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.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Buttery Jeb
Just in it for the game.
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:55 pm

399 House of Games

#1 Post by Buttery Jeb » Tue May 15, 2007 4:23 pm

House of Games

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1214/399_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter David Mamet first sat in the director's chair for this sly, merciless thriller, one of the most original and acclaimed films of the eighties. Mamet's witty tale of a therapist and best-selling author (Lindsay Crouse) who must confront her own obsessions when she meets an attractive cardsharp (Joe Mantegna) is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career criminal.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Juan Ruiz Anchia
- Audio commentary by director David Mamet and consultant and actor Ricky Jay
- New video interviews with actors Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna
- David Mamet on "House of Games," a short documentary shot on location during the film's preparation and production
- Storyboard detail from the deleted scene "The Tap"
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and excerpts from Mamet's introduction to the published screenplay

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

#2 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 15, 2007 4:40 pm

holy shit amazing, love Mamet and this is a good one.

mogwai
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:50 am
Location: California

#3 Post by mogwai » Tue May 15, 2007 4:44 pm

Indeed, terrific news. Certainly didn't see this one coming.
Last edited by mogwai on Tue May 15, 2007 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Buttery Jeb
Just in it for the game.
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:55 pm

#4 Post by Buttery Jeb » Tue May 15, 2007 4:49 pm

Damnit! If I wasn't already overextended with my DVD purchases in August, I'd get this just for the Ricky Jay commentary.

-BJ

User avatar
Gigi M.
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:09 pm
Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep

#5 Post by Gigi M. » Tue May 15, 2007 4:51 pm

First title from MGM. Awesome news!

Very cool news, I always liked this film a lot. Hadn't gotten around to buying the DVD, so this is perfect.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

#6 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue May 15, 2007 4:55 pm

This is fantastic news!

User avatar
Oedipax
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:48 am
Location: Atlanta

#7 Post by Oedipax » Tue May 15, 2007 5:37 pm

Very cool news, I always liked this film a lot. Hadn't gotten around to buying the DVD, so this is perfect.

User avatar
Jeff
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

#8 Post by Jeff » Tue May 15, 2007 7:32 pm

Holy motherfucking shit on a stick. J'adore House of Games. This will be the third copy I've bought, since my ex-girlfriend skipped town with the first one and I had to replace it right away. This is the Mametiest of Mamet films, and a perfect fit for Criterion.

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? There hasn't been a Fox release in donkey's years, and I thought that deal was done.

If this has indeed been licensed directly from the MGM catalog (which would also explain Stranger Than Paradise), it opens up a whole world of possibilities. Expect me to start screaming like a banshee for Sweet Smell of Success, Kiss Me Deadly, and every Billy Wilder film under the sun.

jmj713
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm

#9 Post by jmj713 » Tue May 15, 2007 9:02 pm

Hey if this is MGM - mightn't Criterion actually release The Graduate in a deserving edition?

User avatar
thethirdman
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:26 pm

#10 Post by thethirdman » Tue May 15, 2007 9:05 pm

jmj713 wrote:Hey if this is MGM - mightn't Criterion actually release The Graduate in a deserving edition?
That will not be happening. According to Kim Hendrickson, "Soderbergh had another track to record later that day. He was sitting down with Mike Nichols in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of Nichols's The Graduate (no, not for Criterion)."

richast2
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:49 am

#11 Post by richast2 » Tue May 15, 2007 9:21 pm

oh man, I love Mamet, and I read the screenplay for this class in college and enjoyed it, but god DAMN Lindsay Crouse can't act.

Wish they'd release The Spanish Prisoner instead.

User avatar
kinjitsu
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:39 pm
Location: Uffa!

#12 Post by kinjitsu » Tue May 15, 2007 9:33 pm

Some would argue that Rebecca Pidgeon can't act.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

#13 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue May 15, 2007 9:50 pm

kinjitsu wrote:Some would argue that Rebecca Pidgeon can't act.
My girlfriend would definitely be one of those people. I don't think she's great, but I don't think she detracts from the films either.

User avatar
kinjitsu
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:39 pm
Location: Uffa!

#14 Post by kinjitsu » Tue May 15, 2007 9:57 pm

I wasn't saying that she couldn't act, just saying...

User avatar
emcflat
Diane Keaton > Mia Farrow
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:12 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

#15 Post by emcflat » Tue May 15, 2007 10:10 pm

I am DROOLING about this! Although, if I could pick any Mamet for the CC it would be the never-released on DVD "Homicide." More undervalued and underseen than this.

