Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic ... See full summary »
Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives... See full summary »
Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.
A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »
Berlin Film Fest 1984. The best place for every cinema fan. Everyone wants to be in on the festival, but that may be really difficult, if one has no accreditation. Also Journalist Matthies ... See full summary »
Heinz Van Nouhuys
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
Like many viewers, the first time I watched this, I thought nothing was happening. So I fell asleep midway through, only to awake for the film's uplifting ending in which Ben Gazzara gives the "girls" a pep talk -which is the greatest thing since the "win one for the gipper" speech in Knute Rockne. It made me want to see it again. Boy am I glad I did! This film is so much like real life that you not only watch it, you live it. Watching this movie is as intimate an experience as reading a novel. Thus, you are with the protagonist, Cosmo Vitelli, every step of the way. At first glance he appears to be doing nothing-but guess what folks, he's thinking. That what's missing in movies today: characters who take time to reflect before they act. People who accuse Gazzara of doing nothing here just don't get it. It's an amazing one of a kind performance in a movie that is character driven rather than plot driven. When this movie was first released, it was met with much criticism and public indifference. Audiences and critics expecting your typical mob picture were understandably disappointed. However, with Killing of a Chinese Bookie, John Cassavettes taught audiences and critics alike a valuable lesson: Rather than always criticizing films for not meeting our expectations, we need to reevaluate our expectations and expect a little bit more.
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