Santa Barbara: Neville Publishing, Inc., 1983. First Edition. Distinguished copy of Towne's screenplay for Roman Polanski's 1974 neo-noir, centered around a private detective who becomes entangled in a series of disputes over southern California water rights during the late 1930's. This copy inscribed as a birthday gift to Towne's long-time friend Hugh Hefner (1926-2017), founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, Hollywood personality, and a serious film enthusiast. Chinatown won the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay (1975), and was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 1991. Provenance: Through the trade, from the estate of Hugh Hefner. Accompanied by a signed letter from the Hefner Trust. Item #3835
One of an unstated number of copies marked "Presentation Copy" on the colophon. Octavo (23.75cm); full yellow cloth, with titles stamped in black on spine and front cover; [xvi],156,pp, with 16pp of black and white photographic stills. Hugh Hefner's copy, inscribed to him by Towne on the colophon: "4/9/83 Hef - I wish you the happiest of birthdays + think of you as even more of a romantic fool than Gittes, or than any of the romantics with whom I identify. Much love, Robert." Laid into this copy is an autograph note by Towne on his printed stationary: "4/9/83 Hef - As usual, I'm fighting deadlines. This edition was just published by some eccentric rare book company in Santa Barbara - I wrote an introduction you might enjoy. Love - R." Two very faint scuffs to covers, else Fine, lacking the original acetate dustjacket. A specially designed bookplate ("From the Private Library of Hugh Hefner") is loosely laid in.