The Killing of A Chinese Bookie

The Killing of A Chinese Bookie

DVD - 2004
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A film noir about a gentleman's club owner finds himself on the bad side of a small time gangster, and then must save his beloved club and way of life.
Publisher: Irvington, NY : Criterion Collection ; Chicago, IL : Distributed by Home Vision Entertainment, [2004], c1976
ISBN: 9780780029231
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (135 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Oct 10, 2017

John Cassavetes engages film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays gentlemen s club owner Cosmo Vitelli, a man dedicated to pretenses of composure and self-possession. When he runs afoul of a group of gangsters, Cosmo is forced to commit a horrible crime in a last-ditch effort to save his beloved club and his way of life. Suspenseful, mesmerizing, and idiosyncratic, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a thought-provoking examination of desperation and masculine identity.

Oct 02, 2017

One of my favorite films ever. Ben Gazzara gives an incredible performance. One of Cassavetes' best films.

Aug 18, 2017

The definitive Cassavetes film. The closest he ever came to film noir. There is no finer example of just how much Cassavetes is interested in character above plot. The close-ups are evidence of this. Gazzara is perfection throughout. Despite his character's flaws, my heart goes out to him. There is so much humanity in this portrayal. In fact, each and every supporting character is illustrated as nothing less than human. This also happens to be Cassavetes most personal film. Cosmo and his ragged group of performers are a metaphor for Cassavetes and his team of actors and filmmakers. The Mafia are like the pressure of Hollywood to sell out. Yet, all he can give us is a uncompromising "love" for humanity. The entire film is constantly on edge and there's never a cliched or contrived moment. 70's filmmaking has rarely been better.

Oct 11, 2016

Saw the glowing reviews and decided to check this out. Watched disc one first but found it moving too slowly and switched to disc two, the shorter and tighter 1978 cut. At the end, agree that it was an interesting portrait of a Sunset cabaret club owner who found outside influences were always meddling with his live as a business owner and pursuit of happiness. Unusual and well worth the time.

Jul 23, 2016

Writer/director John Cassavettes’ long slow lament on dreams deferred takes the form of a gangster thriller with conscientious strip club owner Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) receiving an offer he can’t refuse. Ever the student of human behaviour, especially those forces which seem to guide our hands, Cassavette’s focus is not so much on gangster violence (his mafiosi are reduced to menacing caricatures) but rather on the everyman’s struggle to wring some comfort from a world that is too often cold and remote. No matter what route he takes Vitelli just seems to dig his hole deeper when all he really wants is a small bit of contentment with the woman he loves. Filmed in garish shades of red and midnight blue with spotlights often forming halos around Cosmo as he moves in and out of darkness, there is a sad almost melancholic tone to the film. Harsh, clinically detached dealings with the mobsters (at one point they discuss murder over coffee and muffins) contrasts sadly with the tawdry fantasy shows at his strip club where beautiful sirens flash their breasts while a clownish emcee sings torch songs about love and longing. Highly kinetic and choppy with few scenes lasting more than a handful of seconds and characters kept at arm’s length, Cassavette’s pacing expertly reflects his antagonist’s mental state thus allowing us to see, if not actually feel, his unraveling.

Marinetti Apr 09, 2015

I'm not sure I can say I " Liked " this film ever- however there's something that pulls me back to watch it again and again.


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Oct 11, 2016

I'd like a - a follow spot on Cosmo... he's not only a great nightclub owner ... But he also - he also practices ... the best thing there is in this world - to be comfortable.
Marty, you're a lowlife. No offense... but you have no style. I don't ever want to see you again.
Ah, that jerk Karl Marx said opium was the... religion of the people. I got news for him. It's money. Money.
That's - Jesus Christ. My father was right. There is nothing wrong with you, Cosmo. Money. Money. My father was a nice guy. You should have met my father. He could listen to me like you could. That's why I like you. There's not many people that can listen like my father.
-You cry when your father died?
Ah. He promised me one thing. He said, "Hey - >“Don't let 'em bury me.” Didn't like the electric company,
the gas company, the water company.
-Why don't you do yourself a favor and get out of here?
-You're an amateur.

Oct 11, 2016

Prep talk, Part 1 of 2:
Now, teddy. Teddy. Everything takes work. We'll straighten it out. You know. You gotta work hard to be comfortable. Yeah, a lot of people kid themselves, you know. They-they know when they were born, they know where they're goin'... they know whether they're gonna go to heaven,whether they're gonna go to hell. They think they know that. They kid themselves. Right? But the only people... who are, you know, happy... are the people who are comfortable. That's right. Now, you take, uh, uh, carol, right? A dingbat, right? A ding-a-ling.A dingo. That's what people think she is,'cause that's the truth they want to believe. But, uh, you put her in another situation, right? Put her in a situation that's tough. Stress. Where she's up against something,you'll see she's no fool.

Oct 11, 2016

Prep talk, Part 2 of 2:
Right. 'cause what's your truth... is my falsehood What's my falsehood is your truth and vice versa. Well, look. Look at me, right? I'm only happy when I'm angry... when I'm sad, when i can play the fool... when i can be what people want me to be rather than be myself. You understand? Mm-hmm. Yeah. And that takes work. Gotta work overtime for that. Yeah. Doesn't matter who you are or what personality you choose. ... “Come on, baby.” Choose a personality. - Let's go down there and - We'll do a great show... We'll smile, we'll cry... big, glistening tears that pour onto the stage... and we'll make their lives a little happier, huh? So they won't have to face themselves. They can pretend to be somebody else. Be happy. Be joyous.
-So, you don't want to get involved.
That's right. I don't want to get involved.
-But the money you want.


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