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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
Kathalina Veniero Kathalina Veniero ... Annie
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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

David Bowie was often present on set during the filming and can be seen in shots of the crowd at Cosmo's 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.
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Alternate Versions

The original 1976 release features extended time in the bar with Cosmo while he is celebrating having just paid off his loan shark, early in the film. This scene includes his driver Eddie coming in to convince Cosmo to leave, and the two of them discuss growing up in New York. 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
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User Reviews

 
Weird but Compelling
14 January 2005 | by latineseSee all my reviews

Like other (usually US) films The Murder... is disturbing and mesmerizing. The dirty quality of images (in some moments bewilderingly amateurish, ins others incredibly sophisticated), the acting, the disjointed plot, the weirdness of some scenes (like the one in the car parking), Gazzara's sublime acting, the wonderful choice of places and times... it all gives you an impression of the States like they really are, not the sanitized image you find in so many Holy-Wood flicks (not all of them, I admit, but about 85%...). Such a movie is like The Searchers or Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, unfathomable and greater than life, but in some way disturbingly like life. And the character of Cosmo Vitelli is one of those enigmatic figures that leaves you wondering whether you have been shown the story of an idiot or the story of a saint. Unforgettable.


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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
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