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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Trailer
2:01 | Trailer
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.

Director:

John Cassavetes

Writer:

John Cassavetes

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Gazzara ... Cosmo Vittelli
Timothy Carey ... Flo (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
Seymour Cassel ... Mort Weil
Robert Phillips ... Phil
Morgan Woodward ... The Boss
John Kullers John Kullers ... The Accountant (as John Red Kullers)
Al Ruban Al Ruban ... Marty Reitz
Azizi Johari Azizi Johari ... Rachel
Virginia Carrington Virginia Carrington ... Mama
Meade Roberts Meade Roberts ... Mr. Sophistication
Alice Friedland Alice Friedland ... Sherry
Donna Gordon Donna Gordon ... Margo Donnar (as Donna Marie Gordon)
Haji ... Haji
Carol Warren Carol Warren ... Carol
Derna Wong Davis Derna Wong Davis ... Derna
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Storyline

Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in Los Angeles. He's laconic, vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt, after which, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. When he's not able to do so, they suggest he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe away his 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

Taglines:

A film by John Cassavetes.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the Californian strip-joint nightclub in Los Angeles was "The Crazy Horse West". See more »

Goofs

Flo says "That jerk Karl Marx said opium is the religion of the people." The actual Marx quote is "Religion is the opiate of the masses." See more »

Quotes

Flo: That jerk Karl Marx said opium was the... religion of people. I got news for him, it's money.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Differences include: -The opening. The 1976 version opens with the credit sequence, in the style of an Asian movie, and then cutting to Cosmo following a loan shark to the back. The 1978 version opens with the "it'll pick up" scene, then cutting to much more western style opening credits, and then showing him arriving to meet the loan shark -The 1978 version removes all the stage performance scenes, which accounts for at least 15 minutes of the movie -The 1978 version includes an additional scene showing the gangster extorting a couple before they see Cosmo. -In the 1978 version, Cosmo's meeting with the gangsters is extended. This is where we learn Cosmo was in the Korean war. It also explains why Cosmo is out with the girls in the next scene. -The 1978 version cuts out most of the bits involving Cosmo picking up the girls to go to the club, including meeting with families and talking to one of them in the limo. -The 1978 version cuts out an early scene of Cosmo in the dressing room with Mr Sophistication and the girls. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The House That Jack Built (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Captivating, yet puzzling
7 September 1999 | by BSideSee all my reviews

Very, very interesting. I didn't know anything about this film before seeing it tonight, and I'm not sure I know much more now! I do know the use of stark color, blurred focus and shadows were breathtaking. The beauty of certain shots: the cinema's red doors in Chinatown against the white walls; the framing of the lead's pensive pose on the stage in front of the red wall; his retreat into the shadows after the climax; these were truly captivating. I'm definitely going to have to read some analysis of this one; there is a lot going on I'm not sure I picked up yet. So while I'm not sure I "got it", just the look of the piece was worth it. I'll probably be watching this one again!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,406
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Faces Distribution See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Todd-AO)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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