Directed by John Cassavetes • 1976 • United States
Starring Ben Gazzara, Timothy Agoglia Carey, Seymour Cassel
John Cassavetes engages with film noir in his own inimitable style with THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays a gentleman’s club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment and his own unhealthy appetites. When he runs afoul of loan sharks, Cosmo must carry out a terrible crime or lose his way of life. Mesmerizing and idiosyncratic, the film is a provocative examination of masculine identity.
THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE was released in 1976 after what Cassavetes described as a very rushed editing period. The film was a commercial failure and was pulled from theaters after seven days. Two years later, after the completion of OPENING NIGHT, Cassavetes re-edited the film—cutting near...
Ben Gazzara and Al Ruban on THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE
In this interview piece, actor Ben Gazzara and producer-cinematographer Al Ruban reflect on THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE’s production and release, and director John Cassavetes’s personal connection to the story. The interviews were conducted in Los Angeles and New York in 2004.