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.
INT. GITTES’ OFFICE
CURLY drops the photos on Gittes’ desk. Curly towers over
GITTES and sweats heavily through his workman’s clothes, his
breathing progressively more labored. A drop plunks on Gittes’
shiny desk top.
Gittes notes it. A fan whiffs overhead. Gittes glances up at
it. He looks cool and brisk in a white linen suit despite
the heat. Never taking his eyes off Curly, he lights a
cigarette using a lighter with a “nail” on his desk.
Curly, with another anguished sob, turns and rams his fist
into the wall, kicking the wastebasket as he does. He starts
to sob again, slides along the wall where his fist has left
a noticeable dent and its impact has sent the signed photos
of several movie stars askew.
Curly slides on into the blinds and sinks to his knees. He
is weeping heavily now, and is in such pain that he actually
bites into the blinds.
Gittes doesn’t move from his chair.
All right, enough is enough. You
can’t eat the Venetian blinds, Curly.
I just had ‘em installed on Wednesday.
Curly responds slowly, rising to his feet, crying. Gittes
reaches into his desk and pulls out a shot glass, quickly
selects a cheaper bottle of bourbon from several fifths of
more expensive whiskeys.
Gittes pours a large shot. He shoves the glass across his
desk toward Curly.
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
(drinking, relaxing a
She’s just no good.
What can I tell you, Kid? You’re
right. When you’re right, you’re
right, and you’re right.
Ain’t worth thinking about.
Gittes leaves the bottle with Curly.
You’re absolutely right, I wouldn’t
give her another thought.
You know, you’re okay, Mr. Gittes. I
know it’s your job, but you’re okay.
breathing a little
Thanks, Curly. Call me Jake.
Thanks. You know something, Jake?
What’s that, Curly?
I think I’ll kill her.
INT. DUFFY & WALSH’S OFFICE
Noticeably less plush than Gitte’s. A well-groomed, dark-
haired WOMAN sits nervously between their two desks, fiddling
with the veil on her pillbox hat.
I was hoping Mr. Gittes could see to
(almost the manner of
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.
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
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…
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 INVESTIGATION”
I don’t want your last dime.
He throws an arm around Curly and flashes a dazzling smile.
What kind of guy do you think I am?
Thanks, Mr. Gittes.
Call me Jake. Careful driving home,
He shuts the door on him and the smile disappears.
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.
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, sympathetic
How do you do, Mrs. Mulwray?
Now, Mrs. Mulwray, what seems to be
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.
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, Mr.
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 myself.
Of course not.
Now, what makes you certain he is
involved with someone?
Mrs. Mulwray hesitates. She seems uncommonly nervous at the
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 knowing.
(with some real anxiety)
But I have to know.
Her intensity is genuine. Gittes looks to his two partners.
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)
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 can do.
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
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 never existed!
(pausing, letting the
implication sink in)
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.
AUDIENCE – COUNCIL CHAMBERS
An amalgam of farmers, businessmen, and city employees have
been listening with keen interest. A couple of the farmers
Somebody shooshes them.
In a whispered conference.
Mayor Bagby… let’s hear from the
departments again. I suppose we better
take Water and Power first. Mr.
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 redfaced FARMER drives in several scrawny,
bleating sheep. Naturally, they cause a commotion.
(shouting to farmer)
What in the hell do you think you’re
(as the sheep bleat
down the aisles toward
Get those goddam things out of here!
Tell me where to take them! You don’t
have an answer for that so quick, do
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!
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
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.
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
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
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,
Moves a little further back as Mulwray rounds the bend in
the river and comes face to face with the Mexican boy on the
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.
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
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.
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.
DOWN ON THE BEACH
Gittes looks to his right where the bay is a long, clear
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 above Mulwray.
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.
BEACON LIGHT AT POINT FERMIN
Flashing in the dust.
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.
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.
INT. GLOVE COMPARTMENT
Consists of a small mountain of Ingersoll pocket watches.
The cheap price tags are still on them. Gittes pulls out
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 through
He’s in the dark room.
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
I think I got something.
Oh yeah? You pick up the watch?
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
Gittes walks to his office.
ON HIS DESK
Is the Ingersoll watch, the crystal broken, the hands stopped
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 blackboard.
