Review Detail

9.2 5 10
FanFix August 12, 2012 2516
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Audio Editing
Visual Editing
Overview - Overlooked, difficult Cassavetes film about seedy nightclub owner who owes the mob large. Slate will be wiped if he performs a small service. Reference title.

Film plays like homage to French new wave of Truffaut, Godard, Resnais. Gazzara very much in the Delon mold.

Gatos chopped much from this - quite a bit, actually - but retained the integrity of the story.

Video - No artifacts or problems. Source material was never glossy or crisp, but the blacks are solid and the afternoon scenes never washed out. There was an awkward transition around the 19 minute mark. Fade to black ought to have been smoother, followed by an abrupt arrival of the mob. Felt grindhouse, perhaps by design.

Audio - Sound as good as it gets, which doesn’t say a lot. Plenty of mumbled, garbled dialogue, a shooting that sounds like a backfire, and a poorly miked Gazzarri’s. Can’t fault Gatos for this, and there was nothing worsened by his edit.

Narrative - This edit skews a little more grindhouse, much less arthouse. The pace remains slow, but if you doze you realize you missed a lot. This version is more straight ahead, less contemplative. No nitpicking here, but it seems like a lighter version. Had this been the released film, I suspect it would have done more business, but .eventually, Cassavetes fans would have flocked to the longer, director’s cut.

Enjoyment - I did enjoy this. More than I thought I would. Over the years, I have viewed The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie numerous times. Watched it at the Nuart every time it screened, later rented the VHS, then bought a copy. This was very much the LA of my late teens and Cassavetes did a haunting job capturing the late, late night.

Note - Gazzarri’s (where the Gazzara character runs his nightclub) was a hugely popular rock club, so every time I watch this I look for street rats I used to see nightly outside Gazzarri’s, the Strip, or on the Boulevard near the Pussy Cat.

Well recommended, with the warning that Gazzara behaves like a normal man caught in a vise. Modern, epic heroics do not apply. Wonderful little film, and Gatos’s edit is a nice way to introduce Cassavetes work to the uninitiated.

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Owner's reply December 10, 2014

Hey Vultural,

Thanks for watching the edit and thanks for taking the time to write a review. I'm glad you liked it.

*Regarding the awkward transition. It was not intentional, just chalk it up to me being a first time editor and not being able to come up with a better transition between scenes!*

Thanks again.

- Gatos

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