How well do you remember "Chinatown"?


By: Susan McDonald

7 Min Quiz

Image: Paramount-Penthouse

About This Quiz

More than 40 years after its release, many people can still quote some of the most memorable lines from Roman Polanski's 1974 film, "Chinatown." Starring Jack Nicholson as private eye Jake Gittes, the film is both a mystery and a psychological drama. How much do you remember about it?

In the film's opening scene, private detective Jake Gittes is showing a client named Curly a series of photos. What do the pictures show?

The movie begins with Jake talking with a client named Curly. As Curly looks at a series of photos, he is devastated to learn that his suspicions were correct. His wife has been seeing another man.


Why does Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray want to hire Jake?

Mrs. Mulwray comes to Jake for a common complaint -- she thinks her husband is having an affair. This is a large part of Jake's business.


Why does Jake discourage Mrs. Mulwray from hiring him?

It seems odd to turn away business, but Jake suggests that Mrs. Mulwray go home and forget about the issue. He tells her she will be happier and better off not knowing the truth if her husband is actually being unfaithful.


What is Hollis Mulwray's job?

Hollis Mulwray is chief engineer for the city's water and power department. As such, he is instrumental in the decision to build a dam and create a new reservoir for the city.


Why does Mulwray say he is opposed to building a new dam?

Mulwray tells a roomful of attendees at a meeting that he is not in favor of the dam proposal and, in fact, refuses to build it. He was part of a previous project in which a dam collapsed and he is certain this one will have the same fate, given the type of ground on which it is going to be built.


Why does a man bring a herd of sheep to the meeting about the new dam?

The meeting about the proposed dam is interrupted when a farmer enters the room with a herd of sheep. Since the area is experiencing an extreme drought, the man is making the point that he and other farmers don't have enough water for their crops and their livestock.


The first time Jake follows Mulwray, where does he go?

Jake is confused as he follows Mulwray to several locations. First he goes to a dry, desert area where he speaks briefly to a boy on a horse. Next he goes to the ocean and finally to the home of a blonde woman Jake assumes is his mistress.


What does Jake place under Mulwray's tire when he leaves the scene?

After tracking Mulwray to the home of a mysterious woman, Jake places a watch under the rear tire of his car and leaves. His associates later are able to tell Jake the exact time Mulwray left because he drove over the watch and stopped it from working.


After the photos he took are published in the newspaper, who comes to Jake's office to confront him?

Jake is shocked when a woman comes to his office and tells him she is the real Evelyn Mulwray and the woman who hired him was an imposter. She threatens to file suit against him and Jake realizes someone is trying to set him up.


When Jake goes to the reservoir looking for Mulwray, the police are there. Why?

Jake asks the police why they are at the reservoir and they show him Mulwray's body. They have just fished him out of the water, where he apparently drowned.


When another drowning victim turns up, why is Jake suspicious?

It seems like an odd coincidence when another drowning victim is in the morgue at the same time as Mulwray. When Jake finds out where the body was discovered, he becomes very suspicious because the river bed is nearly dry.


What happens when Jake is confronted by Claude Mulvihill and his goon?

Mulvihill, who is the head of the water department's security force, finds Jake at the scene of Mulwray's drowning and warns him to get off the case. After Jake refuses, an "assistant" who is accompanying Mulvihill slashes Jake's nose with a knife, forcing him to wear a large bandage for several days.


Who is Ida Sessions?

Jake is surprised to receive a call from someone named Ida Sessions, who identifies herself as the woman who pretended to be Mrs. Mulwray. She refuses to tell Jake who she is working for, but tells him to check the next day's obituaries. Intrigue!


When Evelyn reveals to Jake that she knew her husband was having an affair, how does she say she felt?

Jake is surprised when Evelyn says that she knew her husband was cheating because he told her. He is even more surprised when she said she felt grateful. Eventually he gets her to admit that she had cheated on him also.


What is Jake's theory about why Mulwray was murdered?

While Evelyn refuses to accept the idea that her husband was murdered, Jake is convinced. He thinks Mulwray discovered that someone was dumping vast amounts of water from the city's reservoirs in the middle of the night -- and in the middle of a drought -- and he was killed for his knowledge.


Who is Noah Cross?

Jake discovers that Evelyn is the daughter of Noah Cross, a man he saw in a photo with Mulwray in the water department offices. This becomes even more puzzling when he learns that Cross once owned the water department and the city's water supply before it was taken over by the city, and Mulwray was his business partner.


Who does Jake think hired the fake Mrs. Mulwray?

Jake begins to suspect that the fake Evelyn was hired by Russ Yelburton, the head of the water department with whom he has met a couple of times. He hasn't figured out exactly what happened, but it is clear to him that Mulwray's death was tied to the mysterious draining of the reservoir each night and is convinced that money was to be made somehow.


Evelyn tells Jake her father and her husband stopped speaking because of this ...

Mulwray had earlier noted that he had once built a dam that broke and did a lot of damage. Evelyn tells Jake that he never forgave her father for talking him into building the dam against his better judgement and they stopped speaking.


Who does Noah Cross want Jake to find?

Jake is surprised when Cross wants to hire him to locate the woman who apparently was having an affair with Mulwray. It seems like an odd request and Jake has trouble buying the muddled reasons Cross gives him.


What does Jake discover when he visits the Hall of Records?

Jake is surprised to find that quite a bit of property is the valley has recently changed hands. This is unexpected because the drought has left the land unsuitable for farming and seemingly worthless.


What happens when Jake visits the orange grove?

Jake goes to an orange grove in the valley to investigate a clue, but he gets a nasty surprise. He is attacked by an angry group of people. Turns out they're landowners who think Jake is a water department employee trying to drive them from their property.


Who comes to pick up Jake at the orange grove?

When Jake regains consciousness, he is surprised to find Evelyn Mulwray looking down at him. Since he had told the farmers she was his client, they called her to come for him.


Why does Evelyn leave after she and Jake sleep together?

After spending the night together, Jake is surprised when Evelyn gets an early-morning phone call and insists on leaving. She refuses to tell him who called or where she is going, so naturally he follows her.


What do Jake and Evelyn discover when they visit the retirement home?

The plot thickens when Jake and Evelyn bluff their way into a retirement home, where they learn that several of its residents have recently purchased property in the valley. The problem? None of them are aware of those purchases. Another problem? Some parcels have been purchased a week or so after the death of the new owner.


When Evelyn abruptly leaves after her night with Jake, he follows her to a house and sees her embrace someone. Who is it?

Needless to say, Jake is surprised when he sees Evelyn hugging and seeming to comfort the woman her husband was sleeping with. Jake accuses her of holding the woman against her will until she reveals the truth.


Jake receives a late night call from Ida Sessions. What does he find when he arrives at her house?

Jake receives a call saying Ida wants him to come to her home, so he goes to the address he is given. Once there, he finds her on the kitchen floor, dead, surrounded by groceries she had been carrying. It appears she was ambushed.


Who is waiting for Jake at Ida's house?

As Jake is poking around Ida's house, he is confronted by Lt. Escobar and a few other officers. After finding Ida's body, the officers found Jake's number written on a kitchen cabinet and it was they who called and summoned him to the house.


Who does Escobar think killed Mulwray?

At Ida's house, Escobar confronts Jake with the photos he took of Mulwray and his blonde mistress. He theorizes that Evelyn killed her husband and has been extorting money from Jake by pretending to be a client to get him to keep her secret.


How do the police discover that Mulwray was murdered after first believing his death was an accidental drowning?

The discovery of salt water in Mulwray's lungs means he could not have drowned in the reservoir because it contains fresh water. This leads the police to realize he was drowned somewhere else and then his body was dumped into the reservoir.


When Jake goes to Evelyn's house, what information does the gardener provide to him?

As Jake wanders around the patio, the gardener, who is working at the pond, remarks that salt water is bad for the grass. Jake is shocked, realizing that this is where Mulwray was drowned, and upon further investigation, he finds a pair of glasses in the pond.


How does Jake finally get the truth from Evelyn about her relationship with Katherine, the blonde mistress?

While Evelyn has claimed that Katherine is her sister, Jake comes to believe otherwise. After Evelyn says the woman is really her daughter, Jake is still not convinced and slaps her until she reveals the truth -- Katherine is both her sister and her daughter, the result of her father raping her.


How does Jake know that the glasses found in the pond did not belong to Mulwray?

When Jake shows the glasses to Evelyn, at first she assumes they belonged to her husband. After looking at them more closely, she says they could not have been his because he didn't wear bifocals.


Who killed Mulwray?

Jake eventually discovers that Cross is heading a scheme to dry out land in the valley, force the farmers to sell, then make a fortune by bringing the land back to life and developing it. Cross confirms it, including the fact that the glasses found in the pond are his.


What does Cross want from Jake?

Jake was puzzled earlier when Cross wanted to hire him to find Katherine. It becomes clearer when he learns that Katherine is his daughter, and Cross confirms that since Evelyn has been essentially lost to him for some time, he wants the only daughter he has left.


Who shoots Cross?

After Jake is forced to take Cross to the Chinatown address where Evelyn and Katherine are hiding, Evelyn shoots her father in the arm when he approaches Katherine. As the women drive away, Evelyn is shot and killed by the police.


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