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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

 -  Drama  -  8 October 1977 (Sweden)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 6,285 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 55 critic

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:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1977 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mordet på en kinesisk bookmaker  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,298,042 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The American Criterion Collection DVD release features the first release of the original 135 minute version of the film since its original theatrical distribution in 1976. See more »

Quotes

Cosmo Vitelli: I'm a club owner. I deal in girls.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meurtre d'un broutemécouilles chinois (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Imagination
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Performed by Meade Roberts
See more »

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User Reviews

Killer Cassavettes!
24 June 2001 | by (Lexington, KY) – See all my reviews

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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