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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Courtney B. Vance,
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
Knowing full well that the Singaporean authorities would never sanction a film that depicted their city as being a hotbed of corruption and sleaze, the script that Peter Bogdanovich submitted to them had been specially rewritten with all the contentious elements removed. Approval was granted. However, when the film was completed, the Singaporean authorities were horrified to see the true nature of the film and subsequently banned it. See more »
Now, the Chinese, they go for Australian girls, y'know, big-boned. The Germans usually go for Tamils. The British don't give a damn as long as they're young and boyish, isn't that right, Colonel?
Well the Americans, they do a lot of hugging-up in taxis, y'know. When they go home they write letters. Girls are always after me to help them answer 'em.
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We thank the people of the Republic of Singapore, on whose island this picture was filmed. See more »
People make love for all sorts of crazy reasons ....
Singapore 1973 Jack Flowers (Gazzara) a worldworn drifter, has finally found his niche. He is a small-time pimp, eking out a living arranging liaisons for jaded ex-pats and burned-out GIs. Everybody knows Jack and everyone likes him a situation that changes rapidly when he decides to open his own house of ill repute.
Saint Jack is Peter Bogdanovich's most accomplished film. Made long after his Hollywood star had waned it is a low-key, character driven piece full of memorable scenes and performances. The Singapore it depicts is long gone, buried under acres of concrete and glass. The world Jack Flowers' inhabits is old school orient - sampans, alleyways, bustling markets and street hustlers. Denholm Elliot excels as the bemused, vaguely melancholy accountant Jack takes under his wing. Rodney Bewes and Joss Ackland do memorable turns as aimlessly Englishmen abroad. Former James Bond George Lazenby puts in an appearance as a slimy US senator and director Bogdanovich plays a CIA operative.
For a movie produced by Roger Corman and Hugh Hefner it's far from the exploitation fare its subject matter might suggest. Photographed by the great Robby Muller and based on a novel by Paul Theroux it's well worth a look. 8/10
**Also recommended for fans of this movie is "Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore" by Ben Slater (ISBN: 9812610693) - a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
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