Review: ‘The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’

True to form, John Cassavetes challenges a Hollywood cliche: that technology is so advanced even the worst films usually look good. With ease, he proves that an awful film can look even worse.

True to form, John Cassavetes challenges a Hollywood cliche: that technology is so advanced even the worst films usually look good. With ease, he proves that an awful film can look even worse.

As a LA strip-show operator, Ben Gazzara gets into hock to the mob, which asks him to erase the debt by knocking off an elderly Chinese bookie (Soto Joe Hugh) who accepts the bullet as if he’s glad to get out of the picture.

In the process, Gazzara picks up a stomach wound of his own, which causes great pain initially, but is soon forgotten in the thrill of more aimless improvisation with girls and gangsters.

There’s no cinematography credit, which suggests Cassavetes either added that hat to his writer-director wardrobe, or the real culprit left town ahead of the posse.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Production

Faces. Director John Cassavetes; Producer Al Ruban; Screenplay John Cassavetes; Camera [uncredited]; Editor Tom Cornwell; Music Bo Harwood; Art Director Sam Shaw

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 135 MIN.

With

Ben Gazzara Timothy Carey Azizi Johari Meade Roberts Seymour Cassel Alice Friedland
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