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
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
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
Okay, slow down – Echo Park.
Jesus, water again.
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
(to Duffy, as they
Let’s have a big smile, pal.
He shoots past Duffy, expertly running off a couple of fast
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.
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
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 falls.
WITH MULWRAY AND THE GIRL
Mulwray staring at the fragment at his feet. He looks to the
He’s clearly concerned. He rises, looks up to the roof.
FROM HIS POV
The roof and the sign topping it betray nothing. He slowly
sits back down, staring at the tile fragment.
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
INT. BARBERSHOP – GITTES
Holds the paper and reads while getting his haircut and his
shoes shined. In fact, almost all the customers are reading
When you get so much publicity, after
a while you must get blasé about it.
A self-satisfied smile comes to Gittes’ face.
Face it. You’re practically a movie
In b.g., customers can be OVERHEARD 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 extra bath?”
Gittes has been staring outside the barbershop. A car is
The hood is up. A man watches his radiator boiling over.
Look at that.
(end of conversation)
Fools names and fools faces…
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 ends meet?
Mortgage Department, First National
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
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 the bank.
Jake, for Christ’s sake.
Gittes is trying to take off his sheet.
C’mon, get out of the barber chair.
We’ll go outside and talk this over.
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
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?’
INT. GITTES’ OFFICE
Gittes comes bursting in, slapping a newspapers on his thigh.
Walsh comes out of his office, Duffy out of the other one.
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.
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, Duffy…
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
(Gittes breaks up)
…you’re screwing like a Chinaman.’
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 would’ve
Have we ever met?
That’s what I thought. You see, I’m
Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray. You know, Mr.
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.
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 your
Gittes stares down at the papers in his hand.
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 stops
Duffy puts out a cigarette in the dregs of one of the coffee
There’s seven ashtrays in this room,
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 phone
No, no. She said not to call, her
husband might answer.
When I find out who that phony bitch
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 Mehrholtz.
(as he waits)
And how about that snotty broad?
(the phone to his ear)
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
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 sent them?
(Gittes laughs a little
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…
He hangs up.
So he says you sent them?
(after a moment)
They’re all a bunch of phonies.
INT. DEPARTMENT WATER & POWER – HALL
Gittes stops outside a door marked:
“HOLLIS J. MULWRAY CHIEF ENGINEER”
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?
(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 door.
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 clothes.
Gittes moves to the desk, watching the translucent pane in
the upper half of the door leading to the outer office as he
He begins to open and close the desk drawers after quickly
examining the top. He tries one of the drawers and it doesn’t
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,
He flips through them, reads one notation in Mulwray’s neat
“Tues. night. Oak Pass Res. 7 channels used.”
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 door opens.
Enters the room. An anxious Secretary is right behind him.
Can I help you?
(extending his hand)
Russ Yelburton, Deputy Chief in the
J.J. Gittes. And it’s not a
I wonder if you’d care to wait in my
This is more a request than an invitation. Gittes nods,
follows Yelburton out, through the outer office to his offices
down the hall.
(continuing; as they’re
You see, this whole business in the
paper with Mr. Mulwray has us all on
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
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
And Mulwray isn’t?
He never even kids about it.
Maybe he takes it very seriously.
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
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
Mulvihlll, what are you doing here?
OUTER OFFICE – YELBURTON, MULVIHILL AND GITTES
Mulvihill stares at Gittes with unblinking eyes, remains by
They shut my water off, what’s it to
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
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.
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
Gittes stands, and sweats, watching a Japanese GARDENER trim
a hedge. There’s a SQUEAKING SOUND. Gittes moves a few feet
off the porch.
POV – GARAGE
A chauffeur is washing down a cream-colored Packard with a
Steam rises off the hood. The squeaking has obviously come
from the chamois.
Gittes looks behind him. The Chinese Butler is gesturing for
him to follow.
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
You wait, please.
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
After a moment, the Gardener drops the long probe, the waters
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
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
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
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
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 between
So let’s just drop the whole thing.
(as she’s mixing one
of the drinks)
Yes, Mr. Gittes?
I don’t want to drop it.
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
Well, I’ve been accused of many
things, Mrs. Mulwray, but never that.
