Criterion Collection: Killing Of A Chinese Bookie

( 5 )

Overview

The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie has long had a difficult reputation amidst John Cassavetes' body of work; the film received hostile reviews when it was first released in 1976 and was ignored by audiences. Cassavetes himself was dissatisfied with the picture, and pulled it from release (he was distributing it himself) after only a few weeks. Cassavetes then re-edited the movie, shortening it from 135 minutes to 108, and re-released it in 1978, where it fared little better with audiences or the press. While a ...
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DVD (Special Edition / Wide Screen)
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Overview

The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie has long had a difficult reputation amidst John Cassavetes' body of work; the film received hostile reviews when it was first released in 1976 and was ignored by audiences. Cassavetes himself was dissatisfied with the picture, and pulled it from release (he was distributing it himself) after only a few weeks. Cassavetes then re-edited the movie, shortening it from 135 minutes to 108, and re-released it in 1978, where it fared little better with audiences or the press. While a no-frills DVD edition of the re-release cut of Chinese Bookie was released by Pioneer in 1999 and both versions appeared in the John Cassavetes: Five Films box set issued by the Criterion Collection in 2004, Criterion's 2008 edition finally makes both edits of the picture available in a stand-alone edition. Both versions of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie have been transferred to disc in widescreen format, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic play on 16x9 monitors. The image is similarly clean on both cuts of the film, capturing the deep colors of the nightclub scenes and more realistic hues of Los Angeles at night with sharpness and clarity. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and retains the slightly chaotic tone of the original sound mix. The dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. In addition to both versions of Chinese Bookie, this set also features the original theatrical trailer, new interviews with leading man Ben Gazzara and producer and actor Al Ruban, excerpts from an audio-only interview with Cassavetes conducted in 1976, a gallery of production stills, and a booklet featuring an original essay by Phillip Lopate. The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie still has a checkered reputation among Cassavetes' admirers, but this set is the best way to study its merits, and Criterion are to be congratulated for going the extra mile on a controversial title.
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Special Features

Disc 1: ; Restored high-definition digital transfer of John Cassavetes' original 135-minute edit of the film; ; Disc 2: ; Restored high-definition digital transfer of Cassavetes' 108-minute edit for the 1978 theatrical re-release; Video interviews with star Ben Gazzara and producer Al Ruban; Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted after the films release; Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos; Plus: A booklet featuring as essay by Phillip Lopate
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
John Cassavetes's elliptical mid-1970s picture walks a fine line between self-indulgent and inventive. Fascinating in its originality, the film is somewhat undercut by an unsteady blend of naturalism and artifice. Originally developed with Martin Scorsese, the movie is ostensibly a gangster film, but the genre is bent into a demented character study. Cassavetes regular Ben Gazzara delivers an absorbing performance as the man forced into a moral quandary and barely aware of it. The movie was originally released in 1976 at 135 minutes, but it was re-edited in 1978 to 109 minutes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/14/2008
  • UPC: 037429199121
  • Original Release: 1976
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 4:03:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 12,419

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Gazzara Cosmo Vitelli
Timothy Carey Flo
Azizi Johari Rachel
Meade Roberts Mr. Sophistication
Seymour Cassel Mort Weil
Alice Friedland Sherry
Donna Gordon Margo
Robert Phillips Phil
Morgan Woodward John the Boss
Virginia Carrington Betty the Mother
John Kullers Eddie "Red" (Gangster)
Al Ruban Marty Reitz
Soto Joe Hugh Chinese Bookie
Jack Ackerman Musical director
Val Avery Blair Benoit
Vincent Barbi Vince
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Gene Darcy Commodore
Elizabeth Deering Lavinia
John Finnegan Cabbie
Haji Haji
Jason Kincaid Parking Lot Attendant
Benny Marino Sonny Venice
David Rowlands Lamarr
Hugo Soto The Chinese Bookie
Frank Thomas
Kathalina Veniero Annie
Technical Credits
John Cassavetes Director, Screenwriter
Tom Cornwell Editor
Frederick Elmes Cinematographer
Mike Ferris Cinematographer
Anthony Harris Score Composer
Bo Harwood Score Composer, Sound/Sound Designer
Mary Hurne Costumes/Costume Designer
Phedon Papamichael Art Director
Al Ruban Cinematographer, Producer
Bryan Ryman Production Designer
Sam Shaw Production Designer
Michael Stringer Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - The 1976 Cut
1. Paid in Full [:17]
2. Scotch and Water [4:29]
3. Crazy Horse West [4:20]
4. "It'll Pick Up" [4:30]
5. Picking up the Girls [7:44]
6. Casino [4:54]
7. Audition [11:01]
8. Gay Paris [9:07]
9. Debt Reduction [8:51]
10. Further Instruction [5:02]
11. En Route [7:15]
12. Killing [1:19]
13. Damage Control [6:26]
14. "Imagination" [9:02]
15. Shootout [7:43]
16. A Rose for Betty [4:52]
17. Backstage [13:14]
18. A Whole New Trip [7:24]
Disc #2 -- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - The 1978 Cut
1. "It'll Pick Up"/Paid in Full [:17]
2. Scotch and Water [3:25]
3. Picking up the Girls [4:22]
4. Casino [4:11]
5. Audition [10:28]
6. Gay Paris [7:45]
7. Debt Reduction [6:01]
8. Further Instruction [8:55]
9. En Route [5:49]
10. Killing [6:18]
11. Damage Control [2:20]
12. "Imagination" [:55]
13. Shootout [4:07]
14. A Rose for Betty [6:49]
15. Backstage [4:47]
16. A Whole New Trip [10:04]
1. Color Bars
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - The 1976 Cut
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
Disc #2 -- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - The 1978 Cut
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   About the Versions
   Ben Gazzara and Al Ruban
      Play
   Cassavetes Audio Interview
      A Genre Film?
      Young Filmmakers
      Revolutionary
      "Better Than Living"
   Stills Gallery
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Customer Reviews

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