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Smoke [VHS] [1996]

Harvey Keitel , William Hurt , Paul Auster , Wayne Wang    Suitable for 15 years and over   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Actors: Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Giancarlo Esposito, JosÚ Z˙˝iga, Stephen Gevedon
  • Directors: Paul Auster, Wayne Wang
  • Writers: Paul Auster
  • Producers: Bob Weinstein, Diana Phillips, Greg Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, Hisami Kuroiwa
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • VHS Release Date: 7 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCJ3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 299,781 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

During an extended period of writer's block, Brooklyn-based author Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) begins to spend more and more time hanging about his local cigar store. Its owner, Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel), has more than a few tales of his own, as does a young man, Rashid (Harold Perrineau), who makes an unexpected entrance into the writer's life. Whilst Benjamin attempts to rediscover creative inspiration, Rashid embarks on a journey to find his real father. Award-winning author Paul Auster wrote the script, expanding upon one of his own short stories.

From Amazon.co.uk

It's refreshing to see a film in which the writer receives equal credit with the director, showing that the dialogue actually means something. So it is with Smoke, a film about a New York quilt of contemporary characters who cross paths in a corner smoke shop, told in straightforward way by a talented acting group. Author Paul Auster and director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) worked on the story for years before it reached the screen. Their characters include Paul (William Hurt, in a good role again), a grief-stricken novelist; Auggie (Harvey Keitel), the shop's owner with a secret passion; Ruby (Stockard Channing), Auggie's long-ago girlfriend; and Rashid (Harold Perrineau Jr), a teenager who is befriended by Paul and seeks his estranged father (Forest Whitaker). All the characters are great storytellers, whether it be out of loneliness, necessity or just nature. Like Auster's The Music of Chance, the film has accomplished an amazing feat: it makes us feel as if we are reading a serious novel, not watching a movie. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Billy
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm going to find it very difficult to express in words how much this film means to me; not because of any deep, personal involvment, but simply becasue it is so utterly watchable. This is one of those offbeat, quirky little films that simply blows you away, without you knowing why or how exactly. Keitel and Hurt's performances are wonderfully subtle and underplayed, and I found it was the little, irrelevant things that fasinated me so - such as the way Hurt's character draws his little Dutch cigars through his lips before lighting it, and the fact that Auggie (Keitel's character), despite being a cigar connoisseur, smokes simple filter cigarettes.

This film won't appeal to all, but if you like your American films to come with a little less 'Crash, Bang, Whallop!' and a bit more intelligence, then you just have to buy this dvd.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is the kind of off beat film that begins far away from its main point. So in a sense, it takes you on a journey. Especially, if you've grown up in very large urban centers where there were local neighborhoods with ancient, musty old small stores run by engaging proprietors this scene and story will resonate with you. But even if you did not enjoy the benefits of New York City's inner city, many of the characters can be similarly identified in daily rural life in Arkansas.

The grizzled and contemplative cigar store proprietor Auggie Wren is masterfully played by Harvey Keitel. He plays a man hanging on to his business while trying to sqeeze out of the dreariness of each day some kind of meaningful life. He doesn't go out to meet life ... it comes to meet him in his cigar store. A customer and not quite neighborhood friend played to its understated fullest by William Hurt, is a formerly celebrated novelist Paul now struggles with his tragic life and getting back to writing. The thread which connects the action is pulled through the film by a street wise teenage "black kid" calling himself "Rashid" is very well acted by Harold Perrineau Jr.

Everyone is searching for something in SMOKE. Rashid, his father; Paul his lost interest in life; and Auggie his lost meaning of life. Not all of the movie takes place in the cigar store ... b ut a lot of it does, and perhaps like Hitchcock in REAR WINDOW or THE ROPE, the photography and direcrting make it work. But there are many other scenes on sites to provide both variety and action.

This film not only works it is a terrific journey that promises to take you through many ideas and situations that are familiar and some bizarre. But they are always interesting and enjoyable. That's what entertainment is about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art Of Storytelling 18 May 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This film is all about the storytelling. It deserves to be a bigger film than it was because it doesn't need to rely on explosions and action to be great. Its mainly due to the superb script which was written by some dude who i've never seen one of his other movies or even heard of any. But when you got 3 of hollywoods finest in the cast (Harvey Kietel, William Hurt & Forest Whitaker) then your always gonna end up with a film of the highest standards. If your looking for something that you can follow, that relys more on its story and its characters, then this is just about as good as it gets. recommended viewing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The weight of smoke 12 Oct 2006
By Gellit
Harvey Keitel may have run off with what plaudits there were for this hidden gem of a movie, but for me it is the performance of William Hurt that infuses the film with it's thoughtful, mellow, non-idealogical flavour.