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
(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 together
(with rising anger)
Suppose they did. How does it concern
Nothing personal, Mrs. Mulwray, I
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
Evelyn brushes lightly at the horsehair on her Jeans.
No. I went riding rather early.
Looks like you went quite a distance.
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
I’ll stop by.
Please call first.
EXT. OAK PASS RESERVOIR – DAY
Gittes drives up a winding road, following a flood channel
up into the parched hills.
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 public,
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.
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 —
EXT. RESERVOIR – DAY
Loach tries to ease him down the path.
Before what? What the hell’s going
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,
Both Gittes and Escobar register considerable surprise at
seeing one another. The men around them are extremely uneasy.
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 fine.
Summer colds are the worst.
Yeah, they are.
Gittes reaches into his pocket, pulls out his cigarette case.
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
Escobar nods. They walk a couple of steps. The other police,
two plainclothesmen and a uniformed officer, watch them.
You’ve done well by yourself.
I get by.
Well, sometimes it takes a while for
a man to find himself and I guess
Poking around in other people’s dirty
Yeah. Tell me, you still throw
Chinamen into jail for spitting on
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 here?
Looking for someone.
Hollis Mulwray. You seen him?
I’d like to talk to him.
You’re welcome to try. There he is.
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.
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
Obviously the fall must have knocked
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
OUTSIDE THE CORONER’S
Gittes has been sitting on a wooden bench, smoking and
listening. At this question, he rises and looks through the
Escobar sees him, ignores him. Evelyn doesn’t see him.
…Well, it didn’t make him happy…
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 discussed
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
A private investigator?
toward the door)
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
Evelyn looks at Escobar but doesn’t know how to answer him.
Just before the story broke in the
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 young
Or her name?
They have walked a few steps further down the hall.
Will you need me for anything else,
I don’t think so, Mrs. Mulwray. Of
course you have my deepest sympathy
and if we need anymore information,
we’ll be in touch.
I’ll walk her to her car, be right
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.
EVELYN AND GITTES – AT HER CAR
In a small parking lot.
Evelyn fumbles in her bag, looking feverishly for something
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.
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
Escobar looks up.
Out of respect for his civic position.
What’d he do, Lou, make a pass at
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.
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
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
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 Alley.
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.
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 closely.
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. He
Gittes walks away mumbling.
Jesus, this town…
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
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
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
They look at one another a moment.
(calling out to him)
You were riding here the other day,
The Boy doesn’t answer.
Speak English?… Habla Ingles?
Didn’t you talk to a man here… few
days ago… wore glasses… he…
The Boy nods.
What did you talk about, mind my
The shadows of the two are very long now.
What about the water?
When it comes.
When it comes? What’d you tell him?
Comes in different parts of the river.
Every night a different part.
Gittes nods. The horse snorts. The Boy rides slowly on.
EXT. RIVERBED – 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 setting.
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
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 flood
FURTHER UP – MOVING
The road is narrower. Gittes drives more slowly. Foliage is
overgrown in the channel so its bottom cannot be glimpsed.
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
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
Gittes backs up, turns off the motor, the car lights, the
A lone light overhead on tension wires is the sole
There is only the eerie SOUND of the tension WIRES HUMMING.
Gittes gets out of the car, clubs the fence near the Flood
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 the direction.
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 chainlink fence. It stops him cold.
He’s nearly strained through it.
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.
AT GITTES’ CAR
He fishes for his car keys, looks down. One shoe is missing.
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
(shaking with emotion)
Hold it there, kitty cat.
CLOSE – GITTES
Frozen, the knife in his nostril, the street lamp overhead
gleaming on the silvery blade.
THE SMALLER MAN
You are a very nosey fellow, kitty
cat… you know what happens to nosey
The Smaller Man actually seems to be trembling with rage
when he says this. Gittes doesn’t move.
Wanna guess? No? Okay, lose their
With a quick flick the Smaller Man pulls back on the blade,
laying Gittes’ left nostril open about an inch further. Gittes
Blood gushes down onto his shirt and coat.
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.
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
Comes up and lightly shoves Gittes into the ground. The SOUND
of FOOTSTEPS RETREATING, Gittes gasping.
