Arturo Bandini: Well, the night before I met her, I was in my hotel room on Bunker Hill down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was called the Alta Loma. It was built on a hillside in reverse so that the main floor was on a level with the street. My room was down on the fifth floor so that my window was on a level with the green hillside, and there was no need for a key. The window was always open. I’d been going over the plans I’d made, since I’d come here like everyone else in search of fortune, fame, good health and glamorous women. Only I was going to be different. I wasn’t here to search for my future. I was here to create it. I’d write the first great novel about this place and everybody who came here from somewhere else. “The Road to Los Angeles” by Arturo Bandini. It would bring me everything I ever wanted. Now, after five months, I was trying to make a very important decision. What to do with my last nickel.
Gale: My name’s Gale. What can I fix you?
Joseph Frady: I…
Gale: How about a Martini? You know what they say about Martinis? A Martini is like a woman’s breast. . .one ain’t enough and three is too many.
Joseph Frady: That’s an amazing joke, Gale.
Gale: Yeah, it is. What can I get you?
Joseph Frady: Just a glass of milk.
Gale: You’re the healthy type, huh?
George Roundy: You ever listen to women talk, man? Do you? Cuz I do til’ it’s running out my ears. I mean, I am on my feet all day listening to women talk and they only talk about one thing: how some guy fucked them over. That’s all that’s on their minds. That’s all I ever hear about. Don’t you know that?
Lester Karpf: I follow your thinking on that.
George Roundy: I mean, face it. We’re always trying to nail them and they know it. They don’t like it. They like it and they don’t like it.
This is one of those films that’s often imitated but never duplicated (even with the ill-conceived 1990 sequel). It was directed by Roman Polanksi, who at the time was one of Hollywood’s hottest up and coming directors; was written by Robert Towne, who at the time was mostly known for some uncredited work on Bonnie & Clyde and The Godfather; and stared two of the most acclaimed young actors of their generation: Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, but only Robert Towne walked away a winner for his screenplay. It lost Best Picture to The Godfather Part II which is, perhaps, the most acclaimed sequel of all time.