Danger and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Chinatown One of the central elements in Roman Polanski’s film Chinatown (1974) is the dangers inherent in the pursuit of knowledge. In one key scene, Noah Cross warns Jake that: “you may think you know what you’re dealing with–but believe me, you don’t” (Towne, 80). This implies that secrets are lurking underneath the surface of the narrative that are best left untouched. Gittes begins an investigation that takes him into the dark underbelly of the upper classes of Los Angeles where wealth and power undercut morality. He encounters violence, and a willingness to go to any lengths to maintain the most shameful of secrets. John Belton, in his article, “Language, Oedipus and Chinatown,” writes that:...The end:
.....me to protect, Evelyn Mulwray and her daughter. Jake’s success and failure in this intersection of the film’s plot ultimately explains what makes Chinatown one of the greatest noir films of the twentieth century.f Works Cited Belton, John. "Language, Oedipus, and Chinatown." MLN 106.5 (1991): 933-50. Print. Towne, Robert. Chinatown ; the Last Detail : Screenplays. 1st ed. New York: Grove Press, 1997. Print. Towne, Robert, et al.Chinatown. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway John Hillerman Perry Lopez Burt Young Bruce Glover Joe Mantell Roy Jenson Diane Ladd Dick Bakalyan John Huston. Widescreen collection. videorecording. Paramount,, Hollywood, CA, 1999. Vernon, Shetley. "Incest and Capital in "Chinatown"." MLN 114.5 (1999): 1092-109. Print.