“That jerk Karl Marx said opium was the… religion of people. I got news for him, it’s money.”
John Cassevetes is a cinema name I’ve heard a lot. But I think until a few years ago, I assumed he was just some stone faced, hard ass actor, in the vein of Lee Marvin, or Clint Eastwood, or Burt Lancaster. Then, I somehow found out that he was a director as well as actor. Even better, he was the kind of rogue director who acted in mainstream movies, just so he could spend his pay cheque on making his own little indies. That’s the kind of rebel Hollywood story I love. So I knew I had to see some of his work as a director. Starting with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazara) owns and runs a small time strip club. It’s nothing amazing, but it pulls enough money for Cosmo to finally pay off a long standing gambling debt. Obviously not the kind of bloke who learns from his mistakes, Cosmo celebrates paying off his last debt by going out for big night of gambling, and wracking up a new one. $23,000 in the hole, the people Cosmo is in debt to aren’t the kind of people to accept an installment plan for repayment. Instead, they have a deal for Cosmo. (more…)