7.0/10
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22 user 23 critic

Fingers (1978)

A dysfunctional young man is pulled between loyalties to his Italian mob-connected loan shark father and his mentally disturbed Jewish concert pianist mother.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ben
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Georgette Mosbacher ...
Anita (as Georgette Muir)
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Christa
Lenny Montana ...
Vasco Valladeres ...
Luchino's Son
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Riccamonza (as Anthony Sirico)
Tom Signorelli ...
Italian Prisoner
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Arthur Fox
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Storyline

Keitel plays the lead in this schizophrenic movie in which he is continually pulled by the two conflicting sides of his personality, on the one hand that of a quiet piano virtuoso and on the other a ruthless debt collector for his mobster father. Keitel is introspective as only Keitel can be, really making the audience feel for him and his pained existence. Written by <gilesw@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Has The Hands Of An Artist And The Mind Of A Madman. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 August 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Det beskidte job  »

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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Danny Aiello, who played one of Tony Sirica's two bodyguards, objected to holding the door or lighting the cigarette of his boss while in character. Those actions were done by actor Ed Marinaro, who played the other thug. See more »

Quotes

Jimmy Fingers: Don't you understand? I'm going to bring you into dreams of yourself. All you have to do is believe in me.
Carol: What? You're so full of shit!
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Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: What's Wrong with Home Video (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

One Fine Day
Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
Performed by The Chiffons
Courtesy of Laurie Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a very calm-cool-collectedly made film about a truly unstable being
13 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

Well, Reservoir Dogs fans, if you've been wondering really where the film is where Mr. White plays Mr. Blonde, this might be it. Only don't expect the same form of psychopathic behavior. Keitel's Jimmy Fingers is a sort of time bomb at times needing to be either detonated or waiting to be set off, and there's even an echo too (or rather the other movie is an echo of this) in Do the Right Thing. But James Toback's script is very particular about his various, half annoying half dangerous tendencies carrying around a radio and a knack for classical music and grit. And Keitel moves in this world like a man so within his own mind that the only way he can act sometimes is in bottling it up before it comes out. It's a very tough performance to pull off, as there's more fascination in what the character completely lacks than in his virtues. It's sometimes teeters even on becoming very uncomfortable to sit through, just in the psychological sense. We may not hate Jimmy Fingers, but he can test patience like it's nothing.

Still, Keitel makes it such a character of idiosyncrasies and at the same time a weird kind of charm that at first sort of reminded me of his debut in Who's That Knocking at My Door. He's aiming for concert pianist, of the level on Carnegie Hall standards. But his father also has him collecting/making bets, and thus getting into things of a sometimes violent and ugly nature. And there's always that radio, blasting out the 'golden oldies' of the kind they used to play on CBS FM in New York. There's even a touch of the Brando-type character in Keitel's mood and mannerisms at times, plus that compulsory sexual nature with women. Towards the end of the film this becomes almost too perverse to handle, and Toback always deals with such dicey material head-on, without pulling any tricks with the camera (in fact, he only so occasionally moves it). While the filmmaker tests the waters with possibly become unnerving and off-its-hinges with watching such unconventional material, more or less he pulls off what he wants, and Keitel is a force to be reckoned with as an actor here. He may lack the realistic volcanic force and wit of a Mr. White, but the not-totally-sadistic Mr. Blonde comes out with just a great hint of the obsessed artist in there too (and what great music there is).

In terms of referring to the 2005 French remake, the Beat That My Heart Skipped, I found that it might be one of those rare cases where the remake does out-do the original, at least in terms of dramatic involvement and in really getting more into the relationship between the father and son (plus there was more ambiguity in terms of the young man's mind state in the French version). But Fingers still holds its own decades later by standing out in the crime genre of the period, and it's up there in Keitel's underrated cannon of work.


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