There are a couple of scenes which Keitel and Hurt perform memorably together, one involving a collection of photographs and the final scene of the movie which is 'Augie Wren's Christmas Story' originally written by Paul Auster, and the creative spark behind the writing of the script. If you were to watch these two scenes alone I'd still recommend buying this film.

The dialogue is sharp and the direction leaves the actors to act, allowing them time to deliver as much with body language as with the spoken word. All of the cast shine (even Forrest Whittaker!) and apart from a slightly unconvincing eye patch the movie is absolutely flawless.

If you are at all interested in good contempory cinema this is an essential watch, and then a must have DVD. Enjoy it, it's a rare thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff 3 Mar 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I havn't seen this film since it first came out and can barely remember anything it, except that it is a great film. One of my favourites. A few things that I do remember are that I watched it on tv one morning and had a load of homework to do and knew that I should have been doing that but couldnt drag myself away from this piece of art. Thats what it is, art! Also, I hardly ever get emotional about films, but there is one scene at the end when the guy spends Christmas or Thanksgiving at this old ladies house because she thinks he is her son. Very touching.
I dont smoke and I like this film! Theres another great scene that I like where the two friends are looking through the photo albums of the corner outside the shop. That scene made me want to take up photography, and I did. Such an influential film.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Although nothing exciting happens in this movie, the dialogue and characters draw you into it and won't let go. I watched this movie at 3.00am, dog tired, sleepy, yet couldn't get to bed because I couldn't stop watching. It will make you laugh at times, make you smile most of the way through, and it will touch you. Virtually all the scenes take place with a static camera, so a roving camera doesn't get in the way.
Excellent acting, excellent dialogue.
Don't let the video cover photo fool you. None of the characters appear this way in the movie. In a way, it disappoints me that such a photo is used for the cover. It cheapens the film somehow. For one thing, Keitel doesn't have a beard in the movie. For another, the young blonde (Ashley Judd)DOES NOT look at all like that in this movie!
If you want a film that makes you listen to what the characters say and doesn't depend on violence or eye candy to make it interesting, then get this movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Of the ten best films ever made, Smoke would be in it...
A beautiful film, Keitel, Hurt, Channing...it shows that they loved to play in this film, a sincere emotion... enhance by Tom Waits and his beautiful song...
Published 2 months ago by zatap
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
"Smoke" is the one movie I can watch all over again, great that is available in blue-ray format.
Published 2 months ago by Sophia Davenport
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD in German language only!!
This DVD cannot be put into English. It is ONLY in German!!! What can I do?? Can you send me one in English?
Published 7 months ago by Kathleen Chiti
5.0 out of 5 stars Smoke Gets In Your Eyes....!
Love this movie....watched it through several years ago and thought it fantastic....so....to now possess it for myself and watch it any time I choose, GREAT !
Published 10 months ago by tina yorston
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film
The video is in good condition and I really enjoyed the film.
Keitel and Hurt are always good. All the cast was good and a beautiful story with a great soundtrack
Published 11 months ago by Maxine Jarrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity and integration
I think this film is made for "the thinking people". It contains many levels of human existence and has a wonderful humour in store. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Margit Bjerg
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Keitel
It's an actors's feast and a classic. Wayne Wang may have disappeared from the cinema scene, but this film will remain an evergreen classic for fans of great character actors and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Keizu
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep, captivating, dry humor, no nonsense film not to be missed.
I first saw this movie when in came out in 1995 and then bought the BD in 2012. It is still am amazing film about human nature, love and New York. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Carno Polo
2.0 out of 5 stars Should carry a health warning
The cover says 'where there's smoke...there's laughter'. That's possibly the most misleading strapline ever. There is no laughter in this film - none. Read more
Published on 6 April 2011 by Justice Peace
5.0 out of 5 stars fresh, subtle, involving - beautifully made and very human
This is a lovely film from start to finish. Paul, a distinguished writer who has published nothing since the sudden death of his wife, lives alone in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2011 by hillbank68
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