Atlantic City is a place where people go to realize their dreams, the promise of the future manifested by the demolition of the old crumbling buildings to be replaced by new hotels and casinos. Someone who recently came to Atlantic City for that promise is native Moose Javian (Saskatchewan) Sally Matthews, who currently works as a waitress at a hotel oyster bar, but who is training to be a black jack croupier and wants to be more cultured, such as learning French, in order to work at the casinos in Monte Carlo. Another dreamer who came to Atlantic City decades ago is Lou Pascal, who has long worked as a numbers runner and who claims to have been a cellmate and thus implied confidante of Bugsy Siegel. Although Lou still dresses to the standard to which he is accustomed, his dream long died as he only works penny ante stuff for Fred, most of his current income from being the kept man of widowed recluse, Grace Pinza. Grace too came to Atlantic City to fulfill her dreams - most ...Written by
Filmed in late 1979, the film was not released in the USA until 1981. The picture was released in Canada, Germany and France in 1980. Some territories did not get the film until 1982 and 1983. See more »
There is no channel 7 on TV in Philadelphia. However, channel 7 may have been used in order to distance the fictional portrayal from the actual Philadelphia stations. See more »
You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean back then.
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As the end credits roll, an old building on the boardwalk is demolished to some of the tunes that appear earlier in the film. Each time the wrecking ball hits, we hear a cymbal crash and the soundtrack jumps to a different song. See more »
This is a little bit on the seedy side but it's well-done and Burt Lancaster, once again, provides us with a wonderful character study. This time he's "Lou Pascal," an old-time small hood playing out his days in pathetic manner in a dingy Atlantic City. In fact, "seedy" describes Atlantic City in this picture.
There's nothing seedy about the opening scene, however. It's an attention- grabber, at least if you're a male. We see Susan Sarandon, squeezing lemon juice over her breasts at the kitchen window. Later, we see her do the same thing.
The film is no lemon, however. It's an excellent film and Lancaster, Sarandon ("Sally Matthews") and her husband "Dave" (Robert Joy) comprise most the early going. Joy's role as Sally's loser druggie husband was ugly but he doesn't last long in the film.
The second half of the film features mostly the two stars, both of whom were up for Academy Awards for their performance (and lost out in a sentimental vote for the On Golden Pond crowd). Not only do Lancaster and Sarandon excel, but so does director Louis Malle.
Malle makes this almost a modern-day film noir with the grittiness of the characters and the setting, when Atlantic City looked its worst. It's just solid film-making all-around, and few people could play intense characters, young or old, as well as Lancaster.
My only regret is the transfer on the DVD. It's a little grainy and this film deserves better treatment. although, come to think of it - the grain is appropriate considering it's a gritty story.
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