Week 2 #noirreadings

1) Read some Noir: Chinatown Screenplay

After completing the readings on film noir I decided to focus my post on one particular reading that struck me the most. The screen play for Chinatown, a 1974 noe-noir mystery film. The screen is basically a copy of the script from which the actors read their lines and blocking. Many common or reoccurring themes of film noir are found ubiquitously within the script of this play. The protagonist, J.J. Gittes, a hard boiled detective, hired to solve a simple case of adultery unravels into a much more sinister plot. Other characters involved include Mrs. Mulwray who’s husband, Hollis Mulwray, the Chief Engineer of LA’s Department of Water and Power is murdered after he discovers that large amounts of water have been released from the water reservoirs. Shifty moves being made by corrupt city officials, gangsters and enforcers. The numerous settings of the screenplay also give the plot its “noir ambience”. The plot is given an urban setting in the city of Los Angeles. Most noir films are set in urban cities because that is where most crimes are committed, in the big cities. The setting occasionally changes to more rural areas such as the water reservoirs and dams, bars, and clubs. There are many familiar themes of film noir within this story. Themes of Greed, Betrayal, Corruption, Murder, Sex, etc. For example, Betrayal is shown through Mr. Mulwray’s cheating and adultery on his wife Mrs. Mulwray. But also at the very beginning, Mr. Gittes is betrayed by an imposter Mrs. Mulwray, Ida Sessions, a woman who is paid to frame Mr. Mulwray by hiring Mr. Gittes to investigate Mr. Mulwray under the false guise of Mrs. Mulwray. Corruption is another theme that is expressed through Mr. Mulwray’s murder. Once the chief engineer of the department of water and power realized that someone is siphoning off the water supply from the reservoir to irrigate newly bought real estate, illegally. The narrative of the story is told in 1st person narrative, the audience has not outside knowledge that the protagonist doesn’t know. There is no dramatic irony in this story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *