a Richfield gas station on Flower,
and the Pig 'n Whistle.
Jesus Christ, this guy's really
got water on the brain.
What'd you expect? That's his job.
Listen, we can't string this broad
out indefinitely -- we got to come
up with something.
I think I got something.
Oh yeah? You pick up the watch?
44 INT. DUFFY & WALSH'S OFFICE - GITTES
It's on your desk. Say, you hear
the one about the guy who goes to
the North Pole with Admiral Byrd
looking for penguins?
Gittes walks to his office.
45 ON HIS DESK
is the Ingersoll watch, the crystal broken -- the hands
stopped at 2:47.
He was there all night.
Gittes drops it, sits down. Walsh comes in carrying a
series of wet photos stuck with clothes pins onto a small
So what you got?
Walsh shows him the photos. He looks at them. They are
a series outside a restaurant showing Mulwray with
another man whose appearance is striking. In two
of the photos a gnarled cane is visible.
They got into a terrific argument
outside the Pig 'n Whistle.
I don't know -- the traffic was
pretty loud. I only heard one
thing -- apple core.
46 INT. GITTES' OFFICE
Gittes tosses down the photos in disgust.
Jesus Christ, Walsh -- that's what
you spent your day doing?
Look, you tell me to take pictures,
I take pictures.
Let me explain something to you,
Walsh -- this business requires
a certain finesse --
The PHONE has been RINGING. Sophie buzzes him.
(he picks up the phone)
Duffy, where are you?
Duffy's VOICE can be HEARD, excitedly -- "I got it. I
got it. He's found himself some cute little twist -
in a rowboat, in Echo Park."
Okay, slow down -- Echo Park --
Jesus, water again.
47 WESTLAKE PARK (McARTHUR PARK)
Duffy is rowing, Gittes seated in the stern.
They pass Mulwray and a slender blonde girl in a summer
print dress, drifting in their rowboat, Mulwray fondly
doting on the girl.
(to Duffy, as they
Let's have a big smile, pal.
He shoots past Duffy, expertly running off a couple of
fast shots. Mulwray and the girl seem blissfully
unaware of them.
turns again and they row past Mulwray and the girl,
Gittes again clicking off several fast shots.
49 CLOSE SHOT - SIGN:
"EL MACANDO APARTMENTS"
MOVE ALONG the red tiled roof and down to a lower level
of the roof where Gittes' feet are hooked over the apex
of the roof and Gittes himself is stretched face downward
on the tiles, pointing himself and his camera to a
veranda below him where the girl and Mulwray are eating.
Gittes is clicking off more shots when the tiles his
feet are hooked over come loose.
Gittes begins a slow slide down the tile to the edge of
the roof -- and possibly over it to a three-story drop.
He tries to slow himself down. The loose tile also
begins to slide.
Gittes stops himself at the roof's edge by the storm
drain and begins a very precarious turn - this time
hooking his feet in the drain itself. The loose tile
falls and hits the veranda below. He stops as it's about
to slide over the edge. He carefully lays it in the
drain. But a fragment off the cracked edge of the tile
50 WITH MULWRAY AND THE GIRL
Mulwray staring at the fragment at his feet. He looks
to the girl. He's clearly concerned. He rises, looks up
to the roof.
51 FROM HIS POV
The roof and the sign topping it betray nothing. He
slowly sits back down, staring at the tile fragment.
52 CLOSE SHOT - NEWSPAPER
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER BLOWS FUSE OVER CHIEF'S
USE OF FUNDS FOR EL MACANDO LOVE NEST.
In the style of the Hearst yellow press, there is a
heart-shaped drawing around one of the photos that
Gittes had taken. Next to it is a smaller column,
"J.J. Gittes hired by suspicious spouse."
53 INT. BARBERSHOP - GITTES
holds the paper and reads while getting his haircut and
his shoes shined. In fact, almost all the customers
are reading papers.
-- when you get so much publicity,
after a while you must get blasť
A self-satisfied smile comes to Gittes' face.
Face it. You're practically
a movie star.
In b.g., customers can be 0VERHEARD talking about the
drought. Interspersed with above, someone is saying,
"They're gonna start rationing water unless it rains."
Someone else says, "Only for washing your cars." Third
says, "You're not going to be able to water your lawn
either, or take a bath more than once a week." First
says, "If you don't have a lawn or a car, do you get an
54 Gittes has been staring outside the barbershop. A car
is stalled. The hood is up. A man watches his
radiator boiling over.
Look at that.
(end of conversation)
Fools names and fools faces...
55 Gittes has heard the word. He straightens up.
(smiling; to Other
What's that, pal?
Nothing -- you got a hell of a
way to make a living.
-- Oh? What do. you do to make
Mortgage Department, First National Bank.
Tell me, how many people a week
do you foreclose on?
We don't publish a record in the
paper, I can tell you that.
Neither do I.
No, you have a press agent do it.
Gittes gets out of the chair. Barney, a little concerned,
tries to restrain him, holding onto the barber sheet
around Gittes' neck.
Barney, who is this bimbo? He a
Take it easy, Jake.
Look, pal -- I make an honest
living. People don't come to
me unless they're miserable and
I help 'em out of a bad situation.
I don't kick them out of their
homes like you jerks who work in
Jake, for Christ's sake.
56 Gittes is trying to take off his sheet.
C'mon, get out of the barber chair.
We'll go outside and talk this
The Customer is shrinking back into the chair.
Hey, c'mon, Jake. Sit down. Sit
down -- you hear about the fella
goes to his friend and says,
'What'll I do, I'm tired of
screwing my-wife?' and his
friend says, 'Whyn't you do
what the Chinese do?'
Gittes allows himself to be tugged back to his chair.
I don't know how that got in the
paper as a matter of fact - it
surprised me it was so quick.
I make an honest living.
'Course you do, Jake.
An honest living.
So anyway, he says, 'whyn't you
do what the Chinese do?'
57 INT. GITTES' OFFICE
Gittes comes bursting in, slapping a newspapers on his
Duffy, Walsh --
Walsh comes out of his office, Duffy out of the other
Sophie -- go to the little girl's
room for a minute.
But, Mr. Gittes --
Yes, Mr. Gittes.
She gets up and leaves.
-- so there's this fella who's
tired of screwing his wife --
Jake, listen -
Shut up, Duffy, you're always in
a hurry - and his friend says why
not do what-the Chinese do? So he
says what do they do? His friend
says the Chinese they screw for a
while -- just listen a second,
A stunning YOUNG WOMAN appears behind Gittes in his
doorway. She's shortly joined by a small, GRAY-HAIRED
MAN. They listen, unseen by Gittes.
-- and then they stop and they
read a little Confucius and they
screw some more and they stop and
they smoke some opium and then
they go back and screw some more
and they stop again and they
contemplate the moon or something
and it makes it more exciting.
So this other guy goes home to
screw his wife and after a while
he stops and gets up and goes into
the other room only he reads Life
Magazine and he goes back and he
screws some more and suddenly says
excuse me a second and he gets up
and smokes a cigarette and he goes
back and by this time his wife is
getting sore as hell. So he screws
some more and then he gets up to look
at the moon and his wife says, 'What
the hell do you think you're doing?
(Gittes breaks up)
... you're screwing like a Chinaman.'
58 Gittes hangs onto Sophie's desk laughing his ass off.
The little Gray-Haired Man winces. When Gittes looks
up he sees the Young Woman, apparently in her late
twenties. She's so stunning that Gittes nearly gasps.
Do you know me?
-- well -- I think I -- I
Have we ever met?
That's what I thought. You see,
I'm Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray -- you
know, Mr. Mulwray's wife.
59 Gittes is staggered. He glances down at the newspaper.
Not that Mulwray?
Yes, that Mulwray, Mr. Gittes. And
since you agree with me we've never
met, you must also agree that I
haven't 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...
She's walked past him toward the door. He stop her.
-- there's some misunderstanding
here. It's not going to do any
good to get tough with me --
Evelyn flashes a cold smile.
I don't get tough with anybody,
Mr. Gittes. My lawyer does.
Evelyn starts out the door and Gittes starts after her.
This time he's stopped by the Gray-Haired Man who has
also come out of his office and up behind him.
Here's something for you, Mr.
Gittes turns to be handed a thick sheaf of papers, a
summons and complaint. Evelyn walks out the door.
I suppose we'll be hearing from
Gittes stares down at the papers in his hand.
60 INT. GITTES' INNER OFFICE - GITTES, DUFFY & WALSH
On Gittes' desk. there are empty coffee cups, the summons
and complaint -- and the newspaper Gittes had brought
with him from the barber shop.
The three men are sitting, worn and silent. Walsh
chewing gum is the loudest noise in the room.
Gittes looks to Walsh with obvious irritation. Walsh
Duffy puts out a cigarette in the dregs of one of the
There's seven ashtrays in this
That's a filthy habit.
I said okay,. Jake.
Yeah, yeah -- if she'd come in
here saying she was Shirley Temple
you'd say okay to that, too.
Look, Jake -- she gave us Mulwray's
real phone number and address --
All she needed for that was the
No, no -- she said not to call,
her husband might answer.
-- when I find out who that phony
bitch was --
Gittes is staring down at the newspaper. He suddenly
grabs the phone, begins dialing. A tight little smile
breaks out on his face. He buzzes Sophie.
Yes, Mr. Gittes.
Get me the Times -- Whitey
(as he waits)
And how about that snotty broad?
(the phone to his
What does she think, she's perfect?
Coming in waving her lawyers and
her money at me -- so goddam smug.
She's no better than anybody else
in this town --
Whitey, what's new, pal?... Yeah,
listen, where did you get those
photographs... Yeah, blowing a
fuse over the El Macando love
nest -- that's cute, Whitey...
so who sent them to you... I
(Gittes laughs a
Why would I be asking how you got
them if I sent them?... Whitey?...
Whitey?... C'mon, level with me
for once, my tit's in the wringer
and it's beginning to hurt...
yeah... yeah -- yeah.
He hangs up.
So he says you sent them?
(after a moment)
-- they're all a bunch of phonies.
62 INT. DEPARTMENT WATER & POWER - HALL
Gittes stops outside a door marked:
HOLLIS J. MULWRAY
63 He enters an outer office. The SECRETARY looks surprised.
Mr. Mulwray, please.
He's not in, Mr. -
May I ask what this is regarding?
It's personal. Has he been out long?
Gee whiz --
(he glances at his
-- and I'm late.
He was expecting you?
Fifteen minutes ago. Why don't
I go in and wait?
Without waiting for a response, he does. The Secretary
half rises in protest but Gittes is through the inner
64 MULWRAY'S INNER OFFICE
The walls are covered with commendation, photos of
Mulwray at various construction sites, large maps of
watershed areas and reservoirs in the city. On the
desk is a framed, tinted photo of Evelyn in riding
Gittes moves to the desk, watching the translucent pane
in the upper half of the door leading to the outer
office as he does.
He begins to open and close. the desk drawers after
quickly examining the top. He tries one of the drawers
and it doesn't open. He reopens the top drawer, and
the bottom one opens.
He looks in it, pulls out a checkbook. He opens it --
riffles through the stubs like he was shuffling cards.
Drops it -- finds a set of keys, an old phone book, and
a menu from a Water Department lunch at the Biltmore
Hotel in 1913. Then, Gittes hauls out the blueprints
that Mulwray had laid across the hood of his car --
they read in bold type: WATERSHED AND DRAINAGE SYSTEM
FOR THE LOS ANGELES BASIN.
He flips through them -- reads one notation in Mulwray's
neat hand: "Tues. night. Oak Pass Res. - 7 channels
Gittes spots a shadow looming in front of the translucent
pane. He quickly tosses item after item back, kneeing
the drawer -- nearly knocking a spare pair of Mulwray's
glasses off the desk top when he does. He catches them,
puts them on the desk and is pacing the room as the
65 RUSS YELBURTON
enters the room. An anxious Secretary is right behind
Can I help you?
(extending his hand)
Russ Yelburton, Deputy Chief in
J.J. Gittes -- and it's not a
I wonder if you'd care to wait
in my office?
This is more a request than an invitation. Gittes nods,
follows Yelburton out, through the outer office to his
offices down the hall.
You see -- this whole business
in the paper with Mr. Mulwray
has us all on edge --
66 INT. YELBURTON OFFICE
Smaller than Mulwray's, he has most noticeably a
lacquered marlin mounted on the wall. There are a couple
of other pictures of Yelburton with yellowtail and other
fish he's standing beside.
There's also a small burgee of a fish with the initials
A.C. below it, tacked onto the wall.
After all, you work with a man
for a certain length of time,
you come to know him, his habits,
his values, and so forth -- well
either he's the kind who chases
after women or he isn't.
And Mulwray isn't?
He never even kids about it.
Maybe he takes it very seriously.
67 Gittes winks. Yelburton chuckles appreciatively,
loosening up a little.
You don't happen to know where
Mr. Mulwray's having lunch?
I'm sorry, I --
Well, tell him I'll be back.
Gittes spots a card tray on Yelburton's desk.
-- Mind if I take one of your
cards? In case I want to get
in touch with you again.
68 Gittes fishes a couple off the tray, puts them in his
handkerchief pocket. He goes out the door, nearly running
into a man who is standing by the Secretary's desk -
about GITTES' age only a head taller and a foot wider,
dressed in a plain suit that fits him about as well as
a brown paper bag.
Mulvihlll, what are you doing
69 OUTER OFFICE - YELBURTON, MULVIHILL AND GITTES
MULVIHILL stares at Gittes with unblinking eyes, remains
by the desk.
They shut my water off, what's
it to you?
