“You may think you know what you’re dealing with, but believe me, you don’t.” Cinema has few villains more odious, entitled, and self-possessed than Huston’s Noah Cross, a fat cat in 1930s L.A. willing to plunder the environment and human beings in equal measure. The father of Faye Dunaway’s mystery woman, Cross antagonizes Jack Nicholson’s detective J.J. Gittes by deliberately mangling his name. That’s nothing compared to the twist served up at the climax (the only scene set in the titular neighborhood) of Robert Towne’s elegant and sophisticated screenplay. Brilliantly directed by Polanski, Chinatown stakes its claim as the greatest neo-noir, on par with the classics by the man here seen serving fish with the heads attached.