THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE
1976, Westchester Films, 129 min, Dir: John Cassavetes

A close friend of director-writer John Cassavetes, Timothy Carey stars here as Flo, a hulking Hollywood mobster who plots to take over the Sunset Boulevard strip club run by Ben Gazzara.


ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


SAINT JACK
1979, Concorde-New Horizon, 112 min, USA, Dir: Peter Bogdanovich

One of director Peter Bogdanovich’s best and most underrated films is adapted from the Paul Theroux novel and features Ben Gazzara as an easygoing, expatriate American pimp in Vietnam-era Singapore. Exceptionally authentic location atmosphere highlights this fascinating character study. With Denholm Elliott, Joss Ackland and George Lazenby.


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