20 May 2013 4:32 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Bob Rafelson's Jack Nicholson vehicle set in a decaying Atlantic City is quite the metaphor for early 70s America

In Bob Rafelson's The King Of Marvin Gardens, the Atlantic City of 1972 becomes the anteroom to Paradise for two brothers: one a depressive talk-radio host, the other a manic huckster. Played by Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern respectively, David and Jason Staebler are the last gasp of an America that is visibly dying all around them.

The Atlantic City of those years, with its ruined pier and empty hotels, was a crumbling pleasure dome; indeed, the movie's main location, the huge Traymore Hotel, was demolished before Marvin Gardens even had its premiere. Fading for decades, AC was doomed to wait another 10 years before legalised gambling made it the opulently tacky Vegas East that it is today. Everything in this film is dilapidated, devalued, degraded or due for demolition. As shot by László Kovács, »

- John Patterson

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