How'd you find out? You don't
drink it, you don't take a bath
in it, maybe they sent you a
letter. Ah, but then you'd have
to be able to read.
Mulvihill moves toward Gittes, shaking with fury.
Yelburton steps between them.
Relax, Mulvihill, glad to see you.
Do you know Claude Mulvihill here?
Hope so. He's working for us.
turns off onto a winding road. It goes up into the
Gittes swerves, missing a dog stretched out lazily in
the road. Gittes honks and yells indignantly at the
72 Gittes stops on a curve. Above a steep bank and partially
hidden is the Mulwray home -- designed and constructed
with shade and curves that are dramatic. When he turns
off the ignition, the distant SOUND of the SURF can be
Gittes heads up to the entrance.
73 EXT. MULWRAY HOUSE - GITTES
rings the bell. He waits.
A powerful CHINESE BUTLER with heavy hair and a half-
jacket of gold on one front tooth, answers the door.
J.J. Gittes to see Mr. Mulwray.
He hands the Chinese Butler a card from his wallet. The
Butler takes it and disappears, leaving Gittes standing
in the doorway.
Gittes stands, and sweats, watching a Japanese GARDENER
trim a hedge. There's a SQUEAKING SOUND. Gittes moves
a few feet off the porch.
74 POV - GARAGE
A chauffeur is washing down a cream-colored Packard with
a chamois. Steam rises off the hood. The squeaking has
obviously come from the chamois.
75 CHINESE BUTLER
Gittes looks behind him. The Chinese Butler is gesturing
for him to follow.
76 THROUGH THE HOUSE - GITTES
follows him, trying to check out the rooms as he goes.
A maid is cleaning in the den. They pass through it out
some French doors along a trellised walkway to a large
pond with running water.
You wait, please.
77 Gittes is left standing by the pond. It's suddenly very
quiet except for the runnning water. The pond is over-
flowing. After a moment, the Gardener comes running back.
He smiles at Gittes, probes into the pond.
There's something gleaming in the bottom of it. Gittes
notes it. After a moment, the Gardener drops the long
probe -- the waters recede.
78 EXT. POND - GITTES AND JAPANESE GARDENER - DAY
Bad for glass.
Yeah sure. Bad for glass.
The Gardener nods, and is off, leaving Gittes staring at
the object in the bottom of the pond that is gleaming.
He looks at the tool the Gardener was using, hesitates,
picks .it up and starts to probe into the pond himself,
toward the gleaming object.
He then spots Evelyn rounding a turn, coming down the
trellised pathway. He casually belts the probe, holds
onto it for poise.
Evelyn is wearing jeans that are lathered white on the
inside of the thighs and laced with brown horsehair.
She's wearing riding boots, is perspiring a little, but
looks younger than she did in the office.
Yes, Mr. Gittes?
Gittes is a little taken aback at seeing Evelyn. He is
annoyed as well. Nevertheless, he is elaborately polite.
Actually, I'm here to see your
husband, Mrs. Mulwray.
He laughs. a little nervously. He waits for a reply.
There is none. The Chinese Butler appears on the veranda.
Would you like something to drink?
What are you having?
Yeah -- fine, thank you.
Chinese Butler nods, disappears
79 EXT. POND AND GARDEN - MULWRAY HOUSE - DAY
Evelyn sits at a glass-topped table. Gittes Joins her.
My husband's at the office.
Actually he's not. And he's moved
from his apartment at the El Macando.
That's not his apartment.
Anyway I -- the point is, Mrs.
Mulwray, I'm not in business to
be loved, but I am in business,
and believe me, whoever set up
your husband, set me up. L.A.'s
a small town, people talk --
He waits for a response. Then:
I'm just trying to make a living,
and I don't want to become a
local Joke -
Mr. Gittes, you've talked me into
it. I'll drop the lawsuit.
I said I'll drop it.
The iced tea comes on a tray which Ramon sets down
-- so let's just -- drop the
whole thing. Sugar? Lemon --
(as she's mixing
one of the drinks)
-- Yes, Mr. Gittes?
I don't want to drop it.
80 Evelyn looks up. Gittes smiles a little sheepishly.
I should talk this over with your
(a little concerned)
Why?... What on earth for?
Look, Hollis seems to think
you're an innocent man.
Well, I've been accused of many
things, Mrs. Mulwray, but never
Again he laughs a little nervously. Again no reaction.
You see, somebody went to a lot
of trouble here, and I want to
find out, lawsuit or no lawsuit.
I'm not the one who's supposed to
be caught with my pants down...
so I'd like to see your husband --
unless that's a problem.
(with a slight edge)
What do you mean?
May I speak frankly, Mrs. Mulwray?
You may if you can, Mr. Gittes.
(determined to be
-- Well, that little girlfriend,
she was attractive -- in a cheap
sort of way of course -- she's
disappeared. Maybe they disappeared
(with rising anger)
Suppose they did. How does it
-- Nothing personal, Mrs. Mulwray,
I just --
It's very personal. It couldn't
be more personal. Is this a
business or an obsession with you?
Look at it this way -- Now this
phony broad, excuse the language,
says she's you, she's hired me.
Whoever put her up to it, didn't
have anything against me. They
were out to get your husband.
Now if I see him, I can help him
did you talk this morning?
81 Evelyn brushes lightly at the horsehair on her Jeans.
-- No. I went riding rather early --
-- Looks Like you went quite a
No, Just riding bareback, that's
all. Anyway, you might try the
Oak Pass or Stone Canyon Reservoirs
-- sometimes at lunch Hollis takes
walks around them -- otherwise he'll
be home by 6:30.
I'll stop by.
Please call first.
82 EXT. OAK PASS RESERVOIR - DAY
Gittes drives up a winding road, following a flood
channel up into the parched hills.
83 TWO FIRE TRUCKS
one a rescue truck, are at the entrance to the reservoir.
The chain link fence with its KEEP OUT sign is open and
there are people milling around. The reservoir is below.
Gittes' car is stopped by a couple of UNIFORMED POLICE.
Sorry, this is closed to the
Gittes hesitates only a moment, then:
(to the Guard)
It's all right -- Russ Yelburton,
Deputy Chief in the Department.
He fishes out one of Yelburton's cards from his
handkerchief pocket -- hands it to the Guard.
Sorry, Mr. Yelburton. Go on down.
84 Gittes drives past the Guards, through the gate, along
the reservoir. He spots a police car and an unmarked
one as well.
Gittes stops and gets out of the car. Several men with
their backs turned, one talking quietly, staring down
into the reservoir where other men in small skiffs are
apparently dredging for something.
One of the men turns and sees Gittes. He recognizes
Gittes and is visibly shocked.
Gittes -- for Chrissakes --
(moving to Gittes,
taking him by the
-- C'mon, get out of here before --
85 EXT. RESERVOIR - DAY
Loach tries to ease him down the path.
Before what? What the hell's
At the sound of his raised voice, a man standing at the
edge of the channel, talking to two boys in swimming
trunks, turns around. He's a tall, sleek Mexican in
his early thirties, LUIS ESC0BAR.
Both Gittes and Escobar register considerable surprise
at seeing one another. The men around them are extremely
Loach is actually sweating. Finally, Escobar smiles.
How are you, Lou?
-- I have a cold I can't seem to
shake but other than that, I'm
Summer colds are the worst.
Yeah, they are.
Gittes reaches into his pocket, pulls out his cigarette
No smoking, sir -- it's a fire
hazard this time of year --
I think we can make an exception
-- I'll see he's careful with the
How'd you get past the guards?
Well, to tell you the truth, I
lied a little.
86 Escobar nods. They walk a couple of steps -- the other
police -- two plainclothesmen and a uniformed officer
You've done well by yourself.
I get by.
Well, sometimes it takes a while
for a man to find himself and I
guess you have.
Poking around in other people's
Yeah. Tell me. You still throw
Chinamen into jail for spitting
on the laundry?
You're behind the times, Jake --
they've got steam irons now --
And I'm out of Chinatown.
Since I made Lieutenant --
It's apparent Gittes is impressed despite himself.
Uh-huh -- so what are you doing
Looking for someone.
Hollis Mulwray. You seen him?
I'd like to talk to him.
You're welcome to try. There he is.
87 Escobar points down to the reservoir -- a couple of men
using poles with hooks are fishing about in the water.
It can be SEEN that one of them has hooked something.
He shouts. The other man hooks it, too. They pull,
revealing the soaking back of a man's coat -- they start
to pull the body into the skiff.
88 INT. CORONER'S OFFICE - EVELYN AND ESCOBAR
are standing over the body of Mulwray. Escobar has the
sheet drawn back. Evelyn nods.
Escobar drops the sheet. Escobar and Evelyn move a
few feet to one side and whisper, almost as though they
were trying to keep the corpse from hearing them.
-- It looks like he was washed
the entire length of the runoff
channel -- could he swim?
-- Obviously the fall must have
knocked him out --
Evelyn nods slightly Escobar coughs. A coroner's
assistant wheels the body out of the office.
-- This alleged affair he was
having -- the publicity didn't
make him morose or unhappy?
89 OUTSIDE THE CORONER'S
Gittes has been sitting on a wooden bench, smoking and
listening. At this question, he rises and looks through
9O Escobar sees him, ignores him. Evelyn doesn't see him.
... Well, it didn't make him
But there is no possibility he
would have taken his own life?
(a little uncomfortably
Mrs. Mulwray, do you happen to know
the name of the young woman in
Evelyn shows a flash of annoyance.
Do you know where she might be?
Escobar and Evelyn move slowly toward the door.
You and your husband never
He... 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?
But I thought you'd hired a
private investigator --
A private investigator?
toward the door)
Well yes --
91 Evelyn looks up to see Gittes standing in the doorway
only a foot or two from her. She stops cold. They look
at one another for a long moment.
(her eyes on Gittes)
But I... I... did that because
I thought it was a nasty rumor I'd
put an end to...
She finishes, looks plaintively at Gittes. Escobar is
right at her back. Gittes says nothing.
-- And when did Mr. Gittes inform
you that these rumors had some
foundation in fact?
Evelyn looks at Escobar but doesn't know how to answer him.
-- Just before the story broke in
the papers, Lou.
92 Escobar nods. They begin to walk slowly, again have to
move out of the way as some other corpse is being wheeled
out of one of the Coroner cubicles.
-- You wouldn't happen to know
the present whereabouts of the
Or her name?
They have walked a few steps further down the hall.
Will you need me for anything
I don't think so, Mrs. Mulwray.
Of course you have my deepest
sympathy -- and -- if we need
anymore information, we'll be
I'll walk her to her car, be
93 ESCOBAR'S POV
Evelyn glances at Gittes. They go through a couple of
outer doors and pass several reporters who have been
in the outer hall, laughing, kidding, the tag end of
lines like "only in L.A." and "Southern Cafeteria."
Gittes hurries her past the reporters who flank them,
asking questions. Gittes brushes them aside.
94 EVELYN AND GITTES - AT HER CAR
in a small parking lot.
Evelyn fumbles in her bag, looking feverishly for some-
thing in her purse.
Mrs. Mulwray?... Mrs. Mulwray.
... Just a minute...
(touching her gently)
-- You left your keys in the ignition.
Oh... thank you.
She glances down, leans against the side of the car.
Thank you for going along with
me. I just didn't want to explain
anything... I'll send you a check.
Evelyn gets in her car.
To make it official, I hired you.
She drives off, leaving Gittes gaping.
95 INT. CORONER'S OFFICE HALLWAY
Don't give me that, Lou. You
hauled me down here for a statement.
I don't want it anymore.
No -- it was an accident.
You mean that's what you're going
to call it.
Escobar looks up.
Out of respect for his civic
What'd he do, Lou, make a pass
at your sister?
No -- he drowned a cousin of mine
with about five hundred other
people. But -- they weren't
very important, Just a bunch of
dumb Mexicans living by a dam.
Now beat it, Gittes, you don't
come out of this smelling like
a rose, you know.
Oh yeah? Can you think of
something to charge me with?
When I do, you'll hear about it.
Gittes nods, turns, and walks down the hall.
96 OUTSIDE MORGUE
Gittes stops by a body on the table, the toe tagged with
Mulwray's name. MORTY is standing near it in a doorway
to an adjoining room. A RADIO is on, and with it the
announcement that they're about to hear another chapter
in the life of Lorenzo Jones and his devoted wife, Belle.
Another Coroner's assistant sits at the table, listening
to the radio and eating a sandwich.
97 Gittes ambles into the room.
(a cigarette dangling
out of his mouth)
Jake, what're you doin' here?
Nothin', Morty, it's my lunch
hour, I thought I'd drop by and
see who died lately.
Gittes picks up the sheet and pulls it back. CAMERA
GETS ITS FIRST GLIMPSE of Mulwray's body -- eyes open,
the face badly cut and bruised.
Yeah? Ain't that something?
Middle of a drought, the water
commissioner drowns -- only in L.A.
(looking at. Mulwray)
-- Yeah -- banged up pretty bad --
-- That's a long fall.
-- So how are you, Morty?
Morty is wheeling in another body with the help of an
-- Never better. You know me, Jake.
As he begins to move the body into the refrigerator, he
breaks into a wrenching spasm of coughing. Gittes spots
the other body, lowers the. sheet on Mulwray.
(picking up on cough)
-- Yeah -- so who you got there?
Morty pulls back the sheet.
Leroy Shuhardt, local drunk --
used to hang around Ferguson's
Morty brushes some sand from the man's face, laughs.
-- Quite a character. Lately he'd
been living in one of the downtown
storm drains -- had a bureau dresser
down there and everything.
98 Gittes has already lost interest. He starts away.
This stops Gittes.
