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.
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.
Ever watch a movie that has accolades from everywhere then you watch it and you can't figure out why? I hate it when that happens.
Maybe a 3.25
This one requires a second viewing for me. Cassavetes is such a dense emotional director that I find my conventional brain surfacing to wonder where the story is going when that's often not the point. Such was the case here. I just don't know how this man was able to handle depicting so much pain on screen.
I expect another viewing will solidify it for me. It's more of a forceful pull down to the ground than the intense knockout punch that is A Woman Under the Influence.
The first Cassavetes I ever saw, nearly twenty years ago, on an Anchor Bay clamshell ensconced VHS, before I had any concept of what "written and directed by John Cassavetes" meant or entailed. Revisiting it, I understand perfectly why it took me close to a decade to delve further into his oeuvre -- a simmering anti-thriller, this was hardly the action packed crime drama the title had led my adolescent self to expect. The things that confounded me then are absolutely riveting to me now: the impressionistic grit of the cinematography, the incongruity of the performances, the tired surrealism of the strip club routines and their tonal dissimilarity to everything surrounding them, the structure that's less of a dramatic arc than a protracted and inevitable descent from lesser straits to abject ones. More than anything, though, it just makes me wish more filmmakers had made productive use of Timothy Carey.
I felt like a more than a few times the film became too much of a drag. Probably should have watched the shorter 1976 cut. Other than that, I don't have any major complaints.
The Original Uncut 136 minute Director's Cut Version
This slow burning Southern California-based Mafia/slice-of-life drama from actor/filmmaker John Cassavettes is one of his more prominent film titles that also has a fractured history as it bombed during its 1976 theatrical release(in its uncut 135 minute form) and was later re-released in 1978 in a 108 minute cut. The story has Ben Gazzara(THE NEPTUNE FACTOR,THE SICILIAN CONNECTION) as a strip nightclub owner(whose entertainment is mainly more like avant garde performance art than full fledged nudity) who is slowly coming to terms with himself as a human being and his place in the world amid a personal dilemma when he afoul of the local Mafia crowd(led by Timothy Carey[THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER,THE…
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…