INT. GITTES’ OFFICE – GITTES
Sits behind his desk, BACK TO CAMERA, not moving. Duffy sits
staring at nothing, Walsh moves uneasily around the room.
The PHONE is RINGING. Sophie BUZZES.
(pressing down intercom)
A Miss Sessions calling.
Don’t know her. Take a number.
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
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.
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.
(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 story.
Well, I’m a working girl, Mr. Gittes.
I didn’t come in to see you on my
When did you come in?
I was the one who pretended to be
Mrs. Mulwray, remember?
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
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 happen.
I understand… if you could tell me
who employed you, Miss Sessions.
That could help us both.
…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 Times…
The obituary column?
You’ll find one of those people.
‘Those people?’ Miss Sessions.
She hangs up. Gittes looks to his two men.
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 pocket.
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.
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 lemon,
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 corner of it.
I got your check in the mall.
Yes. As I said, I was very grateful.
Gittes’ fingers the envelope. He coughs.
Mrs. Mulwray, I’m afraid that’s not
(a little embarrassed)
Well, how much would you like?
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 upset.
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
It wasn’t much of a lie.
If your husband was killed it was.
This can look like you paid me off
to withhold evidence.
But he wasn’t killed.
I think you’re hiding something,
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, Mrs.
(a flash of annoyance)
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 experience.
Gittes looks significantly to Evelyn.
(looking directly at
She’s cheating on him.
Evelyn doesn’t reply.
Evelyn is clearly angry but she is controlling it.
I don’t like the word ‘cheat.’
Did you have affairs?
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 heated.
Is there anything else you want to
Where you were when your husband
I can’t tell you.
You mean you don’t know where you
I mean I can’t tell you.
You were seeing someone, too.
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’ stand
He’s been fingering the envelope…
(she stammers slightly)
That your maiden name?
Evelyn turns into Gittes.
You must’ve had a reason to ask me
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
Evelyn reluctantly allows Gittes to move closer and dangle
his hand in front of their faces. She stares at him.
(meaning his nose)
How did it happen?
Been meaning to talk to you about
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 a
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
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 me feel?
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 falling over.
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.
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
(to attendant who
dutifully starts for
Wait a minute, sonny.
I think you better come with me.
What for? There’s nothing more to
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.
(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
Evelyn steadies herself on the open car door. She stares at
Gittes for a long moment. Then he gently tugs the car door
He drives off into the Wilshire traffic, leaving Evelyn
looking after him.
INT. DWP – MULWRAY’S OFFICE DOOR
WITH ITS LETTERING:
“HOLLIS I. MULWRAY CHIEF ENGINEER”
Gittes goes through the door to the Secretary. She looks up.
She recognizes Gittes again and is not happy to see him.
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 some
Well I’m on my lunch hour. I’ll wait.
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
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.
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
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 office.
Gittes goes back to the photographs. He hears a SCRATCHING
SOUND, apparently coming from just outside the outer door.
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 surprise.
The Secretary returns, sees the workman on the floor.
Mr. Yelburton will see you now.
Gittes nods graciously, heads on into Yelburton’s office.
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 circumstances.
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 Mrs.
I never was.
I don’t understand.
Neither do I, actually. But you hired
me or you hired that chippie to hire
Mr. Gittes, you’re not making a bit
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
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
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 runoff.
Yeah, a little runoff. Where are
I said, the northwest valley.
That’s like saying they’re in Arizona.
Mr. Gittes, my field men are out and
I can’t give you an exact location…
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
(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
Gittes smiles, leaves an unsmiling Yelburton.
INT. GITTES OFFICE
Gittes enters, drops his hat on Sophie’s desk. Sophie tries
to tell him something but Gittes goes on into his office.
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
Thirty-five bucks daily for me, twenty
for each of my operators, plus
expenses, plus my fee if I show
He’s sitting now. Evelyn is very pale now, obviously very
Whoever’s behind my husband’s death,
why have they gone to all this
Money. How they plan to make it by
emptying the reservoirs, that I don’t
I’ll pay your salary plus five
thousand dollars if you find out
what happened to Hollis and who is
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 business
Evelyn nods. She lights another cigarette.
at her, points to
You’ve got one going, Mrs. Mulwray.
