The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie (1976) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible). A film by John Cassavetes, starring Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel...
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Gambling thriller by John Cassavetes. Tense and emotional. A gambling debt is to be repaid by murder. Set in California the main character owns a strip joint.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the off chance you are unaware by what this means let me explain:
There are 2 versions of Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
The first is the 1976 version, which is 135 minutes in length.
The second was released in 1978, significantly re-edited by Cassavetes and 108 minutes in length.
This 1978 version is a significantly different film from the 1976 version.
In the latter (1978) version, the order of several scenes has been changed, there are different edits of a few scenes, and there are a few segments unique to the 108-minute version. The bulk of the cutting in the 1978 version removed many of the nightclub routines that were in the 1976 version.
While Cassavetes has his stamp on both films, the 'vibe' of the original film is noticably different.
Personally I think the languid flow of the 76 version is superior to the re-edit. (Although such a pace in the 76 version is both its strength and its weakness. i.e. its excellent, freeing, but too long.)
Anyway, I was expecting the original 1976 version in the post, so I was dissapointed when I got this version instead.
All other aspects of the DVD are as stated. No extras or anything but the presentation seems adequate.
The story is very simple - a guy (Ben Gazzara) runs a small cabaret club on Sunset Strip. This is his family and essentially his home and he clearly invests a lot of effort and attention into the enterprise. He loses a lot of money to the mob at a poker game and since he can't pay them back straight away, the quid pro quo is that he has to kill a Chinese bookie on behalf of this particular mafia gang. The mob then try to kill Ben Gazzara (a fairly tense cat and mouse scene in a deserted warehouse). He is shot but makes it back first to his girlfriend's house, where he is turned away and finally back to his "family" at the club. The last scene has him standing on the pavement outside the club gently dripping gore onto the pavement while the show continues inside.
The remarkable thing for me with this movie (as with all the Cassavetes movies I have seen) is the apparent improvisatory nature of the whole thing and the way it is shot - you are right on the shoulder of the characters for about 90% of the time to the point where you can almost smell the greasepaint and the hairspray.
Ben Gazzara, in particular, gives a fabulous 4D performance of a guy with not inconsiderable integrity trying to do the very best he can in less than ideal circumstances.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is pure American cinema at its best !Published 6 months ago by Jacob Heldt
An absolute bargain at this price (under £10 at time of writing),contains both the 1976 original and the 1978 edit of this wonderful film. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Scorsese's Means Streets has a similar theme (realistically portrayed 70's gangsters) and the dark atmosphere. Read morePublished 9 months ago by moviemotion
Possibly one of the most overrated films ever, it meanders for two hours before petering out wih not a great deal happening along the way. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Robert M Robinson
Well worth waiting for definitive versions of this wonderful film. Saw it years ago and have never forgotten it.Published 16 months ago by N. M. Fletcher
Now I'm the kind of person how can generally find some positive in any film, album, book etc but I'm sorry this is the exception to the rule. Read morePublished on 14 April 2014 by Poisonfeather
I had only viewed the shorter version but the longer version is better in my opinion. A good, sometimes chilling, thought provoking film - Therefore a good one. Read morePublished on 15 Sept. 2013 by LeBrit