7.1/10
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Saint Jack (1979)

Jack Flowers, an American hustler in early 1970s Singapore, dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury.

Director:

Peter Bogdanovich

Writers:

Howard Sackler (screenplay), Paul Theroux (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Gazzara ... Jack Flowers
Denholm Elliott ... William Leigh
James Villiers ... Frogget
Joss Ackland ... Yardley
Rodney Bewes ... Smale
Mark Kingston ... Yates
Lisa Lu ... Mrs. Yates
Monika Subramaniam Monika Subramaniam ... Monika
Judy Lim Judy Lim ... Judy
George Lazenby ... Senator
Peter Bogdanovich ... Eddie Schuman
Joseph Noël Joseph Noël ... Gopi
Kian Bee Ong Kian Bee Ong ... Hing
Yan Meng Tan Yan Meng Tan ... Little Hing
Andrew Chua Andrew Chua ... Andrew
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Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"People make love for so many crazy reasons-- why shouldn't money be one of them?" - The Gospel According To Saint Jack

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1979 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack el magnífico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Peter Bogdanovich in "This is Orson Welles", Bogdanovich wanted Welles to direct this film, and Welles was set to do so. However, after some pressure from the studio and his steady girlfriend Cybill Shepard, Bogdanovich ended up directing it. This led to a falling-out between Bogdanovich and Welles that wasn't resolved until shortly before Welles's death. See more »

Quotes

Jack Flowers: 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?
Col. Gunstone: Indubitably.
Jack Flowers: 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We thank the people of the Republic of Singapore, on whose island this picture was filmed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Bogdanovich (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll
Written by Clarence Williams and Spencer Williams
Sung by Louis Armstrong
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I can't exactly go to Immigration and say 'running a wang house'."
2 July 2017 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Chatty, engrossing character portrait, adapted from Paul Theroux's novel by Howard Sackler, Theroux and director Peter Bogdanovich, regarding Jack Flowers, a good-natured, middle-aged American living in early 1970s Singapore; he's a pimp who loves people and enjoys servicing his international clientele of businessmen with a colorful assortment of women, but recent events--a violent shakedown by the competition, also the death of a good friend--has caused him to rethink his life. Bogdanovich originally wanted Orson Welles to direct the film after then-girlfriend, Cybill Shepherd, won the rights to the novel in a legal settlement with Playboy magazine (Playboy is listed as a production company and Hugh M. Hefner is credited as one of the executive producers). Directing the film himself, Bogdanovich (who also has a key supporting role) won back the praise of critics--if not the general public--with this finely-etched drama for grown-ups. Ben Gazzara is a marvel in the lead; subtle, introspective, congenial but direct, a straight-talker with a head for business, the actor does some of the best work of his career. The film itself is too long, with a meandering midsection, though cinematographer Robby Müller has given the Singapore streets and daytime city views a beautiful hazy look. Bogdanovich introduces us to a collection of one-of-a-kind characters, funny and offbeat creatures who come out at night, and their interplay with Flowers and each other has a nice, friendly rhythm. Ultimately, the film is a wistful portrait of friendship, loyalty and business, with people happily scraping by, day after day, with private dreams but no ambition. **1/2 from ****


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