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
Over the water department, or over
Not over me. Why would they have a
falling out over me?
(noting her nervousness)
Then it was over the water department.
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
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
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 to it.
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 move along.
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.
EXT. HARBOR – SEAPLANE
Taxiing down the ramp into the sea. In a moment, it kicks up
a spray of foam and takes off.
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 plane.
(above the engines)
Well, you’re not going fishing.
Gittes shakes his head.
But that’s what you told your wife.
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 some
She ain’t exactly long in the tooth
She must be about thirty-three, thirty-
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 little thing.
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 or
We missed the best of it, didn’t we,
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.
ALBACORE CLUB – DAY
A pleasant but unobtrusive clapboard blue and white building
on the bay overlooking the harbor. The seaplane lands. A
motor launch with a burgee of a fish flying from it turns
and heads in the direction of the plane.
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 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.
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
Gittes pauses, not certain he has heard correctly.
I said horseshit.
Yes, sir, that’s what it looks like.
I’ll give you that.
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 shape.
Gittes glances down out of politeness.
Always the same.
Cross walks on. Gittes follows.
(not one to let it go)
What? Oh, damn near yes. Unless the
animal’s sick or something.
(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 breakfast.
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 that.
If you were a bank president that
would be one thing, but in your
business it’s admirable. And it’s
It doesn’t hurt.
It’s why you attract a client like
But I’m surprised you’re still working
for her, unless she’s suddenly come
up with another husband.
No. She happens to think the last
one was murdered.
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
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 say?
They’re calling it an accident.
Who’s the investigating officer?
Lou Escobar – he’s a Lieutenant.
Do you know him?
We worked in 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 the case?
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
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, do
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
This stops Gittes. He seems faintly mused by it.
Why is that funny?
It’s what the D.A. used to tell me
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 the
‘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
Yes, his girlfriend.
You mean the little chippie he was
with at the El Macando?
Yes. She’s disappeared, hasn’t she?
Doesn’t that strike you as odd?
No. She’s probably scared to death.
Wouldn’t it be useful to talk to
If Mulwray was murdered, she was
probably one of the last people to
You didn’t see Mulwray much, did
When was the last time?
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 reelection. 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 track…
Well, It was about five days ago.
You were outside the Pig ‘n Whistle
and you had one hell of an argument.
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 about?
(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 can.
I didn’t realize you and Hollis were
so fond of each other.
Cross looks hatefully at Gittes.
Hollis Mulwray made this city and he
made me a fortune… We were a lot
closer than Evelyn realized.
If you want to hire me, I still have
to know what you and Mulwray were
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
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.
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 northwest
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.
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
Say… uh… sonny.
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?
But that means that most of the
valley’s been sold in the last few
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
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 vertically.
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.
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.
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 OFF SCREEN.
Coming INTO VIEW above the arid fields is a spiraling cloud
of purple smoke. Gittes heads in that direction.
Gittes parks at the edge of the field. About twenty yards
away is a man mounted on a strange machine, holding a lid
Billowing lavender clouds are belching forth.
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 looking
The Rainmaker now glances down at Gittes, who as usual is
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.
(glancing around at
the desolate, dry
Do you have any references?
RAINMAKER & GITTES
City of La Habra Heights filled an
800,000 gallon reservoir with sixteen
inches of rain in two days.
That’s swell. But how about here?
(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 their land.
Yeah, I’ll do that.
Is now covered with a film of dust:
He reaches a fork in the dirt road. There are a couple of
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 on it.
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 light breeze.
Then a SHOTGUN BLAST abruptly strips bare the branches of
the tree he’d been staring at.
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 orchard lanes.
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
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 SHOTGUN BLAST.
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 crutch.
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.
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 heavily.
RED FACED FARMER
All right, mister. Who you with?
Water department or the real estate
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 own
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 either
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
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 Oakie.
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.
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.
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 embarrassed.
FRONT PORCH – RED FACE FARMER’S HOUSE – REACTION – GITTES –
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
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
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 him.
EXT. DUBOIS FARMHOUSE – EVENING
Evelyn and Gittes go out to her car, the cream colored
Dubois accompanies them, along with the Big Farmer who is
carrying a crate of something. Gittes has cleaned himself up
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.
