Where Was Chinatown Filmed? Polanski’s Scintillating Mystery Drama From The ‘70s!!


Remember Jack Nicholson’s stellar performance in The Shining? Well, here’s another riveting mystery film, Chinatown, where Jack’s on-screen performance was highly praised. Today I’ll tell you where was Chinatown filmed, along with some other intriguing facts.

The American neo-noir film Chinatown was released in the third week of June 1974. This mystery drama movie was written by Robert Towne while Roman Polanski was at the helm of affairs.

The basic premise of Chinatown revolves around the character of J.J. Gittes, a deft private investigator who specializes in exposing extra-marital affairs. The plot thickens when the lead actor gets apprehended for false charges of murder while investigating a complex case.

The commercial performance of Chinatown was decent, more or less. This amazing film grossed over $29 million at the box office against a shooting budget of $6 million. Apart from winning 21 prestigious awards, Chinatown also managed to win an Oscar.

Are you excited to know more about this Oscar-winning film? Then without stalling any longer, let’s find out where was Chinatown filmed.

Where Was Chinatown Filmed? Let’s Know This Mystery Thriller Flick Closely!

The story of Chinatown is set in and around the city of Los Angeles. But, as per reports, during the initial stages of shooting, Polanski thought of shooting this film in and around the state of Georgia. 

Polanski was almost convinced by the idea of shooting Chinatown in Georgia, as he thought the filming tax credit offered by the state of Georgia could be utilized in other areas of production.

But, when Polanski conferred with the producers of his film, they assured him that he can shoot in expensive locations. So after gaining the confidence of the producers and other creative heads of the unit, the director eventually decided to shoot in California.

Important to mention that the majority of the scenes of Chinatown were filmed in and around the city of Los Angeles. But apart from these scenes, other important outdoor scenes were captured near West Hollywood and a couple of other places in California.

Since the filming locations were already scouted by the production members during the initial phase of production, Polanski only had to review the scouted sites once. After the director completed his final review, he instructed the filming crew to commence shooting,

The principal photography of Chinatown began in the third week of October 1973 and continued till the final week of January 1974. The entire filming process lasted for approximately 3 months. During this time, the production members traveled to different locations in California.

The logistics and other important pieces of equipment required for shooting were pre-arranged by the crew. This immensely helped the filming crew to stay on top of shooting dates and complete the filming process within the estimated timeline.

Let us discuss in detail where was Chinatown filmed. After that, I will also give you an overview of this mystery thriller film.

California | USA

The shooting process of Chinatown began in the city of Los Angeles. The opening scene of the film, where we see the character of Katherine suspecting her husband of infidelity, was filmed in Hollywood.

The production members used a medium-sized house located at 1972 Canyon Drive, Hollywood, to capture the interior scenes of Katharine’s home. The sequence where the female lead appears to be invested in a heated argument with another member of her family was also captured inside this property. 

Additional filming took place between 49th W and 7th Street, Los Angeles. The scene where we see the lead actor inside The Brown Derby Restaurant was shot inside a real eatery located at 3198 West 7th Street, Los Angeles. 

Other important scenes from the first half of Chinatown were captured near Moorpark and Foothill Boulevard. After filming these scenes, the production members moved to the next shooting location in California.

The second half of Chinatown was filmed near West Hollywood and Rancho Palos Verdes. The scene where Gittes appears to be investigating inside El Macondo’s Apartment was filmed inside a residential building located at 1400-1414 Havenhurst Drive, West Hollywood.

Finally, the production members returned to Los Angeles to capture the ending sequence of the movie. The last sequence of the movie was captured near Spring Street, Chinatown, after which the shooting process was wrapped by the production members.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s time for me to walk you through the plot of Chinatown. In the meantime, you can also read Nevertheless, High Desert, and Died Suddenly.

Plot Of Chinatown | What’s It About

Where Was Chinatown Filmed? Polanski’s Scintillating Mystery Drama From The ‘70s!!

The basic premise of Chinatown revolves around the character of Jake Gittes, an American private investigator living in Los Angeles. At the very beginning of the movie, the lead actor is contacted by Evelyn Mulwray for an important case related to her husband.

As the story progresses further, the female lead asks Jake to follow her husband, as she suspects him of having an illicit affair. Gettis readily accepts Evelyn’s case and starts finding out more about her husband’s vices. But, soon, the lead actor gets apprehended by the police on false charges of murder.

Watch Chinatown and find out how J.J. Gettis finally solves the mystery of Mr. Mulwray’s murder.

Final Words

Alright, friends! We’ve reached the end of this article. I hope you’ve noted all the filming locations of Chinatown which are mentioned above. But if you still have any other questions regarding this article, let us know in the comments.

If you wish to read other entertaining articles like where was Chinatown filmed, browse through the latest blogs on Viebly.

Who Is The Cinematographer Of The Film Chinatown?

John Alonzo is the cinematographer of the film Chinatown.

What Is The Rating Of The Film Chinatown?

The film Chinatown has an R rating.

Who Is The Music Director Of The Film Chinatown?

Jerry Goldsmith is the music director of the film Chinatown.

Who Is The Producer Of The Film Chinatown?

Robert Evans was the producer of the film Chinatown, amongst a few others.

What Is The Runtime Of The Film Chinatown?

2h 10m is the runtime of the film Chinatown.


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