Ben Gazzara is
Cosmo Vitelli and he 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.
This is a strange,
self-indulgent (even for John Cassavetes) home movie like thing and twenty plus
years before the "Blair Witch bla bla bla.." it makes use of hand held cameras
in public locations. It will be a shock to the system if you are unable to
watch anything other than Hollywood. This has cult following for that