Atlantic City

If some aging actors just fade away, Burt Lancaster just got better and better. As Lou, a small-time gangster in an Atlantic City that is trying to go big-time, Lancaster may dream of the past, but he remains a remarkably physical presence. Watching the old town give way to the honky-tonk insincerity of the new hotel-casinos is like watching nature's sad, destructive course; Lou recalls the days when there was culture, in songs like “Flat Foot Floogie with the Floy Floy,” the days when “the Atlantic Ocean was really something.” Apart from the otherworldly pastels of its location cinematography, Atlantic City, costarring Susan Sarandon, is an eccentric dialogue film the likes of which are rare indeed from Hollywood, but not from Malle or the playwright John Guare, who wrote the script. Pauline Kael described it as “a mixture of observation, flights of invention, satire, perversity, anecdote, fable. And depth of feeling-what Lancaster...brings to the film.”

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