Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt.
Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication.
Since they met the first time in boarding school as kids, it was obvious that orphans Kay and Frank would become a couple. But at sixteen, Frank foolishly attempts to rob a bank with a water gun and ends up in jail for eight years. Meanwhile Kay is sent to foster parents, and she meets successful businessman Mike, who she marries and has two kids with. Now Frank is released from prison and immediately starts wooing Kay again. Although she's happy with Mike, she can't withdraw herself completely. Old memories and her husband's jealousy make her spend more and more time with Frank.