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House of Games (1987) Poster

Trivia

Ricky Jay is a sleight-of-hand artist and an acknowledged authority on the art of the con. In an NPR interview, Jay related that when David Mamet needed a short-change scam to be explained in "House of Games", he asked Jay for details of an authentic short-change hustle. However, Jay did not want to betray the confidence of the hustlers he knew who still used various short-change cons for their "livelihood". The envelope switch you see in the final film is an original switch invented by Ricky Jay specially for the film. Later, it was reported that an amateur thief had been caught attempting to use the switch as he had learned it from the film.
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The numeral 187 appears in the film in different instances. A license plate reads "HSX 187". Also it is the number of the airport locker used at the end. 187 is the police code for murder.
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This was originally intended to be a larger-budget film with many "name" actors, but David Mamet chose to direct on his own with his wife (Crouse) and friends (Mantegna) in the cast.
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According to Mamet, despite the excellent reviews the film received in a limited showing in four theaters, Orion decided against spending the money for the prints and publicity that would have accompanied a general release and sent the film almost directly to TV and video.
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Audio from this movie was sampled by the band Saint Etienne in their song "Etienne Gonna Die."
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Mamet's first film as director. He replaced the original first choice, Peter Yates.
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The scene outside with Margaret and Dr. Littauer was filmed in front of the main entrance to the iconic art deco PacMed Building on Seattle's Beacon Hill. At the time the PacMed Building was a medical facility, but would later become the headquarters (until 2010) of Amazon.
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Was #1 on Roger Ebert 's list of the "Best Films of 1987."
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The hotel room that Mike takes Margaret to is room #1138 which is yet another reference to George Lucas's THX 1138 (1971).
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The red and white Cadillac convertible used by the con artists in this film also appears in the car dealer's showcase room in David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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The $6000 check Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) writes to settle the phony debt at the poker game early in the film is dated May 12, 1987. May 12 (1948) is Crouse's birthday.
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Was #3 on Gene Siskel 's list of the "Best Films of 1987."
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Was #10 on Roger Ebert 's list of the "Best Films of 1980s."
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