Cinema: Mad Fantasy


Directed by KAREL REISZ Screenplay by JAMES TOBACK

One of the inescapable commonplaces of popular psychology is the belief that compulsive gambling, like alcoholism, is a disease and its victims are more to be pitied than censured. Clinically speaking, that view makes good sense. But dramatically it is something of a downer.

So step right up and meet Axel (James Caan), the gambler as existential hero, a man determined to risk not only money but the love of family, a good woman (Lauren Hutton) and self. Why?

Because, it would seem, he has read too much Dostoyevsky. From literature's most famous betting freak...

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