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House of Games - Criterion Collection
House of Games - Criterion Collection
Actors: Joe Mantegna, Lindsay Crouse, Mike Nussbaum, Lilia Skala, J.T. Walsh
Director: David Mamet
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
R     2007     1hr 42min

Pulitzer Prize?winning playwright and screenwriter David Mamet first sat in the director?s chair for this sly, merciless thriller, one of the most original and acclaimed films of the eighties. Mamet?s witty tale of a thera...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Joe Mantegna, Lindsay Crouse, Mike Nussbaum, Lilia Skala, J.T. Walsh
Director: David Mamet
Creators: David Mamet, Michael Hausman
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 08/21/2007
Original Release Date: 10/11/1987
Theatrical Release Date: 10/11/1987
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 22
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Mamet's directorial debut gets the Deluxe DVD treatment!
Cubist | United States | 08/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you've suffered through the bare-bones, full-screen MGM release that came out a few years ago, this new edition will come as a fantastic upgrade.

Easily, the highlight for David Mamet fans is the audio commentary with the man and actor Ricky Jay. These two old friends engage in lively philosophical discussions on a variety of topics, including why President Bush is such a terrible liar, the art of the con game and why psychiatry is a scam. Ricky Jay talks about the nature of the con and some of the lingo involved while keeping Mamet talking by prodding him with questions. Mamet is his usual blunt self as he constantly talks about how Orion messed up distributing the film in this engaging and thought-provoking commentary.

There is an interview with actress Lindsay Crouse who mentions that Mamet wrote the role of Dr. Ford for her (They were married at the time) and says that he spent five years trying to get the film made because the studios found the material too dark.

Also included is an interview with Joe Mantegna. He talks about his history with Mamet that goes back to Chicago theatre in the 1970s. He eventually appeared in the stage version of Glengarry Glen Ross when Al Pacino turned it down and went on to win a Tony for it. He talks about how he related to the character of Mike and recounts some amusing anecdotes about filming.

"David Mamet on House of Games" is 25-minute making of featurette that the film's producer and his wife shot in Vermont while Mamet was preparing the film and in Seattle while he was shooting it. There is some great footage of Mamet and his buddies playing poker in Vermont. The same guys also appear in the film in the poker scene.

"The Tap" features the original storyboards to the short con that Mike and his group demonstrate to Dr. Ford but in order to protect the working con man, Ricky Jay changed it to another con called the Flue.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer."
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an absolutely mesmerizing film. A wonderful addition to that genre known as "film noir", the movie is superlative in every way. In his directorial debut, David Mamet shows a keen understanding of the concept "less is more". The two main characters in the film are a well known psychiatrist with a best selling book, Dr. Margaret Ford, played with chilly determinism by Lindsay Crouse, and a slick con man, known only as Mike, brilliantly played by Joe Mantegna with a sinister, charismatic charm. She is stiff and formal. He is casual and seemingly easygoing. Each is involved in a field of endeavor that requires a keen understanding of human nature. They meet by virtue of what each of them does for a living. Dr. Ford is treating a young patient, who claims to be despondent over getting in over his head financially, while gambling at a disreputable and seedy locale known as the House of Games. She is worried about her patient's potential for suicide, so she decides to go to the House of Games to see if she can straighten out the whole mess. There, she meets Mike, the person to whom the debt is owed. From the moment they meet, there is a latent, sexual tension between them and an aura of danger and seduction that permeates the air. Intrigued by him, she is drawn into his world, where things are not always what they seem. There are many twists and turns in this most unusual film, which deftly manipulates the viewer. The film is tautly crafted, and the dialogue itself is highly stylized with its own peculiar cadence. This serves to add to the air of mystery and suspense which infuses this film. There is an excellent supporting cast whose strong performances contribute to the overall quality of this multi-layered film. There is even a small cameo by William H. Macy. It is with good reason that this film was touted by critics as one of the best films for 1987. It meets the high standards set for this genre of film by the late, great director, Alfred Hitchcock. It is simply a stunning tour de force."
Excellent, Enthralling and Compelling!
Bertin Ramirez | San Ysidro, California United States | 07/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Whenever you watch a Mamet film, you're in for the most subtle mind manipulation you're likely to get at the movies. Mamet is so skillful at his craft it's scary. 'House Of Games' is the quintessential Mamet film, not because it's the best, but because it has all his elements; a twisting and involving plot, perversely attractive characters and a big wallop of an ending, as expected by the master of manipulation. The film is admirable because of it's subtlety, it has no big noisy scenes, no real action scenes and no steamy romantic scenes, Mamet could of easily added one of each but that would of marred the effect of this expertly crafted film. The dialogue is right on the money, Mantegna talks just as a small-time grifter would talk, no one-liners or really smart conversation, just a low-key dose of reality. Lindsay Crouse if quietly effective as the thrill-seeking pyschiatrist who gets the experience of a lifetime. And Mantegna is perfection as the alluring con-man who does his job fatally well. An extremely well mounted film that leaves the intelligent viewer gasping. Extras: spot William H. Macy in a cameo. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 9!"
You Cannot Cheat An Honest Man or Woman
Regina McMenamin | New York, NY | 03/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In his 1987 directorial debut, HOUSE OF GAMES, master writer David Mamet delivers a chilling account of the relationship between Dr. Margaret Ford and a low rent gangster named Mike who tries to seduce her.

A psychological thriller that features the acting chops of Mamet's then wife, Lindsay Crouse and character actor Joe Montegna, HOUSE OF GAMES really stