The Killing of A Chinese Bookie

The Killing of A Chinese Bookie

DVD - 2008
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A small-time Los Angeles night club owner falls for a lavish invitation to gamble at a private club.
Publisher: [United States] : The Criterion Collection, 2008
Edition: Special edition
ISBN: 9781604651058
1604651059
9780780029224
0780029224
Branch Call Number: 7.914 Ki
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (243 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in

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From Library Staff

A struggling nightclub owner finds himself in over his head after a night at a high-stakes gambling club. He must accept an undesirable job in order to make good on his debt.


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t
TheSandoz
Apr 05, 2017

John Cassavetes engages film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays gentlemen s club owner Cosmo Vitelli, a man dedicated to pretenses of composure and self-possession. When he runs afoul of a group of gangsters, Cosmo is forced to commit a horrible crime in a last-ditch effort to save his beloved club and his way of life. Suspenseful, mesmerizing, and idiosyncratic, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a thought-provoking examination of desperation and masculine identity

j
jimg2000
Oct 11, 2016

Saw the glowing reviews and decided to check this out. Watched disc one first but found it moving too slowly and switched to disc two, the shorter and tighter 1978 cut. At the end, agree that it was an interesting portrait of a Sunset cabaret club owner who found outside influences were always meddling with his live as a business owner and pursuit of happiness. Unusual and well worth the time.

n
Nursebob
Jul 23, 2016

Writer/director John Cassavettes’ long slow lament on dreams deferred takes the form of a gangster thriller with conscientious strip club owner Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) receiving an offer he can’t refuse. Ever the student of human behaviour, especially those forces which seem to guide our hands, Cassavette’s focus is not so much on gangster violence (his mafiosi are reduced to menacing caricatures) but rather on the everyman’s struggle to wring some comfort from a world that is too often cold and remote. No matter what route he takes Vitelli just seems to dig his hole deeper when all he really wants is a small bit of contentment with the woman he loves. Filmed in garish shades of red and midnight blue with spotlights often forming halos around Cosmo as he moves in and out of darkness, there is a sad almost melancholic tone to the film. Harsh, clinically detached dealings with the mobsters (at one point they discuss murder over coffee and muffins) contrasts sadly with the tawdry fantasy shows at his strip club where beautiful sirens flash their breasts while a clownish emcee sings torch songs about love and longing. Highly kinetic and choppy with few scenes lasting more than a handful of seconds and characters kept at arm’s length, Cassavette’s pacing expertly reflects his antagonist’s mental state thus allowing us to see, if not actually feel, his unraveling.

Marinetti Apr 09, 2015

I'm not sure I can say I " Liked " this film ever- however there's something that pulls me back to watch it again and again.

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j
jimg2000
Oct 11, 2016

I'd like a - a follow spot on Cosmo... he's not only a great nightclub owner ... But he also - he also practices ... the best thing there is in this world - to be comfortable.
===
Marty, you're a lowlife. No offense... but you have no style. I don't ever want to see you again.
===
Ah, that jerk Karl Marx said opium was the... religion of the people. I got news for him. It's money. Money.
That's - Jesus Christ. My father was right. There is nothing wrong with you, Cosmo. Money. Money. My father was a nice guy. You should have met my father. He could listen to me like you could. That's why I like you. There's not many people that can listen like my father.
-You cry when your father died?
Ah. He promised me one thing. He said, "Hey - >“Don't let 'em bury me.” Didn't like the electric company,
the gas company, the water company.
-Why don't you do yourself a favor and get out of here?
Huh?
-You're an amateur.

j
jimg2000
Oct 11, 2016

Prep talk, Part 1 of 2:
Now, teddy. Teddy. Everything takes work. We'll straighten it out. You know. You gotta work hard to be comfortable. Yeah, a lot of people kid themselves, you know. They-they know when they were born, they know where they're goin'... they know whether they're gonna go to heaven,whether they're gonna go to hell. They think they know that. They kid themselves. Right? But the only people... who are, you know, happy... are the people who are comfortable. That's right. Now, you take, uh, uh, carol, right? A dingbat, right? A ding-a-ling.A dingo. That's what people think she is,'cause that's the truth they want to believe. But, uh, you put her in another situation, right? Put her in a situation that's tough. Stress. Where she's up against something,you'll see she's no fool.

j
jimg2000
Oct 11, 2016

Prep talk, Part 2 of 2:
Right. 'cause what's your truth... is my falsehood What's my falsehood is your truth and vice versa. Well, look. Look at me, right? I'm only happy when I'm angry... when I'm sad, when i can play the fool... when i can be what people want me to be rather than be myself. You understand? Mm-hmm. Yeah. And that takes work. Gotta work overtime for that. Yeah. Doesn't matter who you are or what personality you choose. ... “Come on, baby.” Choose a personality. - Let's go down there and - We'll do a great show... We'll smile, we'll cry... big, glistening tears that pour onto the stage... and we'll make their lives a little happier, huh? So they won't have to face themselves. They can pretend to be somebody else. Be happy. Be joyous.
===
-So, you don't want to get involved.
That's right. I don't want to get involved.
-But the money you want.

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