THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIEUSA | 1976 | 135 mins | Rated R | Drama, Film Noir
Wednesday January 15, 2014
Martha's Vineyard Film Center
$12 General Admission, $9 Member
Doors Open for admissions 30 min. prior to screening
Buy tickets at Film Center or online now
Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel
John Cassavetes takes a contemporary film noir turn (which he would return to in Gloria) after exploring domestic melodrama in A Woman Under the Influence with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara plays Cosmo Vitelli, the owner of a sleazy Los Angeles strip joint, who loses $20,000 at a mob gambling club owned by a small time gangster (Seymour Cassel). Since Cosmo doesn’t have the $20,000, he is forced to murder a Chinese bookie in order to clear his debt to the mob. What Cosmo doesn’t know is he’s part of a set-up. The bookie is actually a West Coast mob boss protected around the clock by bodyguards. The mobsters figure that Cosmo will be killed in an impossible hit and they can take over his nightclub. But Cosmo proves luckier than the mobsters think — he manages to kill his target, and now the mobsters have to track down Cosmo and kill him.
"A postnoir masterpiece."
"A one-of-a-kind gangster drama with an impeccable performance by Ben Gazarra."
"Even though this feels relatively streamlined by Cassavetes' standards, I thought it was eminently watchable, if not exceptionally profound."