The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Synopsis: Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director(s): John Cassavetes
Production: Criterion Collection
Rotten Tomatoes:
135 min

Am I late?

Right on time.

How's the club?


Will there be anything else?

- You want anything else?

- No.

Okay. Don't get too fat.

Goddamn it. The stupid son of a b*tch.

Hasn't learned yet.

Cosmo. You leave the cake at the table?

- I just wanted to thank you.

- For what?

It's been seven years. That's a long time.

For me and you.


- Can I buy you a drink?

- No. No, thanks.

I'm gonna have the coffee and the cake.

Is it all right?

You know it's all right. It's all there.

You want to count it again?


Cosmo, you're a prince.

Now you can go out and work for yourself.

Marty, you're a lowlife.

No offense, but you have no style.

I do business with ya,

but you have no style.


anytime you need some help...

come to me.

I don't ever want to see you again.

Don't push it.


I think there's a bar

on the next corner.

On the right.

Miss, may I have a scotch and water?

- Tall?

- Tall, please.

I've been pointed out by people

My name is mud

I've been dreaming all the dreams

And dancing in the evening

- Singin' in the shower

- Will you get out of here.

But nothing seems

To take your place

I'm almost in love with you

I nearly miss you

I've hardly seen you

When I do, I get

A feeling that

Something should be


- Do you mind if I sit down?

- Hey, I paid for the cab.

- Yeah.

- I got out. What do you want from me?

Come. Let's go.

Come on.

What's your name?

You called me Eddie just a

half hour ago. You forgot my name.

- Eddie.

- You had enough. I'm telling you.

- I had enough of you, Eddie.

- You forgot my name.

It's been a long day, Eddie.

Yeah, I know the problems you had...

- but I also know you got a family and kids...

- How do you know?

So let's blow this snake pit. Come on.

- Come on, lover.

- What are you doin'?

Let's play tic-tac-toe.

Oh, boy. You know what you

are? You're a meshuggenah.

- You a Jew?

- Yeah. A little bit.

From where? Where were you born?

- New York.

- No kidding.

So are you. Good people

come from New York.

What part of New York?

- Every borough. Well, I missed one.

- You were born in every borough?

- No. Born...

- I never heard of such a thing.

- Born in the greatest street in the world-Mott Street.

- Mott... I know Mott Street very well.

I was born uptown.

I was born on 29th Street...

- between 1 st and 2nd Avenue.

- The rich people.

- Nah, nah, that was poor.

- The rich people.

- Near Bellevue Hospital.

- Anything past Broome Street.

- Know where Bellevue Hospital is?

- Oh, yeah.

- The morgue?

- Yeah, but at least you had the river.

The beautiful river.

- All you rich people live by the river.

- We used to swim in that river when we were kids.

- You're right.

- We swam that way.

- The scum.

- You remember?

- That's right.

- The bags. The scumbags.

- I used to go to the Hudson River.

- Oh, yeah?


But now we're going home.

- Where?

- Your house.

There's no river there, Eddie.

Hey, pardone. You want

me to pay the driver?

Wait. Yo! Eddie!

Thank you. Right.

Nice man.

Good evening, boss.

- Sonny.

- This place has two speeds: Slow and stop.

- Slow tonight, Cosmo.

- It's all right. I'll go out and bring them in and fill the joint.

- Where the hell is everybody?

- Sonny, give me a drink.

Give me a cigarette.

- Give me a drink.

- What do you want, boss?

- Scotch.

- Rocks?


Where are the girls?

I guess they're in the back.


Out. The girls' dressing room. Out.

Customers downstairs. Hello, sweetheart.

- Get downstairs.

- Not you, sweetheart.

Tony. Out.

What? There's nobody...

there's... there's nobody down there.

Okay, girls. Come on.

Go ahead.

- Hey, sweetheart. How are ya?

- I'll live. Maybe.

- Hello, doll.

- Hi, Cosmo. How's it goin'?


- Hey, Sherry.

- Don't mess my makeup.

Still mad at me.

- Just doing a little makeup job.

- Carol.

Nice to see ya. You're back?

- Well, you don't have to worry. The place is dead.

- Oh, not again.

- Again.

- It'll pick up later on.

It'll pick up.

Hey, everything's slow. You

know, I talked to Verna.

- She said Irving's dying.

- Who's Verna?

Irving has been dead for years.

- Oh, that's not nice.

- Irving Lowe?

Rachel, could I have one

of your eyebrow pencils?

- Sure.

- It's the times.

What's the times?

- Everybody's dying.

- Well, some people are living. I wouldn't say everybody's dying.

- Teddy.

- Yeah?

I put on the news this morning.

I couldn't sleep.

- Yeah?

- These two girls in Memphis, Tennessee.

- Memphis. Yeah.

- This is gonna kill ya.

- Well, kill me.

- Early this morning, I couldn't sleep...

I don't care if it was early this

morning or late this morning.

- Oh, these boots.

- Well, this gopher...

- This gopher.

- There are a couple of kinds of gophers.

Gopher. From a hole! From a hole.

Oh, I thought you meant one that

went for coffee like you used to.

Yeah, right. No, this is a gopher...

That's terrific. Now this is broken.

- Well, gotta tell ya...

- Where did this happen, this thing with the gophers?

- Or the gopher.

- Honey, no. No chance.

- I don't know. You know.

- What are you looking for, Rachel?

I'm not the only one

in this dressing room.

- Rach.

- Rachel. What are you looking for?


I want you to hear

this story.. all of ya.

- We're listening.

- Listening.

- These two girls caught a gopher...

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John Cassavetes

John Nicholas Cassavetes (; December 9, 1929 – February 3, 1989) was a Greek-American actor, film director, and screenwriter. Cassavetes was a pioneer of American independent film, writing and directing over a dozen movies, which he partially self-financed, and pioneered the use of improvisation and a cinéma vérité style. He also acted in many Hollywood films, notably Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Dirty Dozen (1967). He studied acting with Don Richardson, utilizing an alternative technique to method acting which privileged character over traditional narrative. His income from acting made it possible for him to direct his own films independently.Cassavetes was nominated for three separate Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for The Dirty Dozen (1967), Best Original Screenplay for Faces (1968) and Best Director for A Woman Under the Influence (1974). His children Nick Cassavetes, Zoe Cassavetes, and Xan Cassavetes are also filmmakers. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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