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Discussing the Oscar-winning screenplay of ‘Chinatown’ with its screenwriter, Robert Towne

'Chinatown' film screening at the Ace Hotel on Aug 4, 2018.
'Chinatown' film screening at the Ace Hotel on Aug 4, 2018.
KPCC's Quincy Surasmith

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The 1974 classic film “Chinatown” tops some of the most prestigious “best film” lists and is studied for everything from its score to its cinematography. But at the time it was released, it won only one Oscar: for best screenplay.

Last Saturday, after the FilmWeek screening of the film at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, we sat down with Robert Towne, the screenwriter of “Chinatown,” as well as KPCC film critic Claudia Puig, to discuss the process of writing the script, the casting and and where the film got its title.


Robert Towne, screenwriter of “Chinatown”

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; she tweets @ClaudiaPuig