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Atlantic City

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Atlantic City

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon
Director: Louis Malle
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: April 1981
Genres: Classic, Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Hollis McLaren, Robert Joy, Al Waxman, Wallace Shawn

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Walter Frith review follows ---
2.  Brian Koller read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Walter Frith
No Rating Supplied

Some actors find success in their careers sooner rather than later and vice versa but in the case of Burt Lancaster it was pretty much a smooth ride all the way. Lancaster died in 1994 his career began in 1946 with a picture entitled 'The Killing' and his career really took off in the 1950's with 'Jim Thorpe: All American' (1951), 'Come Back Little Sheba' (1952) and the movie that would bring him his first Oscar nomination, 'From Here to Eternity' (1953). 'From Here to Eternity' would win eight Oscars and really launch Lancaster's career and he would win the Best Actor Oscar in 1960 for 'Elmer Gantry'. In that film he played a second rate preacher whose moral followings were called into question. Lancaster's career cooled off somewhat in the late 1960's and for most of the 70's but he would make a comeback with one on his finest performances in 'Atlantic City U.S.A.' (1980). This Canadian and French production first released abroad with the above mentioned title would come to the U.S. in 1981 with the title 'Atlantic City' and play across the country including a run in a Los Angeles theatre to qualify it for Oscar consideration which it got being nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Lancaster), Actress (Susan Sarandon), Director (Louis Malle) and Original Screenplay (John Guare). It would not win any of them.

Lancaster plays Lou, a man who brags about a flamboyant and high profile career in crime but in reality is a small time loser with dreams that never succeeded into making him anything more than a two bit hood. He and Sarandon live in the same apartment building and he watches her constantly through his window and secretly falls in love. Director Louis Malle brilliantly directed this film with a distinctly European flavour and managed to tell a story without pretention and one full of strong characters. Sarandon plays a casino employee training to become a hot shot card dealer and that isn't the only deal that goes down. Her sister and lover come to visit and the lover (Canadian actor Robert Joy) becomes involved in a drug deal which embroils Sarandon and Lancaster heavily in the plot.

Lancaster's character would prove to have some noble qualities as he tries to protect Sarandon's honor and life from the scum of society. His romantic consumation of their relationship is based purely on lust while Sarandon uses him in a somewhat justifiable manner out of a sense of survival and need. It's one of the most unusual love stories you will ever see. 'Atlantic City' manages to convince its audience that while it stands up as a respectable character study, it's also a story of human nature at its most immoral and has the stamina to invoke itself as a classic motion picture without popularity but takes its place as a buried treasure.

Other members of the cast are largely made up of talented actors and notable personalities such as English born but Canadian raised Kate Reid and Canadians Hollis McLaren, Harvey Atkin and Al Waxman.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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