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House of Games Paperback – January 14, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st edition (January 14, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802130283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130280
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,430,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the screenplay of the first film written and directed by David Mamet, the story of a well known psychiatrist seduced by an underworld of petty intrigue. Mamet is commonly--and wrongly--considered a writer who consistently litters his characters' speech with obscenities. There are a good number of tongue lashings in House of Games, but what this script really proves is that Mamet has an extraordinarily poetic grasp of human language and human psychology. Every word, every exchange counts in this twisty, suspenseful screenplay, one of those rare dramas where it is impossible to predict what will happen next.

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christian Engler on May 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
As far as screenplays go, House of Games is a work of great cutting quality; written in Mamet's recognized concise style, House of Games permeates with a foreboding, volatile aura. When a too structured and career-driven yet refined and scholarly Dr. Margaret Ford, psychiatrist and author of the best-selling self-help book, Driven, is duped into helping Billy Hahn, a young man with a gambling addiction, she gets more than what is bargained for. She is led into the seedy underworld of the con man and all the baggage associated with him: drinking, unabashed gambling, lasciviousness, intricately woven lies, extremity upon extremity. But it is all cleaverly camouflaged by the many defrauders whom she encounters as exciting danger, rebellion against the smothering laws that only "good" citizens adhere to and being on the outer fringes of decency, good breeding and highbrowism. Ford, who gravely lacks any form of enjoyment in her life, is immediately drawn to the pulsating raw truth and "think quick" lifestyle of the brazen swindlers, for they gradually convince her-through a series of cons-that all humanity are imbued-one way or the other-with absolute cold indifference, for if you get bamboozled, it's your own fault and you probably deserved it. Dr. Margaret Ford exemplifies that for everybody. But she does not merely epitomize as a victim, she typifies it, through her own unsettling metamorphosis, as a kleptomaniac, murderess, and ultimately, a con woman. She evolves from good, introverted intellectual and respectable doctor to a cunning, manipulative, vindictive killer with a proclivity for thievery. So then the question is posed: Was Dr. Ford inherently a repressed criminal or was she the product of the sleezy environment and those in it?Read more ›
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I wrote my PhD on the Films of David Mamet. It was a few years back, but must admit that still today 'House of Games' is my favourite of his movies. I'm a psychiatrist, and Margaret, the protagonist, is a psychiatrist too. Other than that we don't share much in common, although it's easy to see why she would fall for somebody like Mike, 'the unbeatable gambler'. The Master con-man takes her into his confidence (that's what confidence tricks are about, as he explains in the movie) and ropes her in. He is a consummate actor, and Joe Mantegna is a dream in the part. The film itself was classed as neo-noir and it has all the necessary elements.
The script, although can't quite capture the atmosphere and the fabulous interpretations, is a joy to read, as the dialogue is a Mamet masterpiece, in my opinion as good as any of his plays. The poker/con-game, I've shown during lectures and it is perfection itself. Do yourself a favour, buy the script and watch the movie. You'll thank me for it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
There came a moment in House of Games, in the movie, where I knew I'd heard something. I rewound, played, heard it, rewound played, heard it, and found that about the fourth time around, I was patting my thigh, in tune with something or other; the Mamet-speak. It's rhythm.
And then the script. I read that same scene (it's the one: "you gotta tell. Your telling which hand the coin is in") and the same thing. Aha! yes. But I had heard the scene. I remebered the scene. What about the others? Back to page one. The same thing. And then it became not what they were saying, but how they were saying it, and then it became WHO was saying it. And sometimes I wished they hadn't said it. But then the thought occurs with starry eyes: "thank God they did".
You like the movie, read the script. There's soemthing to be said for just you and the pages.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By thedemonkilla on December 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the script for the stage play, which has been updated for modern times. If you are looking for the script for the 1987 film, keep looking.
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