Mamet is my favorite writer and one of my favorite directors as well. Wonderful! This will probably be my favorite commentary track of all time.

Not nuts about the cover, though.

User avatar
miless
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#16 Post by miless » Tue May 15, 2007 10:18 pm

Jeff wrote:If this has indeed been licensed directly from the MGM catalog (which would also explain Stranger Than Paradise), it opens up a whole world of possibilities. Expect me to start screaming like a banshee for Sweet Smell of Success, Kiss Me Deadly, and every Billy Wilder film under the sun.
The rights to Stranger Than Paradise (along with all of Jarmusch's other films, except possibly Year of the Horse) are owned by Jarmusch himself. The license to Stranger Than Paradise from MGM most likely (I believe) expired and Jim took it to Criterion.
Fox would be dumb to license out things like Kiss Me Deadly or the Billy Wilder films because they are much more marketable than something like a Jules Dassin title (Fox has also been doing a good job with their noir releases)

User avatar
Jeff
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

#17 Post by Jeff » Tue May 15, 2007 10:20 pm

Mamet's wives always give stilted, awkward, uncomfortable performances in Mamet films, but hell, that's part of their charm. They take the whole metronome-rhythm dialog thing to weird levels. He probably exerts even more Machiavellian control over them than he does everyone else. Crouse's performance in House of Games makes me squirm in my seat, but I love it. She's actually quite good for other directors.

Pigeon can't act at all, but damned if she doesn't give Dave's Staccato the ol' college try in The Spanish Prisoner. I once had the opportunity to chat with Campbell Scott after a screening of that one, and asked him about what kind of direction Mamet was giving in terms of the dialog and if it was difficult or uncomfortable. He told me that was a subject that he'd rather not discuss. He said that Mamet was a great writer, but when he (Scott) directs actors, he feels that it's important to let them have some influence on their own performance.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

#18 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 15, 2007 10:28 pm

Pigeon should have kept her stage role in the film version of Oleanna, because whoever that girl was in the movie adaptation gives one of the all-time worst film performances.

I don't know who owns the rights but I would have thought for sure the Spanish Prisoner would have shown up on Criterion before this, although I welcome the announcement with open arms.

User avatar
Jeff
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

#19 Post by Jeff » Tue May 15, 2007 10:32 pm

domino harvey wrote:I don't know who owns the rights but I would have thought for sure the Spanish Prisoner would have shown up on Criterion before this, although I welcome the announcement with open arms.
Sony's got The Spanish Prisoner. It's out of print right now, but as far as I know, there's no reason to expect the rights to change hands any time soon.

User avatar
Highway 61
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:40 pm

#20 Post by Highway 61 » Tue May 15, 2007 11:05 pm

Others have already said it, but holy shit, did this come out of left field! Although I already own the MGM disc, this is a must-buy.

And yes, I agree that Lindsay Crouse's performance is nothing to write home about. Her acting (or maybe it's just her lazy posture) during the movie's climax lessens the film significantly. Such a key scene, such awkward execution. To be fair to Crouse, however, Mamet's inexperience directing film certainly didn't help either.

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

#21 Post by Tribe » Tue May 15, 2007 11:28 pm

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).

Tribe

User avatar
denti alligator
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: "born in heaven, raised in hell"

#22 Post by denti alligator » Tue May 15, 2007 11:37 pm

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'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.

I'm thrilled about this release. Ricky Jay commentary! Wow!

User avatar
Donald Brown
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:21 pm
Location: a long the riverrun

#23 Post by Donald Brown » Tue May 15, 2007 11:45 pm

Crouse's performance is the only thing I like about this film.

User avatar
Belmondo
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Cape Cod

#24 Post by Belmondo » Tue May 15, 2007 11:56 pm

I thought Lindsay Crouse was just right for this role and I thought she did a good job as Treat Williams' wife in PRINCE OF THE CITY and as the wronged nurse in the climactic scenes of THE VERDICT.

I saw HOUSE OF GAMES in its original release and the audience applauded loudly when it was over. My sentiments exactly.

User avatar
Highway 61
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:40 pm

#25 Post by Highway 61 » Tue May 15, 2007 11:56 pm

denti alligator wrote: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.
Funny, even though I don't care for Crusoe's work here (well, it's really only that last scene--I just hate it), I don't mind Pigeon's performances at all. I particularly like her reading of "I'm stuck on you" in The Spanish Prisoner.

Post Reply