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CHINATOWN: Director Roman Polanski's classic neo-noir detective story is set during a heat wave in 1930s Los Angeles, where residents suffer from a water shortage due to an ongoing drought. With stellar contributions from composer Jerry Goldsmith and screenwriter Robert Towne, whose script recalls the hard-boiled cynicism of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, CHINATOWN is a complex and superbly crafted period drama that has become Polanski's most critically acclaimed film. Private investigator Gittes runs a sleazy detective agency. When a client (Diane Ladd) hires him to spy on her "husband," who is rumored to be having an affair with a younger woman, Jake uncovers a plot against the man--but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Still to emerge are a sex scandal implicating the real wife (Faye Dunaway), with whom Jake is destined to become more closely acquainted, and a real estate swindle of tremendous proportions devised by her tycoon father (John Huston), backed up by a vast network of corrupt city officials and landowners who make life hell for the private eye.
THE TWO JAKES: This sequel to CHINATOWN opens in the postwar boom of 1948 as developers rapaciously exploit the natural resources of Southern California. With his small, dingy practice expanded into a thriving operation, Private Investigator Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is now a card-carrying member of the bourgeoisie and engaged to be married. He still does a divorce case occasionally, however, and it is just such a case that draws Gittes into a complicated web of intrigue and corruption involving the mysterious daughter of the dead Evelyn Mulwray. When the husband of an adulterous wife (whom Gittes is investigating) murders his wife's lover, it first appears to be a simple crime of passion. But as the case unfolds, it turns out that the victim was actually the husband's real-estate partner, and the murder may have been committed in order to gain control of a lucrative property development. In his effort to solve the mystery, Jake is forced to re-examine the painful events of his past--specifically, his love affair with Evelyn Mulwray.