Re-Issue. Jack Nicholson continues a successful collaboration with director Bob Rafelson, having previously worked together on Five Easy Pieces, to play the lead role of David Staebler (one which Al Pacino was originally offered before deciding to star in The Godfather).
The majority of the film is set in Atlantic City with crafted cinematography by famed László Kovács who eerily films a landscape of yet-to-be-built casino-hotels. Rafelson’s mature work is mixed with moments of surreality and a relationship between two brothers from very different walks of life who team up for an inevitably doomed series of get-rich-quick schemes (David is a depressed radio DJ while his sibling, Jason is an ex-con who dreams big).
The King of Marvin Gardens remains a work of tragedy, in classic ménage-à-trois format (the brothers’ escapades are joined by Jason’s beauty queen partner Sally), that holds it own amidst a pantheon of great works of American cinema from a celebrated decade.
Certificate: 15 Distributor: Park Circus
Dir. Bob Rafelson, US, 1972, 103 mins
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn