The Two Jakes (1990)

R | 137 mins | Mystery | 10 August 1990

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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Ian Wexler, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.

The Two Jakes is a sequel to the 1974 film Chinatown (see entry).
              Robert Evans, who produced Chinatown , was slated to continue as producer for the sequel and, as reported in 21 Jun 1976 HR and 1 Dec 1976 Var news items, had negotiated for Jack Nicholson to return to the role of “Jake Gittes” and for Dustin Hoffman to play “Jake Berman,” with the intention of beginning production in 1977. Chinatown director Roman Polanski was unable to work in the United States after taking up residence in France to avoid a California jail sentence that would have resulted from his guilty plea to a charge of having unlawful sex with a minor in Feb 1978, and screenwriter Robert Towne replaced him as director of the sequel. According a 9 May 1985 LAT article, Evans, who began his film career as an actor, was contracted to play the role of Berman, as the part was written for him by Towne, a longtime friend and colleague. As described in articles from 23 Jan 1985 in LAT and Dec 1989 in Los Angeles Magazine , Towne, Evans and Nicholson jump-started the project by forming the independent production companies T.E.N. Productions, based on an acronym of their names Towne-Evans-Nicholson, and Two Jakes Productions, to collectively profit from the venture. In return for sacrificing their ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Ian Wexler, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.

The Two Jakes is a sequel to the 1974 film Chinatown (see entry).
              Robert Evans, who produced Chinatown , was slated to continue as producer for the sequel and, as reported in 21 Jun 1976 HR and 1 Dec 1976 Var news items, had negotiated for Jack Nicholson to return to the role of “Jake Gittes” and for Dustin Hoffman to play “Jake Berman,” with the intention of beginning production in 1977. Chinatown director Roman Polanski was unable to work in the United States after taking up residence in France to avoid a California jail sentence that would have resulted from his guilty plea to a charge of having unlawful sex with a minor in Feb 1978, and screenwriter Robert Towne replaced him as director of the sequel. According a 9 May 1985 LAT article, Evans, who began his film career as an actor, was contracted to play the role of Berman, as the part was written for him by Towne, a longtime friend and colleague. As described in articles from 23 Jan 1985 in LAT and Dec 1989 in Los Angeles Magazine , Towne, Evans and Nicholson jump-started the project by forming the independent production companies T.E.N. Productions, based on an acronym of their names Towne-Evans-Nicholson, and Two Jakes Productions, to collectively profit from the venture. In return for sacrificing their salaries, Paramount agreed to a budget of $12 to $13 million and a cap of $6 million on its standard thirty percent distribution fee, which would have enabled Towne, Evans and Nicholson to share profits after Paramount recouped production costs and the distribution cap was met. Due to this arrangement, The Two Jakes was technically an independent production. Paramount consented to fund the entire project because they were entitled to independent production incentives, as they would in a negative pick-up deal, which allowed them to pay for the production after shooting and save up to 15% in overhead costs. Evans announced his intent to play Berman as part of the deal, and various contemporary sources, including Los Angeles Magazine , speculated that this reflected an attempt to redeem his reputation after much publicized controversies surrounding The Cotton Club (1984), including the murder of that film’s financer, Roy Radin, and Evans’s rumored problems with cocaine addiction. Kelly McGillis, Cathy Moriarty, Dennis Hooper and Harvey Keitel were also cast, sets were under construction and props, such as classic cars, were purchased and prepared for production to begin.
       After shooting several test scenes in Apr 1985, however, Towne and Paramount were dissatisfied with Evans’s performance and, after difficult deliberations, Evans was fired four days before production was scheduled to begin. On top of existing problems in pre-production, including grievances filed by 120 crew members who had not been paid, over $500,000 in back salary claims from Screen Actor Guild (SAG) and Directors Guild of America (DGA) members, and $1.5 million of debt to suppliers of sets, props, costumes and sound stages who were also filing lawsuits, Nicholson refused to continue if Evans was dismissed, according to the 9 May 1985 LAT article, and the project was postponed indefinitely. Paramount, whose loss on the film totaled $4 million, claimed no legal obligation to crew members but, according to various contemporary sources, including a 9 Aug 1985 HR article, paid over $200,000 to the California Division of Labor and Standards to settle their claims. As reported in a 14 May 1985 HR news item and in Los Angeles Magazine , the sets, including Gittes’ office and the Morning Glory Bar and Grill, were dismantled and disposed of in their final stages of construction.
       Despite cessation of production, various efforts were made to keep the project alive. A 23 May 1985 HR article reports that although Paramount owned the sequel rights to Chinatown , other major studios, including 20th Century Fox and MGM/UA, were vying to buy the project. According to a 31 May 1985 DV news item, however, negotiations were denied by both MGM/UA chairman Alan Ladd Jr., Towne and a lawyer representing Nicholson. The 9 Aug 1985 HR article also announced a potential resurrection of the project with Dino De Laurentiis as producer, Harrison Ford in the role of Gittes, and Towne remaining as director. The proposed deal would have changed the title of the film and not identify it as a sequel to Chinatown . Various contemporary news sources, including HR on 20 May 1985, reported that John Huston, who played Noah Cross in Chinatown , was under consideration for taking over as director of The Two Jakes , but these claims were denied by Towne. In May 1986, The Cannon Group initiated negotiations to acquire the film. According to news items on 15 May 1986 in DV and on 29 May 1986 in HR , however, Evans was uncooperative about selling his stake in the project and losing his credit as producer. A 30 May 1986 HR news item reports that The Cannon Group was willing to give Evans credit as line-producer, but Evans refused to accept this role and would not agree to the deal unless he had “full control.”
       Meanwhile Nicholson’s career prospered with critically acclaimed roles in Prizzi’s Honor (1985) and Heartburn (1986). According to Los Angeles Magazine , Nicholson’s involvement in Heartburn was elemental to the resurrection of The Two Jakes . Production on Heartburn was suspended when actor Mandy Patinkin was let go. Nicholson consented to a request from Frank Mancuso, Sr. to step into the lead role with only three days notice. Mancuso was indebted to Nicholson, and wanted Paramount to maintain control over The Two Jakes , so negotiations between Nicholson and Mancuso in Sep 1988 resulted in reviving the project with Nicholson as director. As reported in Los Angeles Magazine , Towne sold the rights to his script to Paramount for approximately $1.5 million and points, but retained his role as writer. Nicholson insisted on significant rewrites to Towne’s script, which he found convoluted, and held out on signing his own contract with Paramount until Towne delivered an acceptable revision. Evans’ credit as producer was also preserved, although Paramount, not T.E.N. Productions, had authority over all finances and distribution rights. Producer Harold Schneider, who had previously worked with Nicholson, was hired to keep the budget under control and monitor the production on-set, as Evans’s direct involvement was reportedly waning. A 3 Mar 1989 DV news item announced Schneider’s participation in the project, as well as the casting of Harvey Keitel as Berman.
       As reported in HR production charts on 25 Apr 1989, shooting began on 18 Apr 1989 in Los Angeles. Locations included Hollywood’s Max Factor Building and Dresden Restaurant, a nursery in Malibu, and Nicholson’s own residence, as described in production notes from AMPAS Library files. Principal photography wrapped 26 Jul 1989 at Nicholson’s home, according to a 27 Jul 1989 DV news item. A 1 Nov 1989 Var report describes several delays in releasing the film, making it ineligible for Academy Award consideration in 1989. Speculation that the delays reflected conflicts between Evans, Schneider and Paramount, and that the 144 minute running time of Nicholson’s cut of the film was problematic for studio executives, were denied by representatives from all parties.
       Despite fairly positive reviews from LAT and NYT on 10 Aug 1990, The Two Jakes was not a box-office success and grossed under $10 million. Various reviews, including DV on 8 Aug 1990, criticized the density and slow pace of Towne’s script. As noted by LAT and NYT , Nicholson’s voiceover narration throughout the film, which was added to the script by Nicholson during production despite objections from Towne, helped to clarify the plot.
       Songwriter Willard Robison’s name is misspelled “Robinson” in the end credits.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily News
17 Mar 1986.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1978.
---
Daily Variety
5 Apr 1985.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 1985.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1985
p. 1, 25.
Daily Variety
9 May 1985.
---
Daily Variety
10 May 1985
p. 1, 35.
Daily Variety
14 May 1985
p. 1, 19.
Daily Variety
16 May 1985.
---
Daily Variety
20 May 1985
p. 1, 13.
Daily Variety
31 May 1985
p. 1, 31.
Daily Variety
12 May 1986.
---
Daily Variety
15 May 1986.
---
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1989.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1989.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jul 1989.
---
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1990
p. 2, 9.
Detroit Free Press
18 May 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1985
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1985
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1985
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1985
p. 1, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 1985
p. 1, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1985
p. 1, 61.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1985
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 May 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 May 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1990
p. 5, 20.
LAHExam
19 Jul 1984.
---
LAHExam
27 Jun 1989.
---
LAHExam
1 Aug 1989.
---
Los Angeles Magazine
Dec 1989.
pp. 173-180.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jan 1985
p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
9 May 1985
p. 1, 7.
Los Angeles Times
10 Aug 1990
p. 1, 26.
New York
23 Dec 1985.
---
New York Times
10 Aug 1990
p. 1.
Variety
1 Dec 1976.
---
Variety
15 May 1985
p. 4, 38.
Variety
29 May 1985.
---
Variety
26 Jun 1985.
---
Variety
27 Jul 1989.
---
Variety
1 Nov 1989.
---
Variety
8 Aug 1990
p. 49.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Evans Harold Schneider production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Cable person
Video playback
Video playback equip supplied by
Still photog
Projectionist
Projectionist
Projectionist
Cranes and dollys by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Asst prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop person
Lead person
Lead person
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Const coord
Labor foreperson
Supv signwriter
Prod painter
Prop foreperson
Prop foreperson
Prop foreperson
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Painter
Laborer
Stage facilities provided by
Photographic backgrounds by
Photographic backgrounds by
Photographic backgrounds by
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus ed
Mus score mixer
Orch and orch cond by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff rec
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff equip supplied by
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Main title des by
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Hair des by
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting asst
Extra casting
Extra casting
Extra casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod office coord
Prod secy
A.F.I. intern
Personal asst to Mr. Nicholson
Asst to Mr. Nicholson
Asst to Mr. Schneider
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod office asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
First aid
First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Public relations
Research
Legal tech consultant
Tech consultant
Period golf clubs supplied by
Period golf clubs supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Mr. Nicholson stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Robert Towne.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Don't Smoke in Bed," by Willard Robinson [sic], performed by Peggy Lee, courtesy of Capital Records, by arrangement with Cema Special Markets
"(Don't Telephone, Don't Telegraph) Tell a Woman," by Tex Williams and Al Stewart, performed by Tex Williams, courtesy of Capitol Records, by arrangement with Cema Special Markets
"Till Then," by Eddie Seiler, Sol Marcus and Guy Wood
+
SONGS
"Don't Smoke in Bed," by Willard Robinson [sic], performed by Peggy Lee, courtesy of Capital Records, by arrangement with Cema Special Markets
"(Don't Telephone, Don't Telegraph) Tell a Woman," by Tex Williams and Al Stewart, performed by Tex Williams, courtesy of Capitol Records, by arrangement with Cema Special Markets
"Till Then," by Eddie Seiler, Sol Marcus and Guy Wood
"Sleepy Lagoon," by Jack Lawrence and Eric Coates
"To Each His Own," by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
"Tumbling Tumbleweeds," by Bob Nolan, performed by Sons of the Pioneers, courtesy of RCA Records, Cassettes and CD's
"You Can't Be True Dear," by Gerhard Ebeler, Hal Cotton, Hans Otten and Ken Griffin, performed by Ken Griffin, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
"The Whistler," by Wilbur Hatch
"Twilight Time," by Buck Ram, Morty Nevins and Al Nevins
"My Ideal," by Newell Chase, Richard Whiting and Leo Robin
'Sophisticated Lady," by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish
"Everything I Have is Yours," by Burton Lane and Harold Adamson, performed by Billy Eckstein, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
"When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," by Leon Rene, performed by The Ink Spots, courtesy of MCA Records
"Haunted Heart," by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, performed by Jo Stafford, courtesy of Capitol Records, by arrangement with Cema Special Markets
"Ajax Jingle," by Joe Rines.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 August 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 10 August 1990
New York opening: week of 10 August 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
24 August 1990
Copyright Number:
PA511763
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
137
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29893
SYNOPSIS

In 1948 Los Angeles, private detective J. J. “Jake” Gittes coaches client Jake Berman about how to confront his adulterous wife, Kitty, as an earthquake shakes his office. Later, Gittes and his assistant, Ralph Tilton, make a wire recording of Berman’s altercation in an adjacent hotel room. When Berman’s rehearsed speech erupts into gunshots and screaming, Gittes finds that Berman has murdered Kitty’s lover. On the steps of City Hall, Gittes encounters Captain Lou Escobar, a rival from his days on the police force, who takes him to the Homicide Division. When Homicide’s Lt. Loach orders Gittes to leave, Gittes runs into Berman’s lawyer, Cotton Weinberger, who tells him that Berman’s realty company, B & B Homes, was co-owned by the man he killed, Mark Bodine. Gittes returns to his office to find Tilton fighting with Bodine’s widow, Lillian. She drunkenly accuses Gittes of conspiring with the Bermans to kill her husband, and when he is unable to prevent her from driving, Gittes knocks Lillian out and tells Tilton to take her home. While listening to the recording and its reference to a delivery, Gittes receives a call from Weinberger, who asks to hear the tape. As Gittes puts the phone to the recorder’s speaker, a second earthquake hits and the power goes out. Later that night, while Gittes sleeps on his office couch, a man breaks in and attempts to steal the tape, but the power returns and he flees empty-handed. As the recording restarts, it wakes Gittes. He is surprised to hear the name of Katherine Mulwray, the daughter of his former client and lover, Evelyn, ... +


In 1948 Los Angeles, private detective J. J. “Jake” Gittes coaches client Jake Berman about how to confront his adulterous wife, Kitty, as an earthquake shakes his office. Later, Gittes and his assistant, Ralph Tilton, make a wire recording of Berman’s altercation in an adjacent hotel room. When Berman’s rehearsed speech erupts into gunshots and screaming, Gittes finds that Berman has murdered Kitty’s lover. On the steps of City Hall, Gittes encounters Captain Lou Escobar, a rival from his days on the police force, who takes him to the Homicide Division. When Homicide’s Lt. Loach orders Gittes to leave, Gittes runs into Berman’s lawyer, Cotton Weinberger, who tells him that Berman’s realty company, B & B Homes, was co-owned by the man he killed, Mark Bodine. Gittes returns to his office to find Tilton fighting with Bodine’s widow, Lillian. She drunkenly accuses Gittes of conspiring with the Bermans to kill her husband, and when he is unable to prevent her from driving, Gittes knocks Lillian out and tells Tilton to take her home. While listening to the recording and its reference to a delivery, Gittes receives a call from Weinberger, who asks to hear the tape. As Gittes puts the phone to the recorder’s speaker, a second earthquake hits and the power goes out. Later that night, while Gittes sleeps on his office couch, a man breaks in and attempts to steal the tape, but the power returns and he flees empty-handed. As the recording restarts, it wakes Gittes. He is surprised to hear the name of Katherine Mulwray, the daughter of his former client and lover, Evelyn, come up in conversation between Kitty and Bodine in the heat of passion. Noticing a muddy footprint in his office, Gittes puts the recording in a safe under his desk and receives a threatening call from an intoxicated Lillian. Rushing to her home, Gittes hauls Lillian to the bathroom and orders Tilton to call a doctor. Later, Bodine’s attorney, Chuck Newty, introduces himself to Gittes and says that the B & B partners were positioned to inherit up to $6 million in the event of either man’s demise, not their wives. He suggests that Berman exploited his wife’s infidelity to attain the money and notes that Gittes’s work for Berman made him an accomplice. Later, Gittes drives along Mulwray Drive to a burgeoning B & B housing development in the San Fernando Valley. In a model home, Gittes warns Berman that Kitty is also an accessory in Bodine’s murder because they share the inheritance. Department of Water and Power employee, Tyrone Otley, informs Berman that the recent earthquakes are shaking natural gas into water wells under the houses and warns there is a danger of explosion. After Otley leaves, Gittes accuses Berman of premeditated murder, but Berman claims he didn’t know the identity of Kitty’s lover. When Gittes inquires if Berman was familiar with the land’s previous owners, Berman denies the connection between himself and the Mulwrays and bids Gittes farewell. Gittes offers to decline testifying against Berman if he guarantees Lillian her husband’s share of the sub-division, but Berman contends that Gittes does not know what is really going on. Before leaving, Gittes sits on a covered well and lights a cigarette, setting off a natural gas explosion. When he regains consciousness, Gittes unsuccessfully attempts to ascertain from Kitty and Berman who they purchased the land from. Later, back in his office, Gittes looks through Evelyn’s file and stops at an article with the headline: “Chinatown Police Shoot and Kill Evelyn Mulwray as Daughter Looks On.” He then reads a private letter from Evelyn and finds a photo of Kahn, her butler. When Gittes visits Kahn on the Mulwray property to ask about Katherine, he learns that they have been estranged. Noticing unusual purple flowers, Gittes discovers that Katherine bred them and that the hues come from burning the seeds. In the evening, Gittes returns to his office to find gangster Mickey “Nice” Weisskopf and his henchman, Liberty Levine. As Levine puts a grenade in Gittes’s hand and Nice removes the pin, Gittes is ordered to destroy the Berman recording that Nice believes is hidden in the safe below Gittes’s desk. At gunpoint, Gittes puts the grenade in the safe, but after it explodes, Nice realizes the tape is not there and uses violence to intimidate Gittes into bringing him the recording by the following day. When Gittes returns to consciousness, Lillian is watching over him. She tells Gittes that Berman and Nice were best friends from childhood and asks Gittes to testify against Berman and to give her the recording, but Gittes tells her that Berman agreed to give her Bodine’s share of the subdivision. While she steps into the other room call her lawyer, Gittes opens a hidden wall safe and removes the tape. When Lillian reports that Newty told her not to accept the money, Gittes plays the recorded discussion about Katherine. Upset by hearing shots fired on the tape, Lillian attempts to leave the office, but then seduces Gittes. Later, Gittes reviews the title and insurance reports of Berman’s development for B & B homes and learns that the land, previously owned by Katherine, was transferred to Nice before it was sold to Berman. Gittes then gets a call from Tilton, who tells him that someone else has been shadowing Berman. When Gittes goes to Bay City Linen to investigate, Tilton informs him that Berman, Nice, Levine and a blonde woman are meeting inside. Observing Newty deliver an envelope, Gittes follows him to a Rawley Petroleum Co. oil field. Later, Gittes looks through Tilton’s photos of Berman with the mysterious blonde woman before entering a salon to find Kitty donning a facial mask. After arguing about Berman’s motives for killing Bodine, Gittes informs Kitty that Berman has been having an affair. He offers to trade the woman’s identity for clarification of the recording’s conversation, but Kitty contends that she is unconvinced of her husband’s guilt. Visiting the notary public who oversaw the transfer of titles between Katherine and Nice, Gittes learns that land mineral rights are retained by the original owner. Later, Gittes returns to Rawley’s oil field, and Rawley tells him that Bodine was terrified to discover Berman’s connection to Nice. When Gittes speculates that Rawley is trying to secure oil underneath the B & B subdivision through the mineral rights, Rawley explains the best oil is on the coast, not in the valley. As a whipstocking truck pulls up, however, Rawley tells the driver to return inland and explains that whipstocking is a way of coaxing oil drills into the ground. That evening, Gittes goes to a gay bar to meet Otley, who shows him a camera that works as a compass underground. Otley tells Gittes that the device proves Rawley is drilling toward the subdivision and that whipstocking creates seismic activity, putting hundreds of people in danger. Gittes is then confronted by Nice, who owns the bar, but as he harasses Gittes with an ice pick, a Bay City Linen deliveryman informs Nice of a police raid. At the station, Lt. Loach provokes Gittes by referring to the rape and incest that produced Katherine and suggests that Gittes extorted money from the Mulwray family to keep quiet. When Gittes reveals that Loach’s father was the officer who shot Evelyn in front of Katherine, the men fight and Gittes sticks Loach’s gun in his mouth, causing him to urinate. As Gittes is dragged out, he notices two Bay City Linen deliverymen and is reminded of the recording. Back in his office, Gittes looks at crime scene photographs while listening to the tape. When Weinberger calls to inform him that Escobar obtained a court order for the recording and he will face imprisonment unless he turns it over, Gittes notices a discrepancy in the photographs and realizes that the delivery discussed on the tape referred to a chair. Eager to provide Kitty with proof of her husband’s guilt, Gittes rushes to the Berman home in a Bay City Linen truck. Unloading the chair and turning it over, Gittes reveals a holster for the gun that killed Bodine. Gittes tells Kitty that the chair was delivered to the hotel room by Nice’s men forty-five minutes before she and Bodine arrived. When Berman sees the chair, Gittes tells him he wants to make a new deal. Later, they meet on a golf course and Berman offers Gittes up to $300,000, but Gittes declines and again inquires how Berman got Katherine’s land. Berman tells him that it was Katherine’s idea, and that she is alive and well, but when Gittes asks him to put him in touch with her, Berman threatens to kill Gittes if he does not give him the recording. Berman then passes out and is sent to the hospital with the blonde woman from Tilton’s photographs. Gittes follows them to a clinic and finds a medical certificate that indicates the woman is Berman’s physician, not his lover. Looking at an X-ray, Gittes discovers that Berman is fatally ill. Back at the Berman home, Kitty tells Gittes to hand over the recording to the police, but he says he wants answers from her before the hearing. She reveals no knowledge of Berman’s ill health but discloses that Bodine mentioned Katherine because he was trying to obtain the mineral rights from her. She contests, however, that Berman would not have killed Bodine for this reason. When Gittes notices the flower pendant on Kitty’s necklace and she explains that the color of the flower changes by burning the seeds, he realizes that Kitty is Katherine and confesses his desire to protect her over the years. The following day in court, the judge asks to hear the recording. Listening to the tape skip over the conversation about Katherine, Lillian yells in protest. After order is restored, the judge asks Gittes about the context of Bodine’s statement when he refers to “Jake.” Gittes claims that Bodine’s statement was not directed toward Berman. Rather, Bodine was referring to himself, “Jake” Gittes, when Gittes and Tilton were taking photographs of the scene, and, in his anger, Bodine drew a gun to stop them. When the prosecuting attorney, Francis Hannah, argues that Gittes was not in the room until the after the first shot, Gittes reasons that he was at the scene but he was not certain when the shots were fired. After informing the judge that the gun was registered to Bodine, Hannah attempts to discredit Gittes by mentioning his recent arrest at the gay bar, but as the court erupts in laughter, the judge dismisses the case and reprimands Hannah for his poor evidence. Later, Gittes visits Berman at the B & B model home. Berman admits to his illness and tells Gittes that Bodine blackmailed him for the mineral rights by threatening to expose Kitty as Katherine. Blaming himself for Kitty’s suffering, Berman sobs as another earthquake strikes. When Nice reports that oil is spilling from the toilet, Gittes tells Berman that Rawley and Bodine were secretly drilling under the sub-division. As Gittes and Nice leave, Berman says he wants to stay and smoke a cigarette. Knowing the consequence of lighting a match in a house filled with gas, Berman sacrifices his life to protect Kitty from learning about his illness, and while Gittes drives away, the house explodes. Some time later in his office, Gittes plays a recording for Katherine. On the tape, Berman confesses to his illness, apologizes for not being able to protect Katherine and asks for forgiveness. Angry that neither man told the truth, Katherine asks Gittes if the past will ever stop haunting her. As she attempts to kiss Gittes, he pulls away and warns that she does not know when she is deluding herself. Before leaving, Katherine asks Gittes to remember her and gives him her necklace. When she is halfway down the stairs, Gittes runs to his office door and calls out: “It never goes away.” +

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.