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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.

Director:

David Mamet

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Crouse ... Margaret Ford
Joe Mantegna ... Mike
Mike Nussbaum ... Joey
Lilia Skala ... Dr. Littauer
J.T. Walsh ... The Businessman
Willo Hausman Willo Hausman ... Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas Karen Kohlhaas ... Prison Ward Patient
Steven Goldstein ... Billy Hahn (as Steve Goldstein)
Jack Wallace ... Bartender / House of Games
Ricky Jay ... George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin G. Roy Levin ... Poker Player
Bob Lumbra Bob Lumbra ... Poker Player
Andy Potok Andy Potok ... Poker Player
Allen Soule Allen Soule ... Poker Player
Ben Blakeman 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:

Nothing is as it seems. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tell See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,677, 18 October 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,585,639
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmhaus See more »
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

The make and model of the classic car seen in the movie was, according to the IMCDb, a red and white 1962 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible [6367E]. See more »

Goofs

Margaret Ford takes her smokes from a package of unfiltered "stubby" Camels, but the actual cigarettes she uses are longer (probably Pall Malls) so they'll "read" better on screen. See more »

Quotes

Mike: You can't bluff someone who's not paying attention.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in House of Games: Interview with Lindsay Crouse (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

This True Love Stopped For You (But Not For Me)
by Rokko Jans
Sung by June Shellene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Highly stylized
17 January 2009 | by bandwSee 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.


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