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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

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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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Flo (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
...
Mort Weil
Robert Phillips ...
Phil
...
The Boss
John Kullers ...
The Accountant (as John Red Kullers)
Al Ruban ...
Marty Reitz
Azizi Johari ...
Virginia Carrington ...
Mama
Meade Roberts ...
Alice Friedland ...
...
Margo Donnar (as Donna Marie Gordon)
Haji ...
Carol Warren ...
Derna Wong Davis ...
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Storyline

Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

8 October 1977 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mordet på en kinesisk bookmaker  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second of three collaborations of actor Ben Gazzara and writer-director John Cassavetes, the others being Husbands (1970) and Opening Night (1977), both of which Cassavetes also acted in, not doing so only in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). The pair also both appeared in a non-Cassavetes written and directed movie, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). See more »

Quotes

Cosmo Vitelli: I've got a golden life. Got the world by the balls. That's right, I'm great... I am amazing.
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Connections

Referenced in Pusher (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

After the Ball
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Harris
Performed by Meade Roberts and others
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User Reviews

 
mesmerizing but action scenes need to be better
28 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara) owns the burlesque club Crazy Horse West in California. Business is a little slow. After paying off his gambling debt, he promptly loses $23k more at a private casino. The boss calls in the debt and forces him to kill a minor Chinese bookie to clean the slate. Only the minor figure turns out to be a major gang leader.

There is something hypnotic about John Cassavetes' directing style. Ben Gazzara is charismatic. I watched the 135-minute version. Even the long rambling burlesque shows are fascinating. It's supported by a gangster story that provides the movie with its drive. I do wish that Cassavetes would film the action with more intensity. His style doesn't work as well with the action scenes. Also after the final shootout, I rather have the movie end quicker.


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