Compelling character study, revolving around Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara), an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a ...
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Compelling character study, revolving around Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara), an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel himself and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury. Savvy but not unsavory he strikes up a friendship with William Leigh (Denholm Elliot), a genial and decent auditor who travels to Singapore every year. Ultimately, the background of the Vietnam War comes into the picture as Jack is offered the opportunity by the CIA to run a brothel for the R&R activities of U.S. soldiers on leave in Singapore. Written by
According to Peter Bogdanovich in his collaborative book "This is Orson Welles", Bogdanovich wanted Welles to direct this film as a comeback for his mentor, and Welles was set to do so, but then, with some pressure from the studio, and his steady girlfriend Cybill Shepard, Bogdanovich ended up directing it himself. This led to a falling-out between the two friends, Bogdanovich and Welles, that wasn't completely resolved for nearly a decade, shortly before Welles's death. See more »
In my opinion this is the best film by Peter Bogdanovich, to this day. It packs so much witty humor, charm and deep characterizations, and yet it looks so simple, which is the essential ingredient of any great film.
Ben Gazzara mastered the roles of strayed pimps, with a heart, most notably in Cassavetes's "The killing of a Chinese bookie", and he's on his own terrain in "Saint Jack", playing the role with ease. Supporting cast helps a lot, and most of them are probably not professional actors, which gave the more credit to Bogdanovich's directing, who, by the way, plays a great role of entrepreneurial CIA operative. It's a shame that this movie is released on DVD only in Australia, but if you look hard you can track it down, and every film lover definitely should.
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