Monday, January 17, 2011

"House of Games" (1987) Lindsey Crouse, Joe Mantenga: Written/Directed by David Mamet

Genre: Drama

Mike: Wait, wait, wait. What is this? What are you gonna do to me? What are you fronting off about? And if I'm this bad dude, why don't I just take out some gun, blow you to a billion parts?
Dr. Margaret Ford: I'll tell you why. Cuz I think you're just a bully.
Mike: [chuckles] Just a bully? What, you're not gonna let me carry your books? Aren't you a caution.
Dr. Margaret Ford: Let's talk turkey, pal.

This movie was the first that playwright David Mamet directed ,an adaptation of his own screenplay. The story pits a psychiatrist with a best-selling book who butts up against a steely con man named Mike (Joe Mantegna) in a seedy bar and gaming club to help one of her patients, a desperate young man who appears on the verge of suicide.

The shrink Margaret Ford (Lindsey Crouse) becomes attracted to the world of con artists and how they conduct their con games,all the bluffs and "tells" and signals and elaborate schemes which set up "marks" to turn over large amounts of money with deceptions that are tightly coordinated and on the knife edge of danger. Margaret is intrigued by both this underworld of confidence men Mike has assembled to make his illicit living, and the obvious chemistry she and Mike have as a team in this dangerous demimonde world of dark streets and dangerous situations.

The film has a group of engaging characters and enough twists and turns to keep one guessing who will come out ahead (or at least alive) in this smart highly charged suspense film.


  1. Well, this is an oldie! I'll have to see if Netflix has it.
    Thanks, Doug.

  2. Completely new to me Doug, I shall keep an eye open for it.

  3. It really is a "sleeper" movie, Jacquie. Very smart and no car chases! If you can find this one to rent, let me know what you thought of it.

  4. David Mamet has made a few interesting movies as well, like "Heist" and, oddly enough but succesfully, a version of Terence Rattigan's very British "The Winslow Boy". But this is the one of his movies I am still most impressed with, Jim.