HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK
1976, Sony Repertory, 115 min, USA, Dir: Mark Rydell

“All the Digby-Hill-Chestnut gang needs is two breaks… out of jail… into a safe.” Second-rate entertainers James Caan and Elliott Gould try their hand at another line of work - bank robbing - when their vaudeville careers stall. Michael Caine, Diane Keaton and Charles Durning costar in this delightful comic crime caper in the tradition of THE STING. While the film’s budget almost crashed Columbia studios during production, the artistic and financial attention to details of the 19th-century period design pays off in this wildly fun crime comedy.


THE GAMBLER
1974, Paramount, 111 min, USA, Dir: Karel Reisz

James Caan plays Axel Freed, a college professor precariously juggling his academic life with a severe gambling addiction in this riveting character study. James Toback's acclaimed script melds Dostoyevsky's 1866 novel with the screenwriter's own preoccupations and obsessions to create a triumph of personal filmmaking, expertly anchored by Caan's dynamic performance, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.


THE BIG LEBOWSKI
1998, Universal, 117 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen

“What do you do for recreation?” “Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.” The Dude (a perfectly cast Jeff Bridges) decides to seek satisfaction when he’s mistaken by some German nihilists for an uptight multimillionaire with the same name, Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston). Enlisting the help of his best bowling buddies, short-fuse ’Nam vet Walter (a brilliantly misguided John Goodman) and wimpy Donny (Steve Buscemi), the Dude is determined to get to the bottom of the confusion of identities. With an excellent and appropriately bizarre supporting cast, including a seductive, swing-riding Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski, John Turturro as bowling rival and pederast “The Jesus,” and Tara Reid as millionaire Lebowski’s bored, pedicured trophy wife.


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