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

Today we take another gander at Flo, that enigmatic mix of bonhomie and brute force from John CassavetesThe Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Here he reminds Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) of his obligations, as fellow gangster Phil (Robert Phillips) listens.

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, my fellow MST3K pals will recognize Phillips as Chief Pallin, the put-upon superior of Mitchell (1975). “You’re gonna get me mad, Mitchell, and when that happens I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. Now get out.” Phillips is an interesting character himself, having been a pro football player, bodyguard for Adlai Stevenson, and worked undercover for the Los Angeles Police Department, among other exploits. He is also the author of Sixty-One Ways to End an Argument.

Pic of the Day: “Convicts 4” revisited

Our pic of the day is another promotional still from Convicts 4 (1962) (aka Reprieve), the prison drama written and directed by Millard Kaufman. The big cake-eating scene is about to begin.

The notation on the back is worth quoting:

27. PRISON PARTY—Roland LaStarza, Tom Gilson, Ben Gazzara, and Timothy Carey on Dannemora Prison’s “hill of courts” in this scene of Allied Artists’ “Reprieve.” Gazzara plays John Resko, famed “prison Rembrandt.”

Notable trivia: Kaufman was the co-creator of Mr. Magoo! LaStarza was a professional heavyweight boxer for many years. He gave Rocky Marciano quite a run for his money in 1953 (I always thought Tim should have played a boxer at some point). This was Gilson’s last feature film; he was shot in self-defense by his estranged wife, model and actress Saundra Edwards, during a domestic dispute.

Pic of the Day: “Convicts 4” revisited

Our pic of the day (and you remember about clicking for embiggening) is a nice promotional portrait of Timothy from Convicts 4, aka Reprieve (1962), one of my latest eBay finds. I’m still not sure if that’s a hearing aid or a transistor radio he has there. He used a similar device in House of Numbers (1957), also while portraying a prisoner. Hmm.

The typewritten notation on the back of the photo is worth sharing:

84, 85. TIMOTHY CAREY, remembered for his hit performance in “Revolt in the Big House” a few years ago, plays a convict ringleader in Millard Kaufman and Ronald Lubin’s “Reprieve,” Allied Artists production starring Ben Gazzara, Stuart Whitman, Ray Walston, and guest-starring Vincent Price, Rod Steiger, Broderick Crawford, Dodie Stevens, Jack Kruschen, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Carey is currently being hailed for his independently made “new wave” film, “The World’s Greatest Sinner.”

Ben Gazzara 1930 – 2012

I am riding a serious bummer over the news of the death earlier today of Ben Gazzara. A little voice had told me to post a pic from Convicts 4 this morning; so glad that I did. Here are a few more pics of Gazzara with Timothy, from that film and also The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976).  Rest well, Ben. There are no more left like you, and you will be sorely missed.

Pic of the Day: “Convicts 4” revisited

Our pic for today takes another look at Convicts 4 (1962), based on the book Reprieve by John Resko, an account of his time in prison. Tim, as fellow prisoner Nick, is startled by the sudden breakout of a big fight between Resko (Ben Gazzara) and Iggy (Ray Walston).

As I’m sure we’re all aware, Tim and Gazzara met onscreen again 14 years later in John CassavetesThe Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976).

Pic(s) of the Day: “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” press kit photos

Because the year’s almost over and I’m feeling generous, today you get two pics. They are both promotional stills from The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), directed by John Cassavetes. The first one features Tim and Seymour Cassel during the casino scene. The second is a good shot of Tim’s back as he prepares to beat the snot out of a very unhappy Ben Gazzara.

Tim and Seymour Cassel

Tim and Ben Gazzara

Can’t think of too much else to add. If you haven’t seen this film yet, what is the matter with you??

Video of the Week: “Convicts 4”

This week we feature Tim’s first appearance in Convicts 4 (1962), originally known as Reprieve and written and directed by Millard Kaufman. Tim is an affable convict by the name of Nick. You gotta love this guy.

Tim and Ben Gazzara would meet again in 1976, in John CassavetesThe Killing of  a Chinese Bookie.

Pic of the Day: “Convicts 4”

The pic of the day (and you know to click to embiggen, I’m sure) is from Convicts 4 (1962), directed by Millard Kaufman and starring Ben Gazzara as real-life prisoner John Resko. Tim is his genial fellow inmate Nick, who talks through his teeth, shoves a ginormous slice of cake into his face, and offers John a bite of his “bean sammich.”

Convicts 4

Tim and Gazzara would meet again 14 years later in John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), under much less genial circumstances.

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.