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 acre.
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
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
Everything you can see, everything
around us. I was at the Hall of
(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
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 ago.
Is that unusual?
Two weeks ago he bought those 25,000
acres. That’s unusual.
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.
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
Hello there, I’m Mr. Palmer. Can I
help you folks?
Then he gets a clear look at Gittes, bruised, trousers torn,
Yes, I sure hope so. It’s Dad.
I just can’t handle him anymore, can
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 father.
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
Evelyn stares back at Gittes, amused and appalled. She manages
Just to be certain, I wonder if you
could show us a list of your patients?
(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
Would you mind if we took a stroll
on our own?
Just, if you will, confine yourself
to the main building. It’s nearly
We understand, c’mon, sweetheart.
He takes Evelyn.
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
Gittes grabs Evelyn’s hand.
They’re all here. Every goddam name.
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.
the ancients around
You’re looking at the owners of a
50,000 acre empire.
They can’t be.
They may not know it but they are.
Gittes strolls toward the women knitting and working on the
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 Apple
I’ve been wanting to meet you.
Did you know that you’re a very
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
Gittes looks at the quilt. In it is the head of a fish among
the rest of the crazy quilt pattern. Gittes spots it.
That’s just lovely.
He looks through the quilt for other pieces of the fish,
comes across the tail and by it the initials A.C.
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 front.
AT THE ENTRANCE HALL – MULVIHILL
Is waiting. He’s got his hand in his pocket. Evelyn looks to
The four of them stand there, Mulvihill towering over
Come on I want you to meet somebody,
(glancing from Palmer
Can we leave the lady out of this?
(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 floor.
(as Mulvihill hits
the floor, to Evelyn)
What are you waiting for? Get in the
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
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
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.
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.
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. Gittes turns.
(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
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. I’m asking.
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.
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, doesn’t
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.
INT. BATHROOM – MIRROR
Gittes pulls the plaster off his nose, stares at it in the
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.
(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
…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?
They’re very close now as she’s going over a mouse very near
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 about it?
There’s something black in the green
part of your eye.
Oh that… It’s a flaw in the iris…
(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 around him.
INT. MULWRAY BEDROOM – TELEPHONE
On a nightstand, city lights visible through the open window
behind it. It is RINGING. Evelyn’s arm reaches INTO SHOT.
SOUND of something hitting the headboard. Gittes moans.
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… ‘bye.
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 you.
Where are you going?
Please!… Trust me this much…
(she kisses him lightly)
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.
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 might do.
Do? To who?
Mulwray’s girlfriend, for one thing.
He wanted to know where she was.
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
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
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
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.
EXT. MULWRAY HOME – GITTES
Running across the driveway to the garage. There are two
Mulwray’s Buick and Evelyn’s Packard.
Gittes moves over to the Buick, opens the passenger’s door.
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
Slides out across the seat, slams the door.
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.
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.
GITTES DRIVING – NIGHT
Behind the wheel of Mulwray’s car, keeping a healthy distance
from Evelyn in front of him.
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.
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 Evelyn’s.
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.
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
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
There’s an inch or so of space at the bottom.
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
The girl reluctantly does.
Continues to watch.
EXT. STREET – EVELYN – NIGHT
Emerges from the house, goes to her car and gets in.
Evelyn sees Gittes sitting in her car, staring coldly at
Okay, give me the keys.
It’s either that or you drive to the
C’mon, Mrs. Mulwray. You’ve got your
husband’s girlfriend tied up in there!
She’s not tied up!
You know what I mean. You’re keeping
her there against her will.
I am not!
Then let’s go talk to her.
Gittes starts to get out of the car. Evelyn grabs his arm,
Her intensity actually rips Gittes’ already partially torn
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
You mean she just found out?
That’s not what it looks like, Mrs.
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 tell
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.
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
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
…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.
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 it.
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
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
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
Before Gittes can say anything, the phone clicks dead.
EXT. CERRITOS TOWER ROAD – HOLLYWOOD HILLS – EARLY MORNING
Gittes pulls up. It is a bungalow courtyard with a very narrow
walkway and sickly green stucco.
EXT. IDA SESSIONS’ APARTMENT – DAY
Gittes at the front door. It’s slightly ajar. He knocks.