Yeah, got dead drunk, passed out
in the bottom of the riverbed.
The L.A. River?
(a little puzzled)
Yeah, under Hollenbeck Bridge,
what's wrong with that?
Gittes has moved back to the body, looks at it more
It's bone dry, Morty.
It's not completely dry.
Yeah, well he ain't gonna drown
in a damp riverbed either, I don't
care how soused he was. That's
like drowning in a teaspoon.
We got water out of him, Jake.
Gittes walks away mumbling.
Jesus, this town...
99 EXT. SUNSET BOULEVARD - GITTES - DAY
He's parked on an overpass -- the sign HOLLENBECK BRIDGE
on one of its concrete columns. Gittes looks down into
the riverbed below.
100 FROM THE BRIDGE
Gittes can see the muddy remains of a collapsed shack,
its contents strewn down river from the bridge. Below
him, lying half over the storm drain and one wall that
was on the bank of the river is a sign that proclaims
OWN YOUR OWN OFFICE IN THIS BUILDING $5000 to $6000
which was used as a roof of sorts. Downstream, there's
the dresser, an oil drum, a Ford seat cushion, an Armour
lard can, etc. -- the trashy remains of Shuhardt's home.
101 Gittes scrambles down the embankment and as he lands near
the storm drain one shoe sinks, ankle deep into mud.
Gittes pulls it out, swearing.
He begins to walk a little further downstream when he
hears the vaguely familiar SQUISHY CLOP of something.
Clearing the bridge. on the opposite side is the little
Mexican Boy, again on his swayback horse, riding along
the muddy bank.
They look at one another a moment.
(calling out to him)
You were riding here the other
day, weren't you...?
The Boy doesn't answer.
Speak English?... Habla Ingles?
Didn't you talk to a man here
-- few days ago... wore glasses
The Boy nods.
What did you talk about, mind
The shadows of the two are very long now.
What about the water?
-- when it comes.
-- When it comes? What'd you
Comes in different parts of the
river -- every night a different
Gittes nods. The horse snorts. The Boy rides slowly on.
102 EXT. RIVEBED - DUSK
Gittes scrambles up the embankment to note the direction
the storm drain by Hollenbeck Bridge takes. It is headed
above toward the Hollywood Hills, where the sun is
103 EXT. GITTES IN CAR - NIGHTFALL
winding his way up a section of the Hollywood Hills. He
picks up on an open flood channel with the spotlight by
the driver's windwing.
104 GITTES IN CAR- MOVING
along the flood channel. It is dark now and Gittes follows
the channel with the car spotlight. He turns at a fork
in the road which allows him to continue following the
105 FURTHER UP - MOVING
The road is narrower. Gittes drives more slowly. Foliage
is overgrown in the channel so its bottom cannot be
106 STILL FURTHER - NIGHT
The road is dirt. Heavy clusters of oak trees and
eucalyptus are everywhere. It is very still. Another
turn and a pie-shaped view of a lake of lights in the
city below can be GLIMPSED.
107 POV - CHAIN-LINK FENCE
over the road, bolted. It says OAK PASS RESERVOIR.
KEEP OUT. NO TRESPASSING.
The chain-link itself actually extends over the flood
channel and down into it, making access along the
channel itself impossible.
108 Gittes backs up, turns off the motor, the car lights, the
spotlight. A lone light overhead on tension wires is the
sole illumination. There is only the eerie SOUND of the
tension WIRES HUMMING.
Gittes gets out of the car, clubs the fence near the
Flood channel itself.
109 ON THE OTHER SIDE
Gittes carefully works his way up through the thick
Foliage toward a second and large chain-link fence.
Lights from the reservoir still higher above can be SEEN.
Suddenly there is a GUNSHOT. Then ANOTHER. Gittes dives
into the flood control channel, which is at this point
about four feet deep and six feet wide. There is the
SOUND of men scurrying through the brush, coming near
him, then retreating. Gittes loses himself among the
ivy in the channel.
He waits. The men seem to have passed him by. But there
is another SOUND now -- an echoing growing sound. It
puzzles Gittes. He starts to lift his head to catch
110 GITTES IN FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL - NIGHT
Then he's inundated with a rush of water which pours over
him, knocks off his hat, carries him down the channel,
banging into its banks, as he desperately tries to grab
some of the overgrowth to hang on and pull himself out.
But the force of the stream batters him and carries him
with it until he's brought rudely to the chain-link
fence. It stops him cold. He's nearly strained through
Swearing and choking, he pulls himself out of the rushing
water by means of the fence itself.
Drenched, battered, he slowly climbs back over the fence
and makes his way toward his car.
111 AT GITTES' CAR
He fishes for his car keys, looks down -- one shoe is
Goddam Florsheim shoe, goddammit.
He starts to get into his car but Mulvihill and a SMALLER
MAN stop him -- Mulvihill pulling his coat down and
pinning his arms -- holding him tightly. The smaller man
thrusts a switchblade knife about an inch and a half up
Gittes' left nostril.
(shaking with emotion)
Hold it there, kitty cat.
112 CLOSE - GITTES
frozen, the knife in his nostril, the street lamp over-
head gleaming on the silvery blade.
THE SMALLER MAN
You are a very nosey fellow, kitty
cat... you know what happens to
The Smaller Man actually seems to be trembling with rage
when he says this. Gittes doesn't move.
Wanna guess? No? Okay.
lose their noses.
With a quick flick the Smaller Man pulls back on the
blade, laying Gittes' left nostril open about an inch
further. Gittes screams. Blood gushes down onto his shirt
Gittes bends over, instinctively trying to keep the blood
from getting on his clothes. Mulvihill and the Smaller
Man stare at him.
THE SMALLER MAN
Next time you lose the whole thing,
kitty cat. I'll cut it off and
feed it to my goldfish, understand?
Tell him you understand, Gittes.
113 EXT. OAK PASS RESERVOIR - NIGHT
Gittes is now groveling on his hands and knees.
Gittes on the ground can see only his tormentor's two-
tone brown and white wing-tipped shoes -- lightly
freckled with his blood.
114 THE SHOE
comes up and lightly shoves Gittes into the ground.
the SOUND of FOOTSTEPS RETREATING, Gittes gasping.
115 INT. GITTES' OFFICE - GITTES
sits behind his desk, BACK TO CAMERA, not moving. Duffy
sits staring at nothing, Walsh moves uneasily around the
The PHONE is RINGING. Sophie BUZZES.
A Miss Sessions calling.
Don't know her -- take a number.
116 NEW ANGLE - REVEALING
a bandage spread-eagled across Gittes' nose.
So some contractor wants to
build a dam and he makes a
few payoffs. So what?
Gittes turns slowly to Walsh. He lightly taps his nose.
Think you can nail Mulvihill?
They'll claim you were trespassing.
I don't want Mulvihill. I. want the
big boys that are making the payoffs.
Then what'll you do?
Sue the shit out of 'em.
Yeah -- what's wrong with you
guys? Think ahead. We find 'em,
sue 'em -- we'll make a killing.
(a dazzling smile)
We'll have dinner at Chasen's
twice a week, we'll be pissing
on ice the rest of our lives.
Sue people like that they're
liable to be having dinner with
the Judge who's trying the suit.
Gittes looks irritated. The PHONE RINGS again.
Miss Ida Sessions again. She says
you know her.
117 Gittes picks up the phone. He winks to his boys.
Hello, Miss Sessions. I don't
believe we've had the pleasure.
-- Oh yes we have... are you
alone, Mr. Gittes?
(clowning a little
for the boys)
Isn't everybody? What can I do
for you, Miss Sessions?
Walsh promptly starts to tell Duffy the Admiral Byrd
Well, I'm a working girl, Mr.
Gittes -- 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?
ll8 Walsh has finished off the punch line and both men are
laughing raucously. Gittes drops the mail he's been
loafing through and puts his hand over the receiver.
(to Duffy and Walsh)
Shut the fuck up!
(then back to Ida)
... Yes I remember -- nothing,
Miss Sessions, just going over
a detail or two with my associates
... you were saying?
Well 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 I didn't know what would
-- I understand... if you could
tell me who employed you, Miss
Sessions -- that could help us
Oh no --
... Why don't you give me your
address and we can talk this over?
No, Mr. Gittes -- just look in
the obituary column of today's
The obituary column?
You'll find one of those people --
'Those people?' Miss Sessions --
She hangs up. Gittes looks to his two men.
120 INT. BROWN DERBY - CLOSE ON NEWSPAPER
Gittes is seated, flips through the paper until he finds
the OBITUARY COLUMN -- scans it, looks up -- abruptly
tears the column from the paper and puts it in his
When he closes the paper we can SEE headlines in the
left hand column: WATER BOND ISSUE PASSES COUNCIL.
Ten million dollar referendum to go before the public.
Evelyn Mulwray is standing at the table as he does so.
He rises, allows her to sit.
121 CLOSE ON EVELYN
Gittes watches her as she removes her gloves slowly...
She's wearing dove gray gabardine -- subdued, tailored.
Thanks for coming... drink?
The waiter's appeared. Evelyn is looking at Gittes' nose.
Tom Collins -- with lime, not
Evelyn looks down and smoothes her gloves. When she
looks back up she stares expectantly at Gittes.
Gittes pulls out a torn envelope. The initials ECM can
be SEEN in a delicate scroll on the comer of it.
I got your check in the mall.
Yes. As I said, I was very
Gittes' fingers the envelope. He coughs.
Mrs. Mulwray, I'm afraid that's
not good enough.
(a little embarrassed)
Well, how much would you like?
121 CLOSE ON EVELYN
Stop it. The money's fine. It's
generous but you've shortchanged
me on the story.
I think so. Something besides
your husband's death was bothering
you. You were upset but not that
Don't tell me how I feel.
The drinks come. The waiter sets them down.
Sorry. Look, you sue me, your
husband dies, you drop the
lawsuit like a hot potato, and
all of it quicker than 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
-- This can look like you paid
me off to withhold evidence.
But he wasn't killed.
I think you're hiding something,
122 Evelyn remains unperturbed.
-- Well, I suppose I am...
actually I knew about the affair.
How did you find out?
He told you?
-- And you weren't the slightest
bit upset about it?
-- I was grateful.
Evelyn for the first time appears a little embarrassed.
You'll have to explain that,
(a flash of
Look, I do matrimonial work, It's
my metiay. When a wife tells me
she's happy her husband is cheating
on her it runs contrary to my
Gittes looks significantly to Evelyn.
She's cheating on him.
122 Evelyn doesn't reply.
-- Were you?
123 Evelyn is clearly angry but she is controlling it.
I don't like the word 'cheat.'
Did you have affairs?
Mr. Gittes --
Did he know?
(almost an outburst)
Well I wouldn't run home and tell
him whenever I went to bed with
someone, if that's what you mean.
This subdues Gittes a little. Evelyn is still a little
-- Is there anything else you
want to know?
Where you were when your husband
I can't tell you.
You mean you don't know where
I mean I can't tell you.
-- You were seeing someone, too.
124 Evelyn looks squarely at him. She doesn't deny it.
-- 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 to about me. I didn't
want publicity. I didn't want
to go into any of this, then or
now. Is this all?
Oh, by the way. What's the 'C'
He's been fingering the envelope. .
That your maiden name?
Evelyn turns into Gittes.
You must've had a reason to ask
No. I'm just a snoop.
You seem to have had a reason
for every other question.
No, not for that one.
I don't believe you.
Gittes suddenly turns sharply in to Evelyn.
Do me a favor. Sit still and
act like I'm charming.
Evelyn involuntarily draws back.
There's somebody here. Say
something. Anything. Something
like we're being intimate.
125 Evelyn reluctantly allows Gittes to move closer and
dangle his hand in front of their faces. She stares
(meaning his nose)
How did it happen?
Been meaning to talk to you
Maybe putting your nose in other
More like other people putting
their business in my nose.
Evelyn actually smiles a little.
You son of a bitch.
Gittes looks up and flashes his smile.
Mrs. Match. How're you?
Mrs. MATCH is swaying over the table, a plump woman with
a glass of whiskey in one hand, a large purse in the
other, and a menacing look in her eye.
Don't give me that, you son of
Gittes turns back to Evelyn.
Another satisfied client?
Another satisfied client's wife.
Look at me, you son of a bitch.
You... you bastard. Are you
happy, are you happy now?
126 She tries to take a swipe at Gittes with her purse.
Gittes covers himself. Waiters rush over.
-- You smug son of a bitch. My
husband's so upset he sweats all
night! How do you think that makes
Mrs. Match swings at Gittes again and again. She catches
him on the nose. It hurts. He covers it -- then swings
his leg out from under the table and deftly kicks her
in the shin.
Mrs. Match drops her purse and spills her drink. She
grabs her shin, hopping around a little. The waiters
who had tried to restrain her now try to keep her from
Let's get out of here before she
picks up her purse.
They rise and move toward the door.
Tough guy, huh?
Gittes looks, sees she's kidding, and nods.
127 OUTSIDE IN THE PARKING LOT - DUSK
Gittes' car has been .brought by the parking attendant.
The attendant opens the passenger side for Evelyn.
Oh, no. I've got my own car.
The cream-colored Packard.
(to attendant who
for her car)
Wait a minute, sonny.
I think you better come with me.
What for? There's nothing more
Get my car, please.
The attendant starts after it again. Gittes leans on
the open door of his car and in to Evelyn. He talks
quietly but spits it out.
Okay, go home. But in case
you're interested your husband
was murdered. Somebody's dumping
tons of water out of the city
reservoirs when we're supposedly
in the middle of a drought, he
found out, 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 looks like half
the city is trying to cover it all
up, which is fine with me. But,
Mrs. Mulwray --
(now inches from her)
-- I goddam near lost my nose!
