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

Today’s pic (and need I remind you to click to embiggen?) is from John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Tim is Flo, the strangely likeable, often garrulous torpedo of a soft-spoken, ever polite Hollywood mob boss (Morgan Woodward) putting the squeeze on stripclub owner Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara).

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

There is so much going on in this shot. The strained politeness between Gazzara and Woodward is priceless. Flo has just bestowed his famous double handshake on Cosmo, which is akin to having a huge pair of manacles clamped down on your wrists. But he appears to genuinely like Cosmo (even when he’s beating him up later in the film) and treats him like an old friend, expansively introducing him to the rest of the mob. It’s a scene you won’t forget in a film that will worm its way into your brain in the best of ways. Don’t miss it.

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