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House of Games (1987)

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A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Ford
...
Mike
...
Joey
...
Dr. Maria Littauer
...
The Businessman
Willo Hausman ...
Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas ...
Prison Ward Patient
...
Billy Hahn
...
Bartender - House of Games
...
George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin ...
Poker Player
Bob Lumbra ...
Poker Player
Andy Potok ...
Poker Player
Allen Soule ...
Poker Player
Ben Blakeman ...
Bartender - Charlie's Tavern
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Storyline

A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where the game is never over. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bordet fanger  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,585,639 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The $6000 check Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) writes to settle the phony debt at the poker game early in the film is dated May 12, 1987. May 12 (1948) is Crouse's birthday. See more »

Goofs

When Margaret starts to figure out she's been scammed, she goes to the bar where Mike and the guys hang out. It is pouring rain and she is soaking wet. After she goes in the back door of the bar she is dry. See more »

Quotes

Mike: Hey, fuck you! This is what you always wanted, you crooked bitch! You thief! You always need to get caught, 'cos you know you're bad. I never hurt anybody, I never shot anybody. You sought this out. This is what you always wanted. I knew it the first time you came in. You're worthless, you know it? You're a whore. You came back like a dog to its own vomit You sick bitch - I'm not gonna give you shit.
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Soundtracks

Fugue from the Toccata in C Minor
(BWV 911)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Warren Bernhardt, piano
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User Reviews

 
Highly stylized
17 January 2009 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

The effect achieved in this story about a psychiatrist who becomes involved with con artists is so mannered that I have to assume that that was the desired intent. The sets are artificial and at no time did I not feel that I was watching a movie. It seemed like the actors were just reading their lines, rather than responding to one another. While the film has elements of early film noir (except that it is in color) the approach is so exaggerated that I almost have to conclude that it is a parody of the genre.

Given that the presentation had no appeal to me, I was at least expecting an engaging story. Usually I am pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to stories with plot twists, but you could see what was coming here within the first fifteen minutes. By the time of the, "Gee, I forgot the $80,000," moment, I thought to myself that this thing is truly ridiculous. For a psychiatrist with stated experience in gambling addictions to behave so stupidly is beyond belief. If at any stage she had behaved like a normal intelligent person, the whole story would have fallen apart.

This wooden production left me cold.


15 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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