The Killing of a Chinese Bookie [2 Discs] [Special Edition] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [English] [1976]

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Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • Restored high-definition digital transfer of John Cassavetes' original 135-minute edit of the film
  • Disc 2:
  • Restored high-definition digital transfer of Cassavetes' 108-minute edit for the 1978 theatrical re-release
  • Video interviews with star Ben Gazzara and producer Al Ruban
  • Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted after the films release
  • Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
  • Plus: A booklet featuring as essay by Phillip Lopate


The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
John Cassavetes takes a contemporary film noir turn (which he would return to in Gloria) after exploring domestic melodrama in A Woman Under the Influence with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara plays Cosmo Vitelli, the owner of a sleazy Los Angeles strip joint, who loses $20,000 at a mob gambling club owned by a small time gangster (Seymour Cassel). Since Cosmo doesn't have the $20,000, he is forced to murder a Chinese bookie in order to clear his debt to the mob. What Cosmo doesn't know is he's part of a set-up. The bookie is actually a West Coast mob boss protected around the clock by bodyguards. The mobsters figure that Cosmo will be killed in an impossible hit and they can take over his nightclub. But Cosmo proves luckier than the mobsters think -- he manages to kill his target, and now the mobsters have to track down Cosmo and kill him. Initially, at 133 minutes, the movie was subsequently re-edited by Cassavetes to 109 minutes. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ben Gazzara
    Ben Gazzara - Cosmo Vitelli
  • Timothy Carey
    Timothy Carey - Flo
  • Image coming soon
    Azizi Johari - Rachel
  • Image coming soon
    Meade Roberts - Mr. Sophistication
  • Seymour Cassel
    Seymour Cassel - Mort Weil
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.