And I like it. I like breathing
through it. And I still think
you're hiding something.
Evelyn steadies herself on the open car door. She stares
at Gittes for a long moment. Then he gently tugs the
car door closed.
Mr. Gittes --
He drives off into the Wilshire traffic, leaving Evelyn
looking after him.
128 INT.. DWP - MULWRAY'S OFFICE DOOR
with its lettering:
HOLLIS I. MULWRAY
Gittes goes through the door to the Secretary. She looks
up. She recognizes Gittes again and is not happy to see
J.J. Gittes to see Mr. Yelburton.
The Secretary immediately gets up and goes into the inner
Gittes turns and strolls around the office a moment --
he sees a photographic display of THE HISTORY OF THE DWP
- THE EARLY YEARS, along the wall. He stops as he spots
a photo of the man with the cane Gittes had seen photos
of earlier -- He is standing high in the mountains, near
a pass. The caption reads JULIAN CROSS - 1905. Cross
is strikingly handsome.
Gittes immediately pulls out the envelope containing
Evelyn's check. He looks at the corner of it, his
thumb pressing down under the middle initial C, then
he looks back to the photos --
The Secretary returns.
Mr. Yelburton will be busy for
Well I'm on my lunch hour. I'll
He's liable to be tied up
I take a long lunch. All day
Gittes pulls out a cigarette case, offers the Secretary
one. She refuses, He lights up and begins to hum 'The
Way You Look Tonight,' strolling along the wall looking
at more photographs.
129 INT. MULWRAY'S OFFICES
Here he spots several photos of a much younger Mulwray,
along with Julian Cross. One of the captions: HOLLIS
MULWRAY AND JULIAN CROSS AS THE AQUEDUCT CLEARS THE
SANTA SUSANNAH PASS - 1912. Gittes, still humming,
turns to the Secretary.
Julian Cross worked for the water
He did or he didn't?
He owned it.
Gittes is genuinely surprised. at this.
He owned the water department?
He owned the entire water supply
for the city?
How did they get it away from him?
(a sigh, then)
Mr. Mulwray felt the public should
own the display -- the water. If
you'll just read the display --
(glances back, hums,
Mulwray? I thought you said
Cross owned the department.
-- Along with Mr. Mulwray.
They were partners.
Yes. Yes, they were partners.
She gets up, annoyed, and goes into Yelburton's inner
Gittes goes back to the photographs. He hears a
SCRATCHING SOUND, apparently coming from just outside the
He moves quickly to it, hesitates -- swiftly opens the
door. workmen are behind it, scraping away Mulwray's
name on the outer door -- looking up at Gittes in some
The Secretary returns, sees the workman on the floor.
Mr. Yelburton will see you now.
Gittes nods graciously, heads on into Yelburton's office.
130 INT. DWP - YELBURTON & GITTES
There is a subtle but perceptible difference in
Yelburton's attitude. He's now head of the department.
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
Oh yes. Hollis was the best
department head the city's ever
had. My goodness, what happened
to your nose?
I cut myself shaving.
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
I never was.
I don't understand.
Neither do I, actually. But you
hired me -- or you hired that chippie
to hire me.
Mr. Gittes, you're not making a
bit of sense.
Well, look at it this way, Mr.
Yelburton. Mulwray didn't want
to build a dam -- and he had a
reputation that was hard to get
around, so. you decided to ruin it.
Then he found out that you were
dumping water every night -- then
he -- was drowned.
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
131 Gittes heads toward the door.
Wait -- please sit down, Mr. Gittes.
We're... well, we're not anxious
for this to get around, but we have
been diverting a little water
to irrigate avocado and walnut
groves in the northwest
valley. As you know, the farmers
there have no legal right to our
water, and since the drought we've
had to cut them off -- the city
comes first, naturally. But,
well, we've been trying to help
some of them out, keep them from
going under. Naturally when you
divert water -- you get a little
Yeah, a little runoff. Where are
I said, the northwest valley.
That's like saying they're in
Mr. Gittes, my field men are out
and I can't give you an exact
You're a married man, am I right?
Hard working, have a wife and kids...
I don't want to nail you -- I
Just want to know who put you up
to it. I'll give you a few days
to think it over --
(hands him a card)
-- call me. I can help. Who knows?
Maybe we can lay the whole thing off
on a few big shots -- and you can
stay head of the department for
the next twenty years.
Gittes smiles -- leaves an unsmiling Yelburton.
132 INT. GITTES OFFICE
Gittes enters, drops his hat on Sophie's desk. Sophie
tries to tell him something but Gittes goes on into his
133 EVELYN MULWRAY
is sitting, smoking. She looks up when he enters.
What's your usual salary?
Gittes moves to his desk, barely breaking stride at the
sight of her.
Thirty-five bucks daily for me,
twenty for each of my operators --
plus expenses, plus my fee if I
He's sitting now. Evelyn is very pale now, obviously
Whoever's behind my husband's
death, why have they gone to all
-- Money. How they plan to make
it by emptying the reservoirs --
that I don't know.
I'll pay your salary plus five
thousand dollars if you find out
what happened to Hollis and who
Gittes buzzes Sophie.
Sophie, draw up one of our
standard forms for Mrs. Mulwray.
(he leans back; to
Tell me, did you get married
before or after Mulwray and your
father sold the water department?
Evelyn nearly jumps at the question.
Your father is Julian Cross, isn't
Yes, of course -- it was quite a
while after. I was just out of
grade school when they did that.
-- so you married your father's
Evelyn nods. She lights another cigarette.
at her, points to
You've got one going, Mrs. Mulwray.
134 She quickly stubs one out.
Is there something upsetting about
my asking about your father?
No!... yes, a little. You see
Hollis and my fa -- my father had
a falling out...
Over the water department -- or
Not over me. Why would they have
a falling out over me?
-- Then it was over the water
Not exactly. Well, I mean, yes.
Yes and no. Hollis felt the public
should own the water but I don't
think -- my father felt that way.
Actually, it was over the Van der
Lip. The dam that broke.
-- Oh, yeah?
Yes. He never forgave him for it.
Never forgave him for what?
For talking him into building it,
he never forgave my father... They
haven't spoken to this day.
(starts a little)
You sure shout that?
Of course I'm sure.
What about you -- do you and your
father get along?
135 Sophie comes in with the form, cutting off Evelyn's
reply. Gittes places two copies on a coffee table in
front of Evelyn.
Sign here... The other copy's for
She signs it. When she looks back up, Gittes is staring
intently at her.
What are you thinking?
(picking up one of
copies, folding it,
putting it in his
Before this -- I turned on the
faucet, it came out hot and cold,
I didn't think there was a thing
136 INT. SEAPLANE
The engines make the small cabin vibrate. Gittes threads
his way down the tiny aisle of the eight passenger cabin,
which is full of middle-aged men in old clothes and
their fishing gear. Gittes is poked by a pole -- has to
One of the old men says something to him.
(above the engines)
You'll have to sit with the pilot.
Gittes moves forward into the cockpit, the PILOT looks
up -- nods for Gittes to sit down, first moving a half-
eaten cheese sandwich out of Gittes' seat.
137 EXT. HARBOR- SEAPLANE
taxiing down the ramp into the sea. In a moment, it
kicks up a spray of foam and takes off.
138 INT. COCKPIT
The island gradually looming larger before the Pilot and
The Pilot glances over at Gittes -- who, as usual, is
impeccably dressed -- a contrast to the others on the
(above the engines)
Well, you're not going fishing.
Gittes shakes his head.
But that's what you told your
The Pilot laughs raucously. Gittes laughs politely.
-- lots of fellas do. Tell the
little woman they're going on a
fishing trip, then shack up with
some little twist on the island
... she pretty?
I'm going to see a man called
Julian Cross -- ever heard of him?
Is the Pope Catholic? Who are
you, mister?... I ask because he
doesn't see a whole lot of people.
I'm working for his daughter.
That right?... She used to be
She ain't exactly long in the
She must be about thirty-three,
You must be thinking of a different
No, he's only got one, I remember
her age, I read it in the newspapers
when she ran away.
She ran away?
Oh yeah, it was a big thing at
the time -- Julian Cross' daughter.
God almighty. She was a wild
139 He gives a sidelong glance to Gittes, a little concerned
he's said too much.
Course, she settled down nicely.
(smiling a little)
Well, you never know, do you?
That's for sure.
Why'd she run away?
Oh, you know -- she was sixteen
We missed the best of it, didn't
Both men laugh a little lewdly.
She ran off to Mexico -- rumor was
she was knocked up and didn't even
know who the father was -- went
there to get rid of it.
You don't say?
Cross was looking for her all
over the country -- offered rewards,
everything. Felt real sorry for
him, with all his money.
140 ALBACORE CLUB - DAY
A pleasant but unobtrusive clapboard blue and white
building on the bay overlooking the harbor. The sea-
plane lands. A motor launch with a burgee of a fish
flying from it turns and heads in the direction of the
141 EXT. WINDING ROAD - RANCHO DEL CRUCE
Gittes, driven in a station wagon, passes under the sign
with a cross painted below the name.
The ranch itself is only partially in a valley on the
island -- as the wagon continues one can SEE that it is
actually a miniature California, encompassing desert,
mountains and canyon that tumble down palisades to the
windward side of the sea.
The wagon comes to a halt where a group of hands are
clustered around a corral. The circle of men drift
apart, leaving JULIAN CROSS standing, using a cane for
support, reedy but handsome in a rough linen shirt and
jeans. When he talks his strong face is lively, in repose
it looks ravaged.
142 EXT. BRIDLE PATH - GITTES & CROSS
walking toward the main house -- a classic Monterey. A
horse led on a halter by another ranch hand slows down
and defecates in the center of the path they are taking.
Gittes doesn't notice.
Gittes pauses, not certain he has heard correctly.
I said horseshit.
Yes, sir, that's what it looks
like -- I'll give you that.
143 Cross pauses when they reach the dung pile. He removes
his hat and waves it, inhales deeply.
Love the smell of it. A lot of
people do but of course they
won't admit it. Look at the
Gittes glances down out of politeness.
Always the same.
Cross walks on. Gittes follows.
(not one to let it
What? Oh, damn near -- yes.
Unless the animal's sick or
(stops and glances.
-- And the steam rising off it
like that in the morning -- that's
life, Mr. Gittes. Life.
They move on.
Perhaps this preoccupation with
horseshit may seem a little
perverse, but I ask you to
remember this -- one way or
another, it's what I've dealt
in all my life. Let's have
144 EXT. COURTYARD VERANDA - GITTES & CROSS AT BREAKFAST
Below them is a corral where hands take Arabians, one by
one, and work them out, letting them run and literally
kick up their heels. Cross' attention is diverted by
the animals from time to time. An impeccable Mexican
butler serves them their main course, broiled fish.
You know, you've got a nasty
reputation, Mr. Gittes. I like
-- 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 attract a client
like my daughter.
But I'm surprised you're still
working for her -- unless she's
suddenly come up with another
No -- she happens to think the
last one was murdered.
Cross is visibly surprised.
How did she get that idea?
I think I gave it to her.
Uh-huh -- oh I hope you don't
mind. I believe they should be
served with the head.
145 Gittes glances down at the fish whose isinglass eye
is glazed over with the heat of cooking.
-- Fine, as long as you don't
serve chicken that way.
Tell me -- what do the police
They're calling it an accident.
Who's the investigating officer?
Lou Escobar -- he's a Lieutenant.
Do you know him?
-- We worked Chinatown together,
Would you call him a capable man?
-- Far as it goes -- of course
he has to swim in the same water
we all do.
Of course -- but you've got no
reason to think he's bungled
That's too bad.
It disturbs me, Mr. Gittes. It
makes me think you're taking my
daughter for a ride -- financially
speaking, of course. How much are
you charging her?
My usual fee -- plus a bonus
if I come up with any results.
Are you sleeping with her? Come,
come, Mr. Gittes -- you don't have
to think about that to remember,
If you want an answer to that
question I can always put one
of my men on the job. Good
afternoon, Mr. Cross.
Mr. Gittes! You're dealing with
a disturbed woman who's lost her
husband. I don't want her taken
advantage of. Sit down.
-- You may think you know what
you're dealing with -- but
believe me, you don't.
146 This stops Gittes. He seems faintly mused by it.
Why is that funny?
It's what the D.A. used to tell
me about Chinatown.
Was he right?
... Exactly what do you know
about me, Mr. Gittes?
Mainly that you're rich and too
respectable to want your name in
'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 fees are -- and I'll
pay you ten thousand dollars if
you can find Hollis' girlfriend.
Yes, his girlfriend.
You mean the little chippie he
was with at the El Macando?
Yes. She's disappeared, hasn't
Doesn't that strike you as odd?
No. She's probably. scared to
Wouldn't it be useful to talk to
If Mulwray was murdered, she was
probably one of the last people
to see him.
You didn't see Mulwray much, did
-- No --
-- When was the last time?
147 Cross starts to reply, then there's the SOUND of a
MARIACHI BAND and some men in formation clear a bluff
about a hundred yards off. They are dressed like
Spanish dons on horseback. For the most part they are
fat in the saddle and pass along in disordered review
to the music..
Sheriff's gold posse... bunch of
damn fools who pay $5,000 apiece
to the sheriff's re-election. I
let 'em practice up out here.
-- Yeah. Do you remember the
last time you talked to Mulwray?
Cross shakes his head.
-- At my age, you tend to lose
Well, It was about five days ago.
You were outside the Pig 'n Whistle
-- and you had one hell of an
Cross looks to Gittes in some real surprise.
