Pic of the Day: “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” revisited

We’ll be closing out the week by taking another look at Flo, the enigmatic muscle behind a gang of mediocre Hollywood gangsters in John CassavetesThe Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). In a film full of great close-ups, this is one of the best.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Ara Corbett tells us in the Filmfax article “Rebels With a Cause: The Timothy Carey-John Cassavetes Partnership,” “Plans to film Confession, a script that Cassavetes wrote with his son Nick, three years later never materialized, though the plan was to reunite the acclaimed A Woman Under the Influence team of Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands along with Cassavetes’ daughter, Zoe, and Carey as a gangster named Ibizza.” Good Lord – how epic would that have been? We can only dream.

Pic of the Day: “Flight to Hong Kong” revisited

Our pic today takes a long-overdue look at Flight to Hong Kong (1956), the low-budget international diamond-smuggling caper directed by Joseph M. Newman. It looks like something inappropriate is going on here, but it’s just Tony Dumont (Rory Calhoun) trying to get thug Lagarto out of the way so he can get a better look at a mysterious suitcase, as Cappy (Bob Hopkins) and another miscreant in the shadows look on.

Flight to Hong Kong (1956)

Hopkins – and that’s Hopkins, not Hoskins – racked up many credited and uncredited bit parts in film and on television in his relatively short career. He died at the young age of 44 in 1962.

Video of the Week: “Bayou” fight scene

Another one from the archives! This is Timothy and Peter Graves‘ big fight scene at the end of Bayou (1957), aka Poor White Trash, directed by Harold Daniels. The entire film has been building up to this, and it’s worth the wait.

Also appearing are Lita Milan and Jonathan Haze. Enjoy!

Pic of the Day: “The Adventure of Caesar’s Last Sleep” revisited

Our week begins with another look at the Ellery Queen episode “The Adventure of Caesar’s Last Sleep,” first airing on March 14, 1976. Rent-a-hit-man Bonner is on the phone clearing up some details with his latest client.

The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep - 1976

Also seen in this episode (no scenes with Timothy, unfortunately) is familiar character player Michael V. Gazzo. Like Tim, he attended drama school after World War II on the G.I. Bill. He first gained success as a Broadway playwright with A Hatful of Rain, which later became a film directed by Fred Zinneman. He enjoyed a forty-year career as a memorable character actor on television and the big screen. He is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance as gruff mafioso Frankie Pentangeli in The Godfather: Part II (1974).

Quote of the Week

That long face, those droopy eyes – Timothy Carey is unmistakable, unpredictable, and electrifying with those lizard features that became both a blessing and a curse. [...]

A true maverick known for improvising and getting fired, he’s worked with Roger Corman, Coppola, and Cassavetes, including a memorable turn as a mafia heavy in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (we know just from the look in Carey’s eyes that Ben Gazzara is in deep, deep shit).

Carey is an actor to get excited about; like Bruce Dern, there’s a manic energy inside him, a screw loose combined with a fearless realism. He often didn’t seem like an actor at all, more like a wonderfully intuitive amateur dragged out of a skid row bar and slid in front of the camera.

Nic Cage wishes he was Timothy Carey, but Carey didn’t have things easy…

“I can’t even take a stroll through a park. As soon as women see my face they start gathering up their children and running for home.” – Timothy Carey

- Rob Munday, “A Face in the Crowd: Timothy Carey”; Video City London (12.13.13)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Video of the Week: “Moonrock Mambo” by Yo La Tengo

Thanks to Careyphile Eric Levy over at the Criterion page, I have discovered a contemporary song that name-checks Timothy! Check out “Moonrock Mambo” by Yo La Tengo, and pay close attention at about the 3:02 mark.

I knew these guys were cool, but their coolness factor just shot up a thousand points in my book. Sweet!

Pic of the Day: “Ransom for a Dead Man” revisited

Columbus Day? Forget that. Here at the TCE it’s Columbo Day. Presenting our first glimpse of Bert, confidant of Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) and the friendly chili slinger of Barney’s Beanery in the inaugural Columbo episode, “Ransom for a Dead Man”. The date was March 1, 1971. Bert got his own diner later on in the episode “Dead Weight” (10.27.71).

Ransom for a Dead Man

Barney’s Beanery really exists. It’s been a Los Angeles landmark for nearly one hundred years, favored by movie stars, rock gods and the average Joe alike. Apparently they still serve a mean bowl of chili. Heck, you can even order online now. Will wonders never cease.