Atlantic City  [DVD]
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Louis Malle's tale of dreamers and low-lifes stars Susan Sarandon as Sally, a croupier whose good-for-nothing ex-husband (Robert Joy) gets into trouble with the mob over the theft of some cocaine. The mob kill the ex-husband but they fail to lay their hand on the drugs, which have been left with Sally's neighbour Lou (Burt Lancaster), a small-time criminal who has fantasies of being an old-time gangster. Sally and Lou recognise that this is their big chance to make their dreams come true and decide to sell the cocaine themselves.
French New Wave director Louis Malle made two pieces of memorable Americana in mid-career, Atlantic City (1980) and Pretty Baby (1978). Atlantic City stars Burt Lancaster in one of his greatest screen performances: as an ageing crook now working the numbers racket from a seedy apartment in the casino town of Atlantic City. Susan Sarandon is a waitress whose brother is on the run from the mob, having stolen a cache of drugs. She and Lancaster form an odd but engaging couple and hatch a plot to beat the odds stacked against them. Atmospheric, bittersweet, with lots of character and some neat action: it all adds up to a pretty classy offering.
On the DVD: Unfortunately, the picture and sound quality on the DVD are only average. The image is 14:9 ratio and has been taken from a print of variable quality in which some reels are barely adequate. There are no additional features. --Ed BuscombeSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Aside from Lancaster's absolutely engrossing performance, the film leaves a sad impression of emptiness, similar to the vacant lots in Atlantic City where splendid hotels once stood. Lancaster somehow represents the new plastic casinos that have risen in their place, shining expensive towers without personal history, without grandeur. That is the taste left behind; one of empty waste and fragile lives. That is not to say the film is essentially cold and unforgiving, as the final scene with Lancaster and Sarandon together shows- he letting his young lover go to a life with more chance for at least some kind of fulfillment.
Louis Malle (Lacombe Lucien, Au Revoir les Enfants, Pretty Baby etc) in his second American film takes the decaying coastal resort as his subject rather than just his backdrop, in that the demolition and renewal (shown evocatively on screen) of the fabric of the town as the developers move in mirrors and also contrasts with what is going on in the life of a number of its inhabitants.
These are an ex-small time leg-man for racketeers (Burt Lancaster), a restaurant worker cum casino croupier trainee (Susan Sarandon), a gangster's widow and a hopeless cocaine pusher. They have in common that none of them are living fully in the present. The pusher has a vague plan that selling the cocaine he's come upon by accident will change his life. Sarandon imagines that the doors at the casino at Monte Carlo will be thrown open to her. The widow has an exaggerated notion of importance harking back to her dead hoodlum husband's supposed status. Lancaster looks back on a life of failure that he dresses up as success. We feel he's a good man inhabiting the skin of a bad man, and his relationship with Sarandon demonstrates this ambivalence - part paternal, part sexual. Burt Lancaster portrays this mixture wonderfully well; I felt that beneath the charming surface there lurked something menacing or perhaps just damaged. He knows that in film acting less = more; his great screen presence keeps your eye and your mind on him throughout.Read more ›
However, in certain respects, Atlantic City itself really is the dominant character. I recall brief visits to it in the 1970s. The city then bore little resemblance to what it has since become, at least in the casino area. Of course the city then bore little resemblance, also, to the elegant seaside resort it once was 75 years earlier.Read more ›
The boy doesn't seem to have much going for him and is all too convincing right down to his sexy, chino-covered butt, the one thing neither he nor anyone else in the film is probably even aware of, not that the importance of sex is downplayed. It is refreshing the way Malle roots his observations in an understanding of desire, both sexual and otherwise, and how it should not be trampled on ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
BURT LANCASTER`S LAST FILM..A FINE MOVIE TO END A BRILLIANT CAREER....Published 5 months ago by alan kay
World-weary fantasist Lou Pascal’s (an outstanding Burt Lancaster) words to ex-mucker, Sean Sullivan’s shoe-shine man, Buddy, of course, reflect Lou’s own preoccupations as much as... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Keith M
Don't hesitate to get into that film. You will love it because they are all crooked and they all want only one thing, to fool and rob the others. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Bleak portrait of decline... well scripted. We can identify with this in Hull!Published 11 months ago by Mr. Andrew Barr
No problem with the product itself. Hated the film, not as I remembered it from years ago. Then I suppose films have got so much betterPublished 12 months ago by Ella Wilson
Burt Lancaster great in this and well supported by Susan Sarandon..Published 14 months ago by MARTIN PARNELL
I was really pleased to get this dvd, it has a modern story line and superb acting. Also bought one for family member for Christmas. Read morePublished 20 months ago by pomegranite