Nothing. He opens it and enters.
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.
Clearing the kitchen counter, Gittes sees IDA SESSIONS lying
on her back on the floor, surrounded by the groceries from a
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
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 slightly ajar.
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?
(turning toward other
Let me show you something.
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
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
(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
Escobar steps between the two.
(to other Assistant)
(Escobar pulls out a
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 veranda.
(no point in denying
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 home.
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
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
Gittes is surprised at this piece of information, but remains
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 died.
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,
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 Pass Reservoir?
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 him.
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
The men around Escobar look to him. Escobar grudgingly nods.
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.
A THIRD ASSISTANT runs down the side of the cliff and Over
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 last week.
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
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 right now.
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
The Maid opens the door abruptly, stares in some surprise at
Where’s Mrs. Mulwray?
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
Is Mrs. Mulwray going someplace?…
on a trip?… vacation?…
No esta in casa.
Gittes nods. He continues through the house and out back to
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Gittes pushes past him. Evelyn, looking a little worn but
glad to see him hurries to the door. She takes Gittes’ arm.
How are you? I was calling you.
She looks at him, searching his face.
They move into the living room. Gittes is looking around it.
Did you get some sleep?
Did you have lunch? Kyo will fix you
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 catch.
Gittes doesn’t answer. He goes to the phone and dials.
J. J. Gittes for Lieutenant Escobar
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
(evenly but with great
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
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
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 license.
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,
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
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.
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 defend herself.
I said the truth!
She’s my sister.
Gittes slaps her again.
She’s my daughter.
Gittes slaps her again.
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, sobbing.
I said I want the truth.
(almost screaming it)
She’s my sister and my daughter!
Kyo comes running down the stairs.
(continuing; in Chinese)
For God’s sake, Kyo, keep her
upstairs, go back!
Kyo turns after staring at Gittes for a moment then goes
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 face
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?
On his day off. Get the exact address.
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 his
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 re-emerges.
He lives at 1712 Alameda… do you
know where that is?
REACTION – GITTES
He nods slowly.
Sure. It’s Chinatown.
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
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
(not even bothering
to look around the
Come on in, Lou. We’re both too late.
Escobar and his minions appear from either side of the door.
Looks like she flew the coop.
I don’t suppose you got any idea
Where she went?
Matter of fact I do.
Her maid’s house. I think she knows
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 Pedro.
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
Escobar shakes his head. For a moment it looks like it means
You never learn, do you, Gittes?
(a little chagrined)
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
He’s seated at the dinner table with his father, his mother,
and his children. Curly looks up in surprise.
Mr. Gittes! Come in, come in.
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?
How about a glass of wine? Honey,
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
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
Tell her later.
They head out the back door and down the steps toward the
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
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.
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 sick.
Forget it. How would you like to pay
me off by taking a couple of
passengers to Ensenada… you’d have
to leave tonight.
I don’t know…
I might be able to squeeze 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.
EXT. MULWRAY HOME – GITTES AND CURLY
Carry bags out to Curly’s car. Curly opens the door for the
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 the
(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.
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 CAMERA.
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,
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 lungs.
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?
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 doing it.
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
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 want?
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 afford?
(a long moment, then:)
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, Claude?
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
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.
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
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 of
Rises to his feet. Mulvihill starts to help Cross up.
No, don’t help him. Don’t do anything.
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
Evelyn is backing up. Cross moving on her. Evelyn cocks the
How many years have I got?… she’s
She’s never going to know that.
There’s the SOUND of a SIREN. Cross lunges toward her. Gittes
Duffy and Walsh are elbowing through the crowd. Gittes sees
Duffy, go over and sit on Mulvihill.
Jesus Christ, I didn’t tell you to
bring the police department with
Jake, it’s Chinatown. They’re all
over the place. You oughta know
(to Walsh, meaning
Gimme your keys. Watch this old fart,
(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.
She looks to Gittes. He looks at her. She turns and he looks
She turns and 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 Escobar
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
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
Gittes rushes to the car. He opens it. Evelyn falls out,
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
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.”
THE END[amazonjs asin=”B003V2RVU6″ locale=”JP” title=”チャイナタウン 製作25周年記念版 DVD”]