399 House of Games

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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domino harvey
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#26 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 16, 2007 12:07 am

Pidgeon was really great in the Winslow Boy and pretty cute in State and Main.

...also since we've got like four different spellings going on here (me included), I just checked the DVD box... P-I-D-G-E-O-N. :oops:

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jt
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#27 Post by jt » Wed May 16, 2007 3:14 am

Tribe wrote:I haven't seen this in a good ten plus years. I wonder how well it's held up since I last saw it. I remember enjoying it quite a bit, and I happened to like the obviously stylized dialogue and purposely stiff acting (at least that's how I looked at it back then).
I know what you mean, I tried watching this with a girlfriend about 5 years ago but she made me turn it off half-way through.

"Why is the acting and dialogue so bad, you said this was a good film?"
"Yes, Mamet wants it like that"
"Why?"
"Because it's stylized"
"Shit, what does that even mean? It's just really bad, turn it off."

I still kind of like this film but in the same way I like good, cheesy B-Movies or episodes of 'Columbo'. Don't think it's even in my top 5 Mamet and certainly not something that I ever thought was crying out for a bells and whistles edition.
Well, I suppose different strokes...

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#28 Post by Narshty » Wed May 16, 2007 5:37 am

Jeff wrote:I can't wait to see who the credited licensor is on the package. Will it be "under exclusive license" from Filmhaus, Orion, MGM, or Fox? Filmhaus was the production company, and perhaps rights have reverted to them or one of the producers. Orion was the original theatrical distributor, which is how MGM ended up with it. Fox distributes MGM product, but do they have the authority to license it, and if so is this the first MGM title that Criterion would have come up with?
I remember when everyone thought MGM and Criterion were bed-hopping when Slacker and then Fanny and Alexander were announced, but it turned out MGM's licences had simply expired. However, this is still in print from MGM which would seem to muddy the waters somewhat. It would also explain the reappearance of Salo (which has a "Copyright United Artists" notice on the opening credits, so they own it out-and-out) and that tantalising bit in the original MGM/Fox-deal press release that said Fox had been chosen for their experience in allowing third parties to handle their catalogue titles.
There hasn't been a Fox release in donkey's years, and I thought that deal was done.
Allegedly we've still got Cry of the City coming at some point, but that well does seem to have dried up (see also: New Line).

Yay, Mamet!

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#29 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed May 16, 2007 9:35 am

Wowzers, this IS great news. Totally did not see this one coming. I think that this film is definitely my fave among Mamet's directorial efforts. I just love all the bits where Mantegna is showing Crouse the tricks of his trade, esp. the first bit with the sick aunt and palming the money with the envelope.

And of course, the stand-out dialogue... "I'm from the United States of kiss-my-ass!"

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skuhn8
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#30 Post by skuhn8 » Wed May 16, 2007 10:47 am

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:And of course, the stand-out dialogue... "I'm from the United States of kiss-my-ass!"
Huh, you don't say. Just watched an episode of West Wing last night when Toby Ziegler quips: "I'm from the United States of suck my -- [interrupted]". Homage? Coincidence?

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Antoine Doinel
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#31 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed May 16, 2007 12:11 pm

denti alligator wrote:
Tribe wrote: I happened to like the obviously stylized dialogue and purposely stiff acting (at least that's how I looked at it back then).
I don't understand all this talk of "bad acting." This is Mamet's style. He wants his actors to deliver their lines in this stilted way. Pidgin is for this reason the perfect Mamet actor.
I think that Mamet's uniquely phrased delivery is to put emphasis on parts of the dialogue he's written that if read straight, wouldn't have the same impact. I think the knock against Pidgeon is that she delivers the lines but (in some people's opinion) misses the essence of what she's supposed to be saying.

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Jeff
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#32 Post by Jeff » Wed May 16, 2007 1:07 pm

denti alligator wrote:I'm with Tribe. I don't understand all this talk of "bad acting." This is Mamet's style. He wants his actors to deliver their lines in this stilted way. Pidgin is for this reason the perfect Mamet actor.
When I knocked Pidgeon's and Crouse's acting, that is not a dig at Mamet's dialog style at all. I get a kick out of it when it's done right. Just like Shakespeare though, delivering Mametian dialog is a skill that not everyone has. For my money, Mamet regulars Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, and Ricky Jay have it down pat. Alec Baldwin and Ed O'Neill are naturals too.

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#33 Post by mteller » Wed May 16, 2007 10:48 pm

I loved this film in high school/college, but since then I've lost some enthusiasm. Still a fun flick though, and a Ricky Jay commentary has potential.

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#34 Post by TheRanchHand » Wed May 16, 2007 11:40 pm

This is great. I know David and he mentioned he had done a commentary for this. Great film and will be interesting to hear his in depth thoughts on it. I'll make sure and get this one signed for sure =D>

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#35 Post by Jameson281 » Mon May 21, 2007 1:59 am

Fox had nothing to do with this deal; MGM struck it a couple years ago as part of the deal to get Criterion's RAGING BULL commentary. There are 3 or 4 other titles in the deal. I can't reveal what they are, but I will say they are NOT any of the Kubricks, any of the Wilders or anything Criterion released previously on DVD or laser, with one exception.

The quote from the old press release about Fox being chosen to distribute MGM titles because of expertise in handling third party licenses has been frequently misinterpreted. It does NOT mean that Fox can license MGM titles to third parties such as Criterion. What it means is that Fox has expertise in distributing on behalf of third parties--such as MGM.

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Harold Gervais
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#36 Post by Harold Gervais » Mon May 21, 2007 6:18 pm

Great news about House of Games as it was such a key movie from the 1980s and a key movie for Mamet. Now if someone would get his film Homicide released.
Jameson281 wrote:Fox had nothing to do with this deal; MGM struck it a couple years ago as part of the deal to get Criterion's RAGING BULL commentary. There are 3 or 4 other titles in the deal. I can't reveal what they are, but I will say they are NOT any of the Kubricks, any of the Wilders or anything Criterion released previously on DVD or laser, with one exception.
Have to wonder if they have managed to get their hands back on Spinal Tap....or maybe a Criterion DVD of Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors will some day be a reality.

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Matt
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#37 Post by Matt » Mon May 21, 2007 6:24 pm

Harold Gervais wrote:Have to wonder if they have managed to get their hands back on Spinal Tap....or maybe a Criterion DVD of Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors will some day be a reality.
Allow me to divert the inevitable speculation on MGM titles to this thread.

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Person
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#38 Post by Person » Mon May 21, 2007 7:32 pm

I was impressed with House of Games when I saw it for the first time last year. Very sleek and unpredictable story. I would never have thought that we'd ever see a Criterion of it, though. Wasn't it an independent film? I think its a case of MGM's (via Orion) license expiring. There are certainly loads of great United Artists films that I'd love to see on Criterion.

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#39 Post by Jameson281 » Tue May 22, 2007 10:30 am

Person wrote: Wasn't it an independent film? I think its a case of MGM's (via Orion) license expiring.
No, MGM still has the rights.

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#40 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Wed May 23, 2007 5:24 pm


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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#41 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:59 pm

After all the jibber jabber from the earlier Spartan talk from earlier, I took this forums advice, and was blown away by it.

Since then I've been sort of on Mamet binge. I've seen (along with Spartan) State and Main, Heist, The Spanish Prinsoner, and finally, I saw this last night. All excellent movies (Heist being my favorite), and this coming along couldn't have come at a better time.

Now I'm reading through his Bambi vs. Godzilla, and I see the man has an obsession with the style and acting of old Hollywood films. From his first film it's evident from the fact that the characters all get such great one-liners (Ricky Jay), the wet pavement in House of Games, and the steam coming from the sewers give it the gritty old crime film vibe.

What I love as well is he doesn't seem to hung up on forcing style on to his films. The shots are very simple, and the style comes through in only the delivery of the lines, and the actual lines they say (mentioned earlier, "I'm from the United-States of KISS MY ASS!").

At the pace I'm going, I'm going to get through the Mamet catalog by the end of next month, and that includes plays (I've only got through "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" so far!).

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domino harvey
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#42 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:16 pm

If you're at all interested in play theory, you should read his Three Uses For the Knife.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#43 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:33 pm

domino harvey wrote:If you're at all interested in play theory, you should read his Three Uses For the Knife.
Way ahead of you. Ordered it on eBay last night for 3 bucks. He mentioned it's in passing in Bambi vs. Godzilla saying to read it if you want advice on how to structure a story.

Oh yeah, anyone seen Ricky Jay's Poker DVD? Looks to be a perfect combination with House of Games.

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Belmondo
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#44 Post by Belmondo » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:47 pm

Although we don't hear from Mamet directly, the new Collector's Edition of THE VERDICT has a good commentary track by Sidney Lumet in which he discusses Mamet's screenplay in some detail.

By the way, Lumet also flatly denies that Lindsay Crouse got her role in this movie because she was married to Mamet at the time. Lumet reminds us that he had used her before in PRINCE OF THE CITY.

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domino harvey
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#45 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:54 pm

if you want to hear the worst commentary of all time, listen to Mamet's track on the Edmond DVD. Only insight from the first ten minutes: "No one steps out of an elevator like Bill Macy!"

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#46 Post by CSM126 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:57 pm

domino harvey wrote:if you want to hear the worst commentary of all time, listen to Mamet's track on the Edmond DVD. Only insight from the first ten minutes: "No one steps out of an elevator like Bill Macy!"
It can't possibly be worse than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven on Total Recall.

"Ooh Ahnald! Zees ees zee part vere you heet da lady in da face!"

"OH YEAH!! HA HA!! Dere eet ees!"

Repeat a few times, occasionally substituting "guy" for "lady" and you have essentially the whole track.

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domino harvey
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#47 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:02 pm

I dunno, the Edmond track also includes praise for the film Crash.

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#48 Post by CSM126 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:05 pm

domino harvey wrote:I dunno, the Edmond track also includes praise for the film Crash.
Is that a... bad thing?

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jbeall
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#49 Post by jbeall » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:12 pm

CSM126 wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I dunno, the Edmond track also includes praise for the film Crash.
Is that a...bad thing?
Depends on which Crash you're talking about. I suppose individual posters will have differing opinions as to which one's good and which one isn't...

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domino harvey
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#50 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:14 pm

Mamet was praising the one with Tony Danza.

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