I've got the photographs in my
office -- if they'll help you
remember. What was the argument
(a long pause, then:)
What about her?
-- Just find the girl, Mr. Gittes
I think she is frightened and I
happen to know Hollis was fond of
her. I'd like to help her if I
I didn't realize you and Hollis
were so fond of each other.
148 Cross looks hatefully at Gittes.
Hollis Mulwray made this city --
and he made me a fortune... We
were a lot closer than Evelyn
-- If you want to hire me, I
still have to know what you and
Mulwray were arguing about.
Well... she's an extremely jealous
person. I didn't want her to find
out about the girl.
How did you find out?
I've still got a few teeth in my
head, Mr. Gittes -- and a few
friends in town.
Okay -- my secretary'll send you
a letter of agreement. Tell me
-- are you worried about that girl,
or what Evelyn might do to her?
Just find the girl.
-- I'll look into it -- as soon
as I check out some avocado groves.
We'll be in touch, Mr. Cross.
149 INT. HALL OF RECORDS - DAY
Dark and quiet except for the whirring of fans. Gittes
approaches one of the CLERKS at a desk.
I'm a little lost -- where can I
find the plat books for the
The Clerk's droopy eyes widen a little.
Part of it's in Ventura County.
We don't have Ventura County in
our Hall of Records.
Which is a snotty remark. Gittes smiles.
I'll settle for L.A. County.
(regards him, then)
Row twenty-three, section C.
The Clerk turns away abruptly. Gittes regards his back
a moment, then goes to the stacks.
150 THROUGH THE STACKS
Gittes sees the Clerk turn to another, say something.
The second clerk gets on the phone. Gittes watches a
moment, then swiftly turns his attention to the stacks.
He hauls down the northwest valley volume, opens it.
It's huge and there's a lot to go through.
The print itself makes him squint.
showing TRACT, LOT, PARCEL, even a METES AND BOUNDS
designation where the description of the land parcel is
long and hopelessly involved -- e.g. '6000 paces to Rio
Seco, thence 7000 paces to Loma Linda, etc.' These
Descriptions are old and faded -- in the owners' column,
however -- there are numerous freshly-typed names -
pasted over the prior owners.
Hauls the huge volume back to the Clerk's desk.
Say... uh... sonny.
152 The Clerk turns sharply around.
How come all these new names are
pasted into the plat book?
Land sales out of escrow are
always recorded within the week.
Gittes looks a little surprised.
Then these are all new owners?
-- That's right.
-- But that means that most of
the valley's been sold in the
last few months.
If that's what it says.
Can I check one of these volumes
Sir, this is not a lending library,
it's the Hall of Records.
Well, then -- how about a ruler?
The print's pretty fine. I forgot
my glasses. I'd like to be able
to read across.
The exasperated Clerk reaches around -- rummages -- slaps
a ruler on the desk.
Gittes goes back to the stacks with the ruler. He opens
the book, places the ruler not horizontally but
154 INSERT PLAT BOOK NORTHWEST VALLEY
Beside the OWNER column he places the ruler, looks toward
the clerks -- then swiftly rips down the page, tearing
out a strip about two inches wide -- containing the
owner's name and property description.
As he tears, he either sniffles or coughs -- to cover
the SOUND of the PAPER being ripped.
155 EXT. ROAD - GITTES DRIVING - DAY
amidst a hall of shimmering dust and heat, parched and
drying groves, narrower roads.
He passes a ramshackle home, next to a rotting orchard.
There is a "SOLD" sign on the collapsing barn. Gittes
stops -- checks it against the names he had taken from
the Hall of Records.
156 OLD STUCCO BUILDINGS FURTHER ON.
and a few withered pepper trees. Gittes has paused at
this dried-up intersection. There is a "SOLD" sign on a
drug store. Gittes looks O.S.
Coming INTO VIEW above the arid fields is a spiraling
cloud of purple smoke. Gittes heads in that direction.
158 Gittes parks at the edge of the field. About twenty
yards away is a man mounted on a strange machine, holding
a lid off it -- billowing lavender clouds are belching
Several CHILDREN are watching the man at work.
(to one of the Children)
Say, pal, what's he doing?
Making some rain.
Gittes nods, walks over to the man who is elaborately
busying himself with the intricacies of his machine.
He's aware of Gittes watching him.
Well, you're just the man I'm
The Rainmaker now glances down at Gittes, who as usual
is immaculately dressed.
Some associates and I are thinking
of buying property out here -- of
course, we're worried about the
The Rainmaker steps down.
No problem with me on the Job.
at the desolate,
Do you have any references?
159 RAINMAKER & GITTES
City of La Habra Heights -- filled
an 800,000 gallon reservoir with
sixteen inches of rain in two
That's swell. But how about
(pulling out names
from his pocket)
Ever worked for Robert Knox, Emma
Dill, Clarence Speer, Marian
Parsons, or Jasper Lamar Crabb?
Never heard of 'em... new owners?
(climbing back .up)
Lot of turnover these days.
Better tell them to get in touch
with me if they want to hang onto
-- Yeah, I'll do that.
160 GITTES DRIVING
is now covered with a film of dust:
He reaches a fork in the dirt road. There are a couple
Gittes takes this fork and begins a slow ascent.
As he does, the tops of a line of bright green trees
can be SEEN, coming more and more INTO VIEW, row upon
row of avocado and walnut groves, their foliage heavy.
The few structures in the distance are white-washed,
and well kept, right down to the white-washed stones
that mark the pathway to the home. Towering above it
all is a huge wooden water tank.
Gittes drives through a gate that has "NO TRESPASSING"
and "KEEP OUT -- PRIVATE PROPERTY" signs neatly printed
He drives down the road into the grove.
pulls to a halt in the road flanking the orchard lanes.
He puts the car in neutral, stares at the trees. By
contrast with what he has seen -- they are lush and
beautiful, their heavy branches barely swaying in a
Then a SHOTGUN BLAST abruptly strips bare the branches.
of the tree he'd been staring at.
162 EXT. AVOCADO GROVES - DAY
Gittes is shocked. He looks behind him. Riding on
horseback down the field in the direction he had just
driven is a Red-Faced Man in overalls. His hat blows
off his head. He does not, however, lose the shotgun
he has just used. Gittes' lane of retreat is denied
him. He guns the car, and takes off down one of the
163 MOVING WITH GITTES
The dirt lane is rough. As Gittes nears the end of
it, a Younger Man on a mule blocks the exit.
Gittes veers a sharp left, knocking a branch off one
of the trees, heading down one of the cross-lanes. Here
he's pursued by a scraggly dog that nips at the tires.
Gittes yells at it.
164 ANGLE ON GROVE
Two farmers on foot, one using a crutch, run down the
lanes toward a dust trail rising above the trees --
they've spotted it -- clearly it's from Gittes' car.
This hide-and-seek chase between one man on horseback,
one on a mule and a couple on foot continues up and
down and across the orchard lanes -- until Gittes'
front tire and radiator are ruptured by another
Gittes' car veers off, scattering a stray gaggle of
geese -- and smacks into an avocado tree, shaking loose
a barrage of the heavy fruit onto Gittes and the car.
Gittes immediately tries to get out through the branches
over the back of his car, but he's pulled off it by one
of the younger farmers -- a huge brute who he begins to
tussle with -- the Crippled Farmer begins to bang Gittes
on the back with his crutch. The two of them manage to
pound Gittes to the ground within moments, where the
Crippled Farmer continues to whack away at Gittes with
The older Red Faced Farmer with the shotgun and the Man
on a mule ride up.
RED FACED FARMER
All right, quit it! Quit now!
Search the man, see if he's armed.
165 Gittes is hefted half off the ground and the two younger
Farmers spin him around, going through his clothes.
Gittes is badly banged up and half out on his feet.
They toss his wallet, his silver cigarette case, etc.
on the ground.
RED FACED FARMER
I said see if he's armed, not empty
-- He ain't armed.
Gittes leans against the back of his car, breathing
RED FACED FARMER
All right, mister -- who you with
-- water department or the real
estate office --
Gittes' back is to the Red Faced Farmer. He has trouble
catching his breath. The Crippled Farmer pokes him rudely in
the back with his crutch. Gittes turns sharply.
(to Crippled Farmer)
Get away from me!
Touch me with that thing again and
you'll need a pair of them.
Whyn't you pick on somebody your
RED FACED FARMER
I said cut that out! Give him
a chance to say something.
Gittes looks up at the Red Faced Farmer.
(reaching down for
Name's Gittes -- I'm a private
investigator and I'm not with
RED FACED FARMER
Then what are you doing out here?
-- Client hired me to see...
whether or not the water department's
been irrigating your land.
RED FACED FARMER
Irrigating my land?
The water department's been sending
you people to blow up my water
tanks! They threw poison down
three of my wells! I call that
a funny way to irrigate -- who'd
hire you for a thing like that?
166 Gittes reaches into his pocket -- the paper's on the
ground. He picks it up.
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
The Big Farmer takes a swing at Gittes. Gittes kicks him
squarely in the nuts, knees him in the jaw after he's
doubled up, and hits him solidly. The Crippled Farmer
takes careful aim and brings his crutch down on the back
of Gittes' head. Gittes is knocked to the ground and
lies still beside the Big Farmer who is writhing in agony
in the dirt.
RED FACED FARMER
Well -- that's that.
167 BLACK SCREEN
There's a PURLING SOUND, which soon becomes defined into
the SOUND OF VOICES talking quietly -- about whether to
move or not to move, doctors, etc.
168 CLOSE - EVELYN MULWRAY
is staring down at Gittes who's lying in the screened-in
porch of the farmers. His wife, the Red Faced Farmer,
and the Big Farmer are there, along with the dog.
The Red Faced Farmer's wife has set tea out. The farmers
-- all of them -- now seem awkward and a little
169 FRONT PORCH - RED FACE FARMER'S HOUSE -
REACTION - GITTES - DUSK
He focuses on Evelyn who sits right next to him. He's
got dried blood down the side of his face from his nose,
a huge mouse on his cheek, and his clothes are torn in
a couple of spots.
What's going on?
(quietly, almost as
if he were in a
-- You didn't look too good, so we
thought we better call your employer.
Gittes nods. He checks his watch. He looks out -- It's
almost evening. Gittes says nothing. The wife of the
Red Faced Farmer (DUBOIS) looks reproachfully at Dubois.
Gittes feels the back of his head, It obviously hurts
170 EXT. DUBOIS FARMHOUSE - EVENING
Evelyn and Gittes go out to her car, the cream colored
Packard. Dubois accompanies them -- along with the Big
Farmer who is carrying a crate of something. Gittes has
cleaned himself up a little.
-- Look here, if it's all the same
with you, we'll get your car patched
up --If you'll tell me what your
trousers run you, I'll make good on
them, Mr. Gittes.
It's okay, Mr. Dubois.
-- It's just that they're after
everybody out here, tearing up our
irrigation ditches -- trying to make
our land worthless so they can pick
it up for twenty-five dollars an
Anyway -- Earl here is sorry, too.
He wants to give you something to
take back with you.
Gittes looks. Earl has the huge crate he's holding brim-
full of avocados.
171 INT. CAR - EVELYN & GITTES - DUSK
Thanks for coming...
Gittes pulls out cigarette case, takes one -- offers one
to Evelyn who refuses.
-- That dam is a con job.
The one your husband opposed --
they're conning L.A. into building
it, only the water won't go to
L.A. -- it'll go here.
Everything you can see, everything
around us -- I was at the Hall of
Records today --
(whips out papers,
turns on the car
-- That bother you?
(looking over papers)
In the last three months, Robert
Knox has bought 7,000 acres, Emma
Dill 12,000 acres, Clarence Speer
5,000 acres, and Jasper Lamar
Crabb 25,000 acres.
Jasper Lamar Crabb?
No, I think I'd remember.
Yeah -- they've been blowing these
farmers out of here and buying
their land for peanuts -- Have
any idea what this land'll be worth
with a steady water supply? About
thirty million more than they paid.
-- And Hollis knew about it?
It's why he was killed -- Jasper
Lamar Crabb -- Jasper Lamar Crabb --
He's pulling out his wallet, excitedly now, spilling its
contents onto the seat. He pulls out the obituary column
he'd folded up earlier in the day.
We got it. We got it, baby.
What? What is it?
There was a memorial service at
the Mar Vista Inn today for Jasper
Lamar Crabb. He died three weeks
Is that unusual?
Two weeks ago he bought those
25,000 acres. That's unusual.
172 EXT. MAR VISTA INN AND REST HOME - NIGHT
Evelyn's car pulls up before the elegant Spanish rest
home, its entryway illuminated by streetlights. There
is a small sign giving the name of the place in elegant
neon scroll. It sits on the rolling green lawns.
Gittes gets out of the car with Evelyn. He offers her
his arm and they go up the walkway to the entrance.
173 INT. MAR VISTA INN AND REST HOME - NIGHT
Gittes and Evelyn are approached by an unctuous man in
his forties, with a flower in his buttonhole. He sees
Evelyn first --
Hello there, I'm Mr. Palmer. Can
I help you folks?
Then he gets a clear look at Gittes -- bruised, trousers
Yes, I sure hope so. It's Dad --
-- I just can't handle him anymore,
can I, sweetheart?
Evelyn shakes her head.
Oh my goodness.
Nothing to do with Dad. It's me,
They just don't get along very well.
Dad's a lamb with anyone else.
(not so sure)
Oh -- well -- I don't know --
Naturally, I want the best for him,
money is no object --
-- Perhaps if we could meet your
There's just one question.
Do you accept anyone of the Jewish
Evelyn can't quite conceal her surprise at the question.
