All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.
Road House's super baddie Ben Gazzara as a strip club owner with a gambling addiction. When his debt blazes out of control, he's forced to commit a deadly sin in John Cassavetes's sweaty lusty intoxicating film noir. Large ketchup bottle. Stiff drink. Ben Gazzara's white leisure suit. Meaningful meaningless chit-chat. The way Ben Gazzara smokes. Vince's nose. Big pimpin' Seymour Cassel. Bootleg Strip Club DJ. Champagne hottie. Real motherfuckers drink Dom Pérignon straight from the bottle. Pitch-perfect piano music. John Cassavetes's directing skills blow me away. The way his lens captures everyday life and raw human emotion is straight money. Sexy as fuck striptease. Runaway tits. Poetic poetry. Shaggy doggie. The Shining Poster Playboy Playmate. Seymour Cassel wasn't born old?…
Ben Gazzara's performance here is one of those that so captures an actor's essence that it would be pointless to think about anyone else in the role. Beyond all the Cassavetes grace notes-- the dingy texture of the nightclub, the evident affection for his cast of outcasts and rogues, the dread-inducing inevitability of the title-- there's Gazzara, a wannabe big-shot who lacks the means, the common sense, and the luck to lead the kind of life he feels he deserves. His gregariousness becomes tragic.
Watched the '78 re-edit, for two reasons: (1) from what I can determine, Cassavetes felt rushed in 1976 and wound up releasing the film in a form that was essentially unfinished, and (2) my beef with most of his work boils down to "overlong and undisciplined," so the shorter version seemed like it would constitute the fairer shake. Now, however, after quite enjoying Chinese Bookie at 108 minutes, I find myself thinking it would work even better at 135, with the burlesque material intact (even though more of Mr. Sophistication might be painful to endure). The movie's superb ending, which reveals the extent to which Cosmo perceives his business as his calling and his performers as his family (and…
Viewed 108 minute cut
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is Film-noir at its most shadowy and anti-climatic, favoring the quiet anticipation within the darkness and sparkling city lights instead of blazing dialogue moments and conventional techniques. Ben Gazzara is a magnetic presence, and he grounds the film in a way that prevents the story from crumbling under the weight of Cassavetes' prominent interest in unorthodox styling.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie feels like another example of a performer gluing a story together from previous remnants, and while I admire the craft, it's another example of a Cassavetes film leaving me lukewarm.
You'll never guess what happens to the Chinese bookie.
So I really wish Netflix hadn't sent me the original 1976 version, because I agree with Ben Gazarra... this was way too long.
Sparse lighting and aimless zoomed-in-pan-around cinematography allegedly add grit and realism to a movie that contains entire sequences that you may as well watch with your eyes closed.
135min version; supposedly it's inferior.
I can barely muster the words for the films of John Cassevettes. Simply put, they're impressionist masterpieces, bursting with life and absolute darkness. The characters always desperately, and oh, how desperately, manage to scrape off some love or beauty or hope however grim their situations.
It's easy to see "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (and for that matter, all Cass films) as utterly pessimistic; but it is indeed the opposite. More words in the morning.
Hardly paid attention, so I can't really judge it fairly, but it obviously didn't grab me enough to focus on it instead of doing other stuff on my computer while it was playing in a window. I often watch movies that way, and a really riveting one will have me dropping everything else and just watching.
Giselle misheard me and thought it was called "A Businessman Goes to a Chinese Movie," which would be equally accurate.
1978 cut. Slow and sad. Very sad.
I knew I would really like a Cassavetes flick eventually. Between this and Shadows, I'm completely convinced that Cassavetes was very good when he didn't give into his (in my opinion) more self-indulgent tendencies (I watched the shorter 1978 version). I think it's interesting taking this and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, two thematically similar works, and seeing just how different they are in execution (pardon the pun).
You know this might be one of the only times I've seen a movie with an ambiguous ending and hoped/believed that things will go well. Maybe buried below this chunky and cynical exterior I'm secretly an optimist.
Really good film. Not sure it hit the same highs that A Woman Under the Influence did for me, however it's a very different film so probably not fair to compare. Some nice reds in here. Some great scenes in the night club. Incredible performance from Gazzara. Cosmo is such a good character. So tragic. Good use of music. Cassavetes doing a mob flick is awesome coz he focuses on some different things than your typical mob, gangsta, noir, whatever film. Brings something unique. I love his focus on character and reality and quieter moments. Really interesting. Might up the rating a bit over time / on a rewatch. I have a feeling the longer cut might work even better?
My second Cassavetes flick and I was not disappointed. Ben Gazzara was made to do Cassavetes.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.