Study Guide

Chinatown Man with Knife (Roman Polanski)

Man with Knife (Roman Polanski)

This guy may look short…but he's deadly.

Director Roman Polanski makes a surprise cameo as this nameless, knife-wielding thug. When Claude Mulvihill and the knife wielder catch Jake Gittes sneaking around the reservoir where Jake has been uncovering the water theft plot, Jake asks Mulvihill:

GITTES: Who's the midget?

But this bad boy shouldn't be judged by his short stature, as he soon proves.

Claude holds Jake while the short guy flicks out a knife and says to him:

MAN WITH KNIFE: You're a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. Huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No? Okay. They lose their noses.

Then, the dude slices Jake's nostril open, sending blood splashing out. He finishes by saying to Jake:

MAN WITH KNIFE: Next time you lose the whole thing. Cut it off and feed it to my goldfish. Understand? Understand!?

Ironically, now, Jake's more determined than ever to solve the mystery.

We actually briefly glimpse this guy one more time, outside the retirement home. But Jake disappears in the car with Evelyn before he can have another unpleasant encounter. Good news for Jake, bad news for the thug's hungry goldfish.

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