I'm sorry -- we don't.
Don't be sorry, neither does Dad.
Wanted to make sure though, didn't
174 Evelyn stares back at Gittes, amused and appalled.
She manages to nod.
Just to be certain, I wonder if
you could show us a list of your
(polite but pointed)
We don't reveal the names of our
guests as a matter of policy. I
know you'd appreciate that if your
father came to live with us.
Gittes locks eyes with Palmer.
That's exactly what we wanted to
I wonder, is it too late for us
to have a look around?
I don't think so -- be happy to
show you --
Would you mind if we took a stroll
on our own?
-- Just, if you will, confine
yourself to the main building --
it's nearly bedtime.
We understand, c'mon, sweetheart.
He takes Evelyn.
175 INT. PARLOR - EVELYN
looking. Either by accident or design, the primarily
octogenarian guests have segregated themselves. In one
wing, the men are playing pinochle, some are playing
dominoes -- one elderly gentleman sits. by himself
carefully peeling an orange.
In an adjacent parlor several white-headed ladies work
on a quilt.
Gittes grabs Evelyn's hand.
They're all here. Every goddam
Gittes points to the wall -- it says ACTIVITIES BOARD.
There are titles -- LAWN BOWLING - BRIDGE - FISHING -
CROQUET -- below them are the names of the guests,
entered under certain activities, for certain days.
After Evelyn looks, she turns to Gittes.
You're looking at the owners of
a 50,000 acre empire.
They can't be.
They may not know it -- but they are.
176 Gittes strolls toward the women knitting and working on
Two of the ladies giggle. The third continues to busy
herself with her quilt, off by herself.
Which one of you is Emma Dill?
Two of them say "she is," and point in different
directions. The third gives them a curt look and
goes back to her knitting. Gittes approaches her.
Are you Emma?
Some old voice is singing softly, "Don't Sit Under the
I've been wanting to meet you.
-- Did you know that you're a very
-- I'm not.
Well you own a lot of land.
Not anymore. Oh, some time ago,
my late husband owned a good deal
of beach property in Long Beach --
but we lost it.
Gittes looks at the quilt. In it is the head of a fish
-- among the rest of the crazy quilt pattern. Gittes
That's just lovely.
177 He looks through the quilt for other pieces of the fish
-- comes across the tail -- and by it -- the initials
-- Where did you get this material?
(what it sounds like)
The apple core club --
-- The apple core?
No -- the albacore. It's a fish.
My grandson's a member -- and they
take very nice care of us.
How do they do that?
Give us things -- not just some
old flag like this, but --
We're a sort of unofficial charity
of theirs, Mr. Gittes. Would you
care to come this way? Someone
wants to see you.
Gittes looks up, sees Palmer standing in the doorway,
looking taut and a little drawn. Evelyn is beside him.
She gestures -- as if there's someone behind Palmer.
See you later, Emma.
He walks toward Palmer who waits for him to walk in
178 AT THE ENTRANCE HALL - MULVIHILL
Is waiting. He's got his hand in his pocket. Evelyn
looks to Gittes. The four of them stand there, Mulvihill
towering over everyone.
Come on -- I want you to meet
(glancing from Palmer
Can -- we leave the lady out of
(a little uncertain)
-- Yeah, why not?
Okay, I'd like to walk her to her
(taking her by the
Get in the car.
I'll see she makes it.
Mulvihill has walked up beside Gittes. He makes the
mistake of opening the glass door in the entryway,
putting his back to Gittes for a moment. Gittes swiftly
pulls Mulvihill's jacket up over his head. He spins him
around. With his jacket covering his face, Gittes hammers
away at Mulvihlll, beating him against the glass door,
along the wall, mercilessly pounding his fists into the
cloth until the cloth turns red and Mulvihill begins to
sink to the red tile floor. Palmer screams. Evelyn stands
there astonished. Mulvihill's gun has clattered to the
(as Mulvihill hits
the floor, to Evelyn)
What are you waiting for? Get in
179 Mulvihill tries to get up again. Palmer starts to go for
the gun, nearly picking it up. Gittes slaps it out of
his hand and kicks it. It goes flying down the hall, at
least thirty feet; hits the wall. Palmer goes screaming
off into the night. Gittes turns back to Mulvihill who
starts to get up, then collapses.
Gittes goes out the front door, ignoring the excited
audience of ancients behind him.
As Gittes walks down the pathway, he stops -- two men are
coming toward him. One of them is shorter, and has the
nervous, jerky moves of the man who slit his nose.
Gittes stops. The two men fan out and continue to move
toward him. Gittes spots the two-tone shoes. He begins
to back up.
Suddenly there is a pair of headlights flashing
brilliantly behind the two men. In a moment Evelyn's car
is headed across the lawn directly toward the two men,
accelerating as it gets near them. They look in
disbelief, then dive for safety. The car skids to a stop,
fishtailing a little on the grass.
Evelyn opens the passenger door.
Gittes jumps in and she takes off across the lawn,
tilting the elegant little neon sign on the lawn as
she goes. Two SHOTS ARE FIRED.
181 INT. CAR - EVELYN & GITTES
Evelyn looking straight ahead, driving. After a moment
she takes one hand off the wheel and rubs her left eye a
little. Gittes watches her. He smiles.
182 EXT. VERANDA - MULWRAY HOME - NIGHT
Gittes stands on the veranda, smoking a cigarette,
staring off into the night.
Evelyn comes out to the veranda, carrying a tray with
whiskey and an ice bucket on it. She sets it down --
(watching her pour)
Maid's night off?
(a little surprised,
What do you mean, 'why?' Nobody's
here, that's all.
(handing Gittes his
-- I gave everybody the night off --
-- Easy, It's an innocent question.
No question from you is innocent,
I guess not -- to you, Mrs. Mulwray.
Frankly you really saved my a--
my neck tonight.
Tell me something -- does this
usually happen to you, Mr. Gittes?
What's that, Mrs. Mulwray?
-- Well, I'm only judging on the
basis of one afternoon and an evening,
but if that's how you go about your
work, I'd say you're lucky to get
through a whole day.
-- Actually this hasn't happened
to me in some time.
-- When was the last time?
Just -- I don't know why.
Gittes touches his nose, winces a little.
It was in Chinatown.
What were you doing there?
(taking a long drink)
-- Working for the District Attorney.
183 Gittes looks sharply at her. Then:
As little as possible.
The District Attorney gives his
men advice like that?
They do in Chinatown.
She looks at him. Gittes stares off into the night.
Evelyn has poured herself another drink.
Bothers you to talk about it,
Gittes gets up.
No -- I wonder -- could I -- do
you have any peroxide or something?
He touches his nose lightly.
Oh sure. C'mon.
She takes his hand and leads him back into the house.
184 INT. BATHROOM - MIRROR
Gittes pulls the plaster off his nose, stares at it in
the mirror. Evelyn takes some hydrogen peroxide and some
cotton out of a medicine cabinet. Evelyn turns Gittes'
head toward her. She has him sit on the pullman tile
adjacent to the sink.
Doctor did a nice job...
She begins to work on his nose with the peroxide. Then
she sees his cheek -- checks back in his hair.--
-- Boy oh boy, you're a mess
-- Yeah --
(working on him)
-- So why does it bother you to
talk about it... Chinatown...
-- Bothers everybody who works
there -- but to me -- It was --
-- Hold still -- why?
-- You can't always tell what's
going on there --
... No -- why was it --
I thought I was keeping someone
from being hurt and actually I ended
up making sure they were hurt.
Could you do anything about it?
185 They're very close now as she's going over a mouse very
near his eye.
Yeah -- make sure I don't find
myself in Chinatown anymore --
wait a second --
He takes hold of her and pulls her even closer,
-- What's wrong?
What about it?
There's something black in the
green part of your eye.
Oh that... It's a flaw in the
... A flaw...
(she almost shivers)
... Yes, sort of a birthmark...
Gittes kisses her lightly, gradually rises until he's
standing holding her. She hesitates, then wraps her arms
186 INT. MULWRAY BEDROOM - TELEPHONE
on a nightstand, city lights visible through the open
window behind it. It is RINGING. Evelyn's arm reaches
INT0 SHOT. SOUND of something hitting the headboard.
VIEW SHIFTS TO INCLUDE Gittes in bed, holding his head,
which he's just hit. Evelyn pauses in her reach to the
phone. She turns to him, whispers, "I'm sorry," kisses
him on the head and lips. PHONE CONTINUES TO RING. She
picks it up.
(in Spanish now)
No, no, I'll come and help,
just keep watching her and don't
do anything until I get there...
VIEW SHIFTS AGAIN TO INCLUDE Gittes in bed, watching
Evelyn next to him as she's talking on the phone. She
hangs up. She touches Gittes' cheek lightly.
I have to go.
Gittes stares at her silently.
-- Just -- I have to.
And I want to know where.
(she starts out of
Please don't be angry... believe
me, it's got nothing to do with
Where are you going?
Please!... Trust me this much...
(she kisses him
I'll be back -- look, there is
something I should tell you. The
fishing club that old lady mentioned,
the pieces off the flag --
The Albacore Club.
It has to do with my father.
He owns it. You know?
I saw him.
(sitting up straight)
You saw my fa -- father? When?
You didn't tell me.
There hasn't been a lot of time.
187 She leaps out of bed, throwing on a robe.
What did he say?
What did he say ?
-- That you were jealous, and
he was worried about what you
Do? To who?
Mulwray's girlfriend, for one
thing. He wanted to know where
Evelyn starts quickly for the bathroom, then comes back
and kneels by the side of the bed, takes Gittes' hand.
I want you to listen to me -- my
father is a very dangerous man.
You don't know how dangerous. You
don't know how crazy.
Give me an example.
You may think you know what's going
on, but you don't.
That's what your father said --
you're telling me he's in back of
this whole thing?
Including the death of your husband?
It's possible -- please don't ask
me any more questions now. Just
wait, wait for me -- I'll be back.
I need you here.
She kisses him, rushes to the bathroom, shuts the door.
Gittes stares at it a moment. Then leaps out of bed,
rummages around, tosses on his trousers. He grabs his
shoes, throws them on. Then hurries out of the bedroom.
188 EXT. MULWRAY HOME - GITTES
running across the driveway to the garage. There are two
cars there -- Mulwray's Buick and Evelyn's Packard.
Gittes moves over to the Buick, opens the passenger's
189 INT. BUICK - GITTES
checks the ignition. No key is in it. He pulls a couple
of wires from under the dash -- starts to mess with them,
seems satisfied. Slides out across the seat, slams the
190 EXT. MULWRAY DRIVEWAY - NIGHT
Gittes hurries over to the Packard. He gets down on the
driveway, lying on his back, bracing himself. With the
heel of his shoe, he kicks at the right rear taillight of
the car. He shatters the red lens, gets up. He carefully
pulls the red lens off the taillight, exposing the white
light beneath it. He tosses the red lens into the
shrubbery and hurries back toward the house.
191 ONE RED AND ONE WHITE TAILLIGHT - MOVING - NIGHT
Evelyn's car speeds along the curves on Sunset Boulevard,
the red and white lights coming IN AND OUT OF VIEW.
192 GITTES DRIVING - NIGHT
behind the wheel of Mulwray's car, keeping a healthy
distance from Evelyn in front of him. .
193 EVELYN'S PACKARD
pulls up before a small little bungalow-house. She gets
out, looks up and down the street. There is nothing.
She hurries on up the walkway to the front door.
194 DOWN THE STREET - GITTES IN BUICK
Idles the engine with the lights off. He brings the car
a few yards further down the street, parking it near
Gittes gets out of the car and goes up the walkway.
The curtains are drawn except for one of the small
windows on the side of the house. He goes to it and
looks, balancing on the edge of the porch.
195 THROUGH THE WINDOW
Gittes sees Evelyn's Oriental servant rush through the
living room of the small house. In a moment he re-emerges
back through the living room carrying a tray with a glass
and pitcher on it.
around to the side of the house. He runs into shrubbery
and a short picket fence.
He climbs over it, follows along the stucco wall to a
series of windows at the corner of the house. These all
have shades on them. He can hear someone crying in the
house. Someone else talking alternately firmly and
plaintively in Spanish. Here the windows have blinds.
He moves to one where the blind is not completely drawn
-- there's an inch or so of space at the bottom.
197 THROUGH THE WINDOW
Gittes can see the servant again. Evelyn is pacing back
and forth in and out of his line of vision. After a
moment someone rises INTO SHOT -- obviously from lying
on a bed. The figure is just a few feet from Evelyn. Her
tear-stained face comes INTO VIEW. It is unmistakably
the girl Gittes had last seen with Hollis Mulwray.
Mulwray's girlfriend. She's looking up to Evelyn,
speaking in Spanish -- her words are not discernible
but the tone is -- bitter, anguished. A newspaper is
strewn about the room.
Evelyn kneels. She insists that the girl swallow down
some pills. The girl reluctantly does.
continues to watch.
199 EXT. STREET - EVELYN - NIGHT
emerges from the house, goes to her car and gets in.
200 INT. CAR
Evelyn sees Gittes sitting in her car, staring coldly
Okay, give me the keys.
-- It's either that or you drive
to the police yourself..
C'mon, Mrs. Mulwray -- you've got
your husband's girlfriend tied up
She's not tied up!
You know what I mean. You're
keeping her there against her will.
I am not!
Then let's go talk to her.
201 Gittes starts to get out of the car. Evelyn grabs his
arm, nearly screaming:
Her intensity actually rips Gittes' already partially
torn jacket. He looks at it and her. It seems to have
a momentary calming effect on both of them.
She's too upset.
Hollis' death. I tried to keep
it from her, I didn't want her
upset before I could make plans
for her to leave.
You mean she just found out?
That's not what it looks like,
What does it look like?
Like she knows about Hollis' death
-- like she knows more than you
want her to tell.
Just tell me the truth -- I'm not
the police. I don't care what
you've done. I'm not going to
hurt you -- but one way or another
I'm going to know.
You won't go to the police if I
I will if you don't.
A long pause. Evelyn's head sinks onto the steering
wheel, her hair covering her face.
She's my sister.
202 Evelyn is breathing very deeply now -- not crying, but
the kind of deep breathing that comes from real hysteria.
Gittes puts an arm on her shoulder.
Take it easy... If it's your sister
it's your sister... why all the
She lifts her head and looks up at him. He's genuinely
Because of Hollis? Because she
was seeing your husband? Was that
it? Jesus Christ, say something.
Was that it?
She nods. Gittes sighs.
I would never ever have harmed
Hollis. I loved him more than my
own family. He was the most gentle,
decent man imaginable... and he
put up with more from me than
you'll ever know... I just wanted
him to be happy...
She begins to cry softly.
(after a moment)
-- I took your husband's Buick...
(he opens the car
I'll return it tomorrow.
Aren't you coming back with me?
-- Don't worry. I'm not telling
anybody about this.
... That's not what I meant.
There is a long moment of silence. Gittes looks over to
Evelyn. Her hair covers most of her face from him.
Yeah, well... I'm very tired,
Mrs. Mulwray. Good night.
He gets out and slams the car door. She drives off.
203 INT. SHOWER - GITTES' APARTMENT - GITTES
The spray is hitting him full on the top of the head.
Gittes is so exhausted he's literally holding onto the
nozzle as the water pours down. He shuts the shower off,
reaches weakly for a towel -- dabs his nose lightly with
204 INT. GITTES' BEDROOM - GITTES
pads around in elegant silk pajamas.
He walks over to the window where morning light is
streaming in. He closes the curtains, collapses on the
bed, on top of the covers, inert. Almost immediately the
PHONE RINGS. Gittes lets it go on for a moment, then
picks it up without saying anything.
VOICE ON PHONE
VOICE ON PHONE
Ida Sessions wants to see you.
VOICE 0N PHONE
Ida Sessions, you remember Ida.
Gittes slowly rises to one elbow.
-- Yeah?... I do?
VOICE ON PHONE
Sure you do.
-- Well, tell you what, pal. If
Ida wants to see me she can call
me -- at my office.
He hangs up, falls back down. PHONE RINGS AGAIN.
AND AGAIN. Gittes swears, picks it up.
VOICE ON PHONE
684 1/2 East Tensington -- Echo
Park. She begged me to call.
She's waiting for you.
Before Gittes can say anything, the phone clicks dead.
205 EXT..CERRITOS TOWER ROAD - HOLLYWOOD HILLS -
Gittes pulls up. It is a bungalow courtyard with a
very narrow walkway and sickly green stucco.
206 EXT. IDA SESSIONS' APARTMENT - DAY
Gittes at the front door. It's slightly ajar. He knocks.
Nothing. He opens it and enters.
207 INT. LIVING ROOM
Morning light filters through the half-open blinds. Dust
particles in the shafts of light. It's still and empty.
Gittes sees something down the hall, under the legs of a
telephone table. Gittes moves toward it. It is grotesque.
When he gets closer he can see it's a wilted head of
lettuce. Just inside the kitchen some radishes and onions
lie on the linoleum. Gittes walks on into the kitchen.
208 INT. KITCHEN
Clearing the kitchen counter, Gittes sees IDA SESSIONS
lying on her back on the floor, surrounded by the
groceries from a broken bag. Ice cream has melted around
her. Her eyes are open, a stream of ants is moving across
the ice cream and into her mouth. She's recognizable as
the woman who posed as Evelyn Mulwray.
Gittes kneels over her. He gingerly opens her handbag,
fishes for its contents, takes them and looks at them on
the kitchen counter -- wallet with a few bills in it,
driver's license. with her name -- a Screen Actors Guild
card. Gittes nods -- turns, carefully replaces the items
in the purse.
He idly opens the broom closet, pantry, and even
Frigidaire -- which is all but empty. Then he steps over
her body and moves across the hall to a door that is
209 INT. BATHROOM
Gittes enters and turns on the light.
Find anything interesting, Gittes?
Escobar and another PLAINCLOTHED MAN stand in the
bathroom by the entrance to the bedroom door. Gittes
turns around. A THIRD MAN is now coming down the hall
from the bedroom.
Gittes looks at the two, doesn't reply.
What are you doing here?
Didn't you call?
(jerk of his head
toward the kitchen)
How do you happen to know her?
-- Let me show you something.
210 INT. KITCHEN
Escobar points to the number MU 7279 on the side of one
of the kitchen cabinets.
Isn't that your number?
Is it? I forget. I don't call
myself that often.
Just to be on the safe side, we
had Loach here give you a ring.
He indicates one of his assistants.
(a slight sneer)
What happened to your nose, Gittes?
Somebody slam a bedroom window on it?
(right back, smiling)
Nope, your wife got excited, crossed
her legs a little too quick. You
The Assistant starts to move for Gittes who is ready for
him. Escobar steps between the two.
(to other Assistant)
(Escobar pulls out
How about these? Look familiar?
In the open drawer are the photos of Mulwray and the
girl in the park, boat, and at the El Macando on the
(no point in denying it)
Yeah, I took 'em. So what?
How did she --
(meaning the corpse)
-- happen to have them?
Gittes takes a deep breath.
Either you tell me or I guess -
'cause I don't have the answer.
You really think I'm stupid, don't
I don't think about it one way or
the other. But if you want, give
me a day or two, and I'll get
back to you. Now I'd like to go
I want the rest of the pictures.
(meaning the corpse)
This broad hired you, Gittes, not
Yeah -- somebody wanted to shake
down Mulwray, she hired you, and
that's how you happen to know
Mulwray was murdered.
I heard it was an accident.
C'mon, you think you're dealing
with a bunch of assholes? Mulwray
had salt water in his goddam lungs!
Now how did he get that... in a fresh
211 Gittes is surprised at this piece of information, but
You were following him night and
day You saw who killed him.
You even took pictures of it.
It was Evelyn Mulwray -- she's
been paying you off like a slot
machine ever since her husband
You accusing me of extortion?
-- I don't think I need a day or
two -- you're even dumber than
you think I think you are. Not
only that, I'd never extort a nickel
out of my worst enemy, that's where
I draw the line, Escobar.
Yeah, I once knew a whore who for
enough money would piss in a
customer's face -- but she'd never
shit on his chest. That's where
she drew the line.
Well, I hope she wasn't too much
of a disappointment to you, Lou.
Escobar manages a thin smile.
I want those photographs, Gittes.
We're talking about accessory after
the fact, conspiracy, and extortion
Why do you think Mulwray's body
was moved you dimwit? Evelyn
Mulwray knocked off her husband
in the ocean -- and thought it
would look like more of an accident
if she hauled him up to the Oak
This is a little telling.
Mulwray was murdered and moved --
because somebody didn't want his
body found in the ocean.
And why's that ?
He found out somebody was dumping
water there. That's what they
were trying to cover up by moving
This stops Escobar. He's dumbfounded by it.
What are you talking about?
C'mon I'll show you.
C'mon - make a decision, Lou.
You're in charge.
The men around Escobar look to him. Escobar grudgingly
212 CLOSE SHOT - STORM DRAIN
It yawns AT CAMERA, only a trickle of water dropping into
VIEW WIDENS TO INCLUDE Escobar, Gittes, and two Plain-
clothesmen, standing and staring at the empty pipe as if
they expect it to talk.
(squinting in sunlight)
It's too late.
Too late for what?
They only dump the water at night.
213 A THIRD ASSISTANT runs down the side of the cliff and
Over to Escobar.
Yelburton, he's the new chief.
I know who he is. Well?
He says --
I know what he says.
Yelburton says they're irrigating
in the valley -- there's always a
little runoff when they do that.
And he says is Gittes knows that,
and has been going around making
irresponsible accusations for the
Escobar turns to Gittes. Stares at him for a long moment.
ONE OF ASSISTANTS
Let's swear out a warrant for her
arrest. What are we waiting for?
-- Because he just made lieutenant,
and he wants to hang onto his
little gold bar.
Escobar stares hatefully at Gittes.
Have your client in my office in
two hours -- and remember. I
don't have to let you go. I've
got you for withholding evidence
214 EXT. MULWRAY HOME - DAY
Gittes in Mulwray's Buick whips into the driveway. He
looks in the garage. Evelyn's car is gone. Only the
Gardener's truck is there.
Gittes hurries along the pathway and up to the house.
He rings the doorbell. Scarcely waiting for an answer
he tries it. It's locked. He reaches into his pocket
-- pulls out his cigarette case, takes a pick out of
the side and starts to fool with the lock.
The Maid opens the door abruptly, stares in some surprise
Where's Mrs. Mulwray?
215 Gittes looks past the Maid to the center of the living
room -- where luggage is packed and neatly piled.
The Maid is actually in the process of throwing covers
over the furniture.
Is Mrs. Mulwray going someplace?...
on a trip?... vacation?...
No esta in casa.
Gittes nods. He continues through the house and out back
to the veranda.
216 EXT. MULWRAY VERANDA - GITTES
is unsettled. Sees the Gardener working by the pond.
He wanders a few yards in that direction.
spots Gittes, half-bows, nods and smiles.
in turn, nods, smiles.
-- bad for glass.
breaks into a big grin. Nods again.
Oh yes, bad for glass.
He points to the newly mown lawn.
Salt water velly bad for glass.
can't quite believe what he's heard,
The Gardener nods vigorously. Points to the pond.
Velly velly bad.
Gittes has moved to the pond. He kneels. Clinging to the
edge of it he can now see as he could have before if he'd
looked closely, a starfish.
221 CLOSE STARFISH
It has one leg missing. The fifth point on the star is
Just beginning to grow back.
touches the water, tastes it. He licks his lips, then
spots something glinting in the bottom of the pond.
What's that... down there?
The Gardener peers into the pond.
The Gardener spots it. He rolls up his trousers, gets in
the pond, and reaches into the bottom, his chin actually
touching the water. He misses the object, which seems to
scoot away like an animal. Then he grasps it. He lifts it
out of the water and holds a pair of eye glasses,
rimless, bent, his finger poking through the frame where
one lens is shattered.
The Gardener seems surprised. Gittes looks at the
glasses. They are heavily bifocal and reflect the sun.
223 INT. MULWRAY HOME
Gittes holds the phone to his ear. On the telephone
table, lying on his handkerchief are the glasses.
The Maid hovers around over Gittes' shoulder, uneasily
Have you got your checkbook handy,
Mr. Cross? I've got the girl.
-- you've got her? Where?
Do you remember the figures we
Of course I do. Where are you?
-- at your daughter's house.
How soon can you get here?
Two hours... tell me, will
Evelyn be there as well?
Either that or she'll be in jail.
What are you talking about?
Just bring your checkbook.
Gittes hangs up.
224 EXT. BUNGALOW-HOUSE - ADELAIDE DRIVE
Gittes pulls up in Mulwray's Buick. He hurries to the
front door, pounds on it.
The Chinese servant answers the door.
(short sentence in
225 Gittes pushes past him. Evelyn, looking a little worn but
glad to see him hurries to the door. She takes Gittes'
How are you? I was calling you.
She looks at him, searching his face.
They move into the living room. Gittes is looking around
Did you get some sleep?
Did you have lunch?
Kyo will fix you something --
-- where's the girl?
I want to see her.
...she's having a bath now... why
do you want to see her?
Gittes continues to look around. He sees clothes laid out
for packing in a bedroom off the living room.
Yes, we've got a 4:30 train to
Gittes doesn't answer. He goes to the phone and dials.
J. J. Gittes for Lieutenant
What are you doing? What's wrong?
I told you we've got a 4:30 --
(cutting her off)
You're going to miss your train!
(then, into phone)
Lou, meet me at 1412 Adelaide
-- it's above Santa Monica
Canyon... yeah, soon as you can.
What did you do that for?
(a moment, then)
You know any good criminal lawyers?
Don't worry -- I can recommend a
couple. They're expensive but you
can afford it.
(evenly but with
What the hell is this all about?
Gittes looks at her -- then takes the handkerchief out
Of his breast pocket -- unfolds it on a coffee table,
revealing the bifocal glasses, one lens still intact.
Evelyn stares dumbly at them.
I found these in your backyard --
in your fish pond. They belonged to
your husband, didn't they?... didn't
I don't know. I mean yes, probably.
-- yes positively. That's where
he was drowned...
What are you saying?
There's no time for you to be
shocked by the truth, Mrs. Mulwray.
The coroner's report proves he was
killed in salt water. Just take my
word for it. Now I want to know
how it happened and why. I want
to know before Escobar gets here
because I want to hang onto my
-- I don't know what you're talking
about. This is the most insane...
the craziest thing I ever...
Gittes has been in a state of near frenzy himself.
gets up, shakes her.
Stop it! - I'll make it easy. --
You were jealous, you fought, he
fell, hit his head -- it was an
accident -- but his girl is a
witness. You've had to pay her
off. You don't have the stomach
to harm her, but you've got the
money to shut her up. Yes or no?
Who is she? And don't give me that
crap about it being your sister.
You don't have a sister.
Evelyn is trembling.
I'll tell you the truth...
That's good. Now what's her name?
Katherine?... Katherine who?
-- she's my daughter.
226 Gittes stares at her. He's been charged with anger and
when Evelyn says this it explodes. He hits her full in
the face. Evelyn stares back at him. The blow has forced
tears from her eyes, but she makes no move, not even to
I said the truth!
-- she's my sister --
Gittes slaps her again.
-- she's my daughter.
Gittes slaps her again.
-- my sister.
He hits her again.
My daughter, my sister --
He belts her finally, knocking her into a cheap Chinese
vase which shatters and she collapses on the sofa,
I said I want the truth.
(almost screaming it)
She's my sister and my daughter!
Kyo comes running down the stairs.
For God's sake, Kyo, keep her
upstairs, go back!
Kyo turns after staring at Gittes for a moment then
goes back upstairs.
-- my father and I, understand,
or is it too tough for you?
Gittes doesn't answer.
... he had a breakdown... the
dam broke... my mother died...
he became a little boy... I was
fifteen... he'd ask me what to
eat for breakfast, what clothes
to wear!... It happened... then
I ran away...
Hollis came and took... care
of me... after she was born...
he said... he took care of her...
I couldn't see her... I wanted to
but I couldn't... I just want to
see her once in a while... take care
of her... that's all... but I don't
want her to know... I don't want
her to know...
... so that's why you hate him...
Evelyn looks slowly up at Gittes.
-- no... for turning his back on
me after it happened! He couldn't
I hate him.
Gittes suddenly feels the need to loosen his tie.
-- yeah... where are you taking her
Back to Mexico.
You can't go by train. Escobar'll
be looking for you everywhere.
How about a plane?
That's worse... Just get out of
here -- walk out, leave everything.
I have to go home and get my things --
-- I'll take care of it.
Where can we go?
...where does Kyo live?
-- with us.
On his day off. Get the exact
She stops suddenly.
Those didn't belong to Hollis.
For a moment Gittes doesn't know what she's talking
about. Then he follows her gaze to the glasses lying on
How do you know?
He didn't wear bifocals.
Gittes picks up the glasses, stares at the lens, is
momentarily lost in them.
from the stairs. She has her arm around Katherine.
Say hello to Mr. Gittes, sweetheart.
(from the stairs)
rises a little shakily from the arm of the sofa.
With her arm around the girl, talking in Spanish,
Evelyn hurries her toward the bedroom. In a moment she
-- he lives at 1712 Alameda... do
you know where that is?
229 REACTION - GITTES
He nods slowly.
-- sure. It's Chinatown.
230 THRU WINDOW
of bungalow Gittes watches Evelyn, the girl and Kyo head
for Kyo's black dusty sedan.
Gittes drops the curtain, heads swiftly to the phone. He
Sophie... is Walsh there?... yeah,
listen, pal, Escobar's going to try
and book me in about five minutes...
relax, I'll tell you. Wait in the
office for two hours. If you don't
hear from me, you and Duffy meet me
at 1712 Alameda.
-- Jesus, that's in Chinatown, ain't
231 The front BELL RINGS.
I know where it is! Just do it.
Gittes hangs up and goes to the door. He opens it. No
one is there.
(not even bothering
to look around the
Come on in, Lou -- we're both too
Escobar and his minions appear from either side of the
Looks like she flew the coop.
I don't suppose you got any idea
W here she went?
Matter of fact I do.
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 for you --
No, Gittes, you'll show us.
If she's not there, you're going
downtown, and you're staying there
til she shows up.
Gee, Lou, I'm doing the best I can.
(shoving him toward
Tell us about it on the way to
232 EXT. SAN PEDRO - 29TH STREET - DAY
A steep hill overlooks part of the harbor. Escobar's
unmarked car pulls up to a stop in front of a Spanish
duplex perched on the steep hillside.
Well, let's go.
Do me a favor, will you, Lou?
Let me bring her down myself...
she's not armed or nothing... she
won't be any problem... I'd just
like a minute alone with her...
It would mean something... to...
her... and to me.
Escobar shakes his head. For a moment it looks like it
You never learn, do you,
I guess not.
-- Give you three minutes.
Gee, thanks, Lou.
Gittes gets out of the car, glances around, goes up the
stairs. He looks back down at Escobar. Gittes rings the
bell. He waits. It opens. It's a WOMAN who's not
recognizable. She's got the remnants of a black eye.
Gittes looks past her to Curly, the fisherman from the
first scene. He's seated at the dinner table with his
father, his mother, and his children. Curly looks up in
Mr. Gittes! Come in, come in.
233 Gittes enters and closes the door. Curly rises and comes
over to him, greets him happily.
Gee, this is a surprise, Mr. Gittes.
Call me Jake. How is everything?
Just sitting down to supper, Jake.
Care to join us?
No thanks --
How about a glass of wine? Honey,
this is --
Yes, I know.
Thanks just the same, Curly. I
could use a glass of water, though --
come out with me to the kitchen
for a second.
234 INT. KITCHEN - GITTES AND CURLY
Curly, where's your car?
In the garage.
Off the alley.
Could you drive me somewhere?
Sure, as soon as we eat --
Right now, Curly. It can't wait.
I'll just tell my wife.
(pulling him out
the back door)
-- tell her later.
They head out the back door and down the steps toward
235 EXT. ALLEY AND GARAGE
Curly pulls open the garage door. Gets in, starts the
car, backs it out. It's an old, late twenties Plymouth
sedan. Gittes hops in. They take off. At the edge of
the alley Gittes looks back.
POV FROM CURLY'S CAR
Escobar is getting out of his car, moving towards the
duplex. Gittes slips down in the seat.
Just drive slow for a block or two,
will you, Curly?
What's this all about?
Tell you in a couple of blocks.
236 INT. SEDAN - GITTES AND CURLY
How much do you owe me, Curly?
Oh, gee, Mr. Gittes -- we're going
out tomorrow. I know you been real
good about it but my cousin Auggie's
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 an
extra seventy-five bucks out of it
for you -- maybe an even hundred.
-- plus what I owe you?
I'll throw that in too.
Okay, you got yourself a boat.
237 EXT. MULWRAY HOME - GITTES AND CURLY
carry bags out to Curly's car. Curly opens the door for
the Maid. She gets in. He turns to Gittes.
Tell Mrs. Mulwray to wait for half
an hour after you get there -- then
if I don't show, take her down to
(a little worried)
-- you sure this is okay?
Curly, you know how long I been in
Curly nods, reassured. He gets in and takes off.
238 EXT. MULWRAY HOME - DUSK
by the pond, cigarette smoke drifts INTO SHOT. A car
pulls up. In a moment Cross can be SEEN, looking TOWARD
There you are.
He walks toward Gittes who stands by the pond, smoking.
Well, you don't look any the worse
for wear, Mr. Gittes, I must say...
where's the girl?...
I've got her.
Is she all right?
Where is she?
With her mother.
Cross' tone alters here.
... with her mother?
Gittes pulls something out of his pocket and unfolds it.
I'd like you to look at something,
Mr. Cross --
What is it?
An obituary column... can you read
in this light?
Yes... I think I can manage...
Cross dips into his coat pocket and pulls out a pair of
rimless glasses.. He puts them on, reads.
stares at the bifocal lenses as Cross continues to look
through the obituary column. He looks up.
What does this mean?
-- that you killed Hollis Mulwray --
Gittes is holding the bifocals with the broken lens now.
-- right here, in this pond. You
drowned him... and you left these.
Cross looks at the glasses.
...the coroner's report showed
Mulwray had salt water in his
Hollie was always fond of tide-pools.
You know what he used to say about
Haven't the faintest idea.
-- that's where life begins...
marshes, sloughs, tide-pools... he
was fascinated by them... you know
when we first came out here .he
figured that if you dumped water
onto desert sand it would percolate
down into the bedrock and stay
there, instead of evaporating the
way it does in most reservoirs.
You'd lose only twenty percent
instead of seventy or eighty. He
made this city.
-- and that's what you were going
to do in the Valley?
240 EXT. POND - CROSS AND GITTES
(after a long moment)
-- no, Mr. Gittes. That's what
I am doing with the Valley. The
bond issue passes Tuesday -
there'll be ten million to build
an aqueduct and reservoir. I'm
There's going to be some irate
citizens when they find out they're
paying for water they're not getting.
That's all taken care of. You see,
Mr. Gittes. Either you bring the
water to L.A. -- or you bring L.A.
to the water.
How do you do that?
-- just incorporate the Valley into
the city so the water goes to L.A.
after all. It's very simple.
How much are you worth?
I have no idea. How much do you
I want to know what you're worth --
over ten million?
Oh, my, yes.
Then why are you doing it? How
much better can you eat? What can
you buy that you can't already
(a long moment,
The future, Mr. Gittes -- the
future. Now where's the girl?...
I want the only daughter I have
left... as you found out, Evelyn
was lost to me a long time ago.
Who do you blame for that? Her?
Cross makes a funny little cock of his head.
I don't blame myself. You see,
Mr. Gittes, most people never
have to face the fact that at
the right time and right place,
they're capable of anything. Take
those glasses from him, will you,
Mulvihill moves INTO VIEW. Extends his hand for the
glasses. Gittes doesn't move.
It's not worth it, Mr. Gittes.
It's really not worth it.
Gittes hands over the glasses.
Take us to the girl. Either
Evelyn allows me to see her, or
I'm not averse to seeing Evelyn
in jail -- if I have to buy the
jail -- Hollis and Evelyn kept
her from me for fifteen years --
it's been too long, I'm too old.
241 EXT. CHINATOWN STREET - NIGHT
The streets are crowded. Here and there one can see
Chinese in traditional dress.
driving slowly -- spots Katherine with Ramon and luggage,
nearly lost in the crowd. They are walking toward a car
parked near a laundry truck.
Gittes sees them, keeps driving.
Stop the car. Stop the car!
Mulvihill tries to clobber Gittes. Gittes elbows him.
The car jumps the curb and hits a lamppost.
243 EXT. STREET - CROSS
leaps out of the car shouting:
Katherine! Katherine! Wait!
Gittes is after him, grabbing him. Cross tries to swing
at Gittes with his cane. Mulvihill comes up behind Gittes
and the three of them begin an awkward wrestling match,
--the crowd scattering, Mulvihill pulling his revolver,
trying to hit Gittes on the side of the head. The three
men crash to the pavement.
starts out of the car toward Gittes. Gittes sees him.
No, Curly, get 'em out of here!
Get 'em out of here:
He bites Mulvihill's hand and furiously pounds it into
the sidewalk, shaking gun loose. Mulvihill and Gittes
Try for it but someone else has it.
Holds the gun. She's shaking but apparently in control
rises to his feet. Mulvihill starts to help Cross up.
No, don't help him. Don't do
Mulvihill doesn't move. Cross rises on his own. Evelyn
holds the revolver on him.
-- she's gone. It's no good.
(moving to Evelyn)
Let me handle that.
I'm all right.
Sure, but I'd like to handle it.
Evelyn backs up as her father takes a step toward her.
You're going to have to kill me,
Evelyn. Either that or tell me
where she is.
Evelyn is backing up. Cross moving on her. Evelyn cocks
How many years have I got?...
she's mine too.
-- she's never going to know that.
There's the SOUND of a SIREN. Cross lunges toward her.
Gittes grabs Cross.
Duffy and Walsh are elbowing through the crowd.
Gittes sees them.
Duffy -- go over and sit on Mulvihill.
Jesus Christ, I didn't tell you
to bring the police department
Jake -- it's Chinatown. They're
all over-the place. You oughta
(to Walsh, meaning
Gimme your keys. Watch this old
fart, will you?
(moving to Evelyn)
Take Duffy's car. Curly's boat's
in Pedro, near the Starkist
cannery. It's the Evening Star.
He'll be waiting. I'll take
care of this.
247 She looks to Gittes. He looks at her. She turns and
He looks at her. She turns and Escobar is standing
between her Escobar is standing between her and it.
Mrs. Mulwray, you don't want to
run around like that.
Oh, Christ. Escobar, you don't
know what's going on. Let her go.
I'll explain it later.
Mrs. Mulwray, it's a very serious
offense -- pointing that at an
officer of the law. It's a felony.
Let her go. She didn't kill anybody.
(starting toward her)
I'm sorry, Mrs. Mulwray --
Lou, she will kill you -- let her
go for now. You don't know.
Gittes, stay outta this.
Escobar continues to move toward her. Gittes grabs him.
Now take off.
Evelyn gets in the car. She starts it. Gittes lets
I'll just have her followed --
she's not going anywhere --
There's a single GUNSHOT. Both men look surprised. Down
the block a uniformed officer has fired, standing beside
his double-parked car. Duffy's sedan slows to a stop in
the middle of the street. It jerks a couple of times,
still in gear, then comes to a halt.
Gittes rushes to the car. He opens it. Evelyn falls out,
inert. Blood is pouring from her right eye.
He holds onto Evelyn as Escobar and others hurry up.
Cross himself elbows through.
Where is he? I'll kill him, I'll
kill the son of a bitch --
Several officers contain Gittes.
Who is he, get his name? I'll kill
Take it easy, take it easy, it was
an accident --
An accident --
Gittes looks down. What he sees horrifies him. Cross is
on the ground, holding Evelyn's body, crying.
Get him away from her. He's
responsible for everything. Get
him away from her!
Jake -- you're very disturbed.
You're crazy. That's her father.
Walsh and Duffy elbow through the crowd.
You wanna do your partner the
biggest favor of his life? Take
him home. Just get him the hell
out of here!
Duffy bear hugs the protesting Gittes, along with Walsh,
literally dragging him away from the scene, with Gittes
trying to shake free. Through the crowd noises, Walsh can
be heard saying, "Forget it, Jake -- it's Chinatown."