Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century, by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley. The Robert Evans production, released by Paramount Pictures, was the director's last film in the United States and features many elements of film noir, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama.
In 1937, Evelyn Mulwray hires private investigator J. J. "Jake" Gittes to follow her husband, Hollis Mulwray, chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who she believes is having an affair. Gittes tails him, hears him publicly refuse to create a new reservoir that would be unsafe, and later shoots photographs of him with a young woman, which are published on the front page of the following day's paper. Back at his office, Gittes is confronted by a woman who informs him she is the real Evelyn Mulwray and to expect a lawsuit.