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Saint Jack (1979)

Cast: Ben Gazzara, Denholm Elliott, James Villiers, more...
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
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Rating:
Studio: New Concorde
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 114 min.
Languages: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Synopsis
After a couple of major studio flops, Peter Bogdanovich returned to his 1960s filmmaking roots with this Roger Corman-produced low budget film. Easygoing expatriate Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara) makes his living in early-1970s Singapore legally and illegally looking after the needs of American and British businessmen, such as the mild-mannered William Leigh (Denholm Elliott). With his gift for putting clients and girls at ease, Jack opens a successful brothel, but pressure from local mobsters soon puts him out of business. Ever the survivor, he starts working for the shady, Cuban-cigar-smoking Eddie Schuman (Bogdanovich) as a pimp for GIs on breaks from Vietnam. But Jack's conscience starts to dog him when Schuman hires him to take compromising pictures of a visiting Senator (George Lazenby). Adapted by Bogdanovich, Howard O. Sackler, and Paul Theroux from Theroux's novel, Saint Jack offers a pimp with a heart of gold, who is less an ugly colonial American abroad than an outsider trying to make the best of a bad situation. Shooting on location in Singapore, cinematographer Robby Müller lends an appropriately gritty look to the matter-of-fact narrative. With restrained and forceful performances by Gazzara and Elliott, Saint Jack was something of a succès d'estime for the embattled Bogdanovich, winning the Italian Journalist Award for Best Film at the 1979 Venice Film Festival. While not a box-office success, it remains an affecting and unsung character study of a man's desire to forge a reasonably honorable life in a dishonorable profession. ~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide



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