Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Special Edition, The Criterion Collection
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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. Available for the first time as a stand-alone release, from the box set John Cassavetes: Five Films.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
Restored high-definition digital transfer of John Cassavetes original 1976, 135-minute edit of the film
Restored high-definition digital transfer of Cassavetes 108-minute edit from the 1978 theatrical rerelease
Video interviews with star Ben Gazzara and producer Al Ruban
Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted after the film s release
Stills gallery featuring rare, behind-the-scenes production photos
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Phillip Lopate and interviews with Cassavetes
Things we have never
seen on screen before. --David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Visually stunning, stylistically extravagant. --Newsweek
- Video interviews with star Ben Gazzara and producer Al Ruban
- Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted after the films release
- Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
- A booklet featuring an essay by Phillip Lopate
Top customer reviews
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it goes without saying that if you're curious about jc, you've done your homework, and don't need to be told that he's slow, random and often unclear. you just need further proof that he and his coterie of performers made some of the deepest excavations of the human being ever filmed (which get panned as letargic, plotless bores by those with teevee attention spans) and you won't be disappointed by this one.
don't expect to be wowed by dialogue, or filmmaking techniques, or art direction or any of that. but do expect to feel like you're participating in something, rather than watching it. do expect to find things about gazzara's character that aren't just redeeming, but admirable, even loveable.
the dressing room pep talk--as far removed as it is from anything i've ever experienced--is just as profound as it is barely coherent. utterly real. it's what you've always wanted your dad, or your religious leader or cultural figure of authority to say, and mean it. it's the acknowledgement of one's own weakness, and how these weaknesses actually give us strength and character, rather than the boring, puffed-up and meaningless facades we all create for the public sphere.
not macho bs here, no pretense, no phony hollywood whitetrash costumes, no romanticized violence, and most importantly:
NO WEAK, SENTIMENTAL ATTEMPT AT ASSIGNING A "POINT" TO LIFE.
The movie begins with Cosmo paying off a huge gambling debt, and so after an apparent respite from the past time he ventures out to celebrate a new start. Unfortunately, this brings him to a card game run by the mob. Cosmo loses big & is humiliated by a new unpayable debt. The mob doesn't want a payment plan.Instead, the mob insists that Cosmo executes a competitor. Chinese Bookie, in Chinatown so Cosmo begins a new journey to satisfy his debt.
We now follow a journey with Cosmos that is not unlike Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. In fact, I believe that Scorsese and Cassavete were collaborating. Cosmo, an ex soldier, draws well on his experience & shows some cunning and calculations. But then there is the double cross. The genius of Cassavetes here arises in full vision. Cassavetes details along the way explore everyday mishaps and arising problems associated and not associated with his assassination goals. The journey feels real. The emotions and reactions are not always obvious especially with Cosmo. The American man from the 40-60s. Regardless, Gazzara and Cassou can feel the depth and strenght and existence of the emotions.. Cassavetes always able to draw upon a truth & that's what makes Cassavetes so exciptional. America's Bergman.