Monday, November 29, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: #3 WGA Script of All Time - Chinatown (1974)

[Quick Summary: A p.i. is hired on an adultery case, but it turns out to be a setup, & he is plunged into a much deeper mystery revolving around LA, land, & water.]

Some people call this the perfectly structured script.

What I like most is that the problem escalates because of Gittes' character traits.

ex.  Mrs. Mulwray hires Gittes.  Gittes takes pictures of Mr. Mulwray with another woman.  There's a big scandal...except that the "Mrs. Mulwray" who hired him wasn't the actual Mrs. Mulwray. 

Gittes has many reasons not to pursue this case, yet he can't put it down.

He's curious and takes pride in his reputation.  He's offended that he was made to look bad & wants to know who set him up.

This isn't business. It's personal.

His traits (curiosity & pride) are great motivators because things get much worse.  He could back off at any time, but it's that darn curiosity that drives him to risk more & more.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The plot is convincing because Gittes is convincing. 

It all stems from believing that Gittes needing to know...& the plot is believable too.

Chinatown (1974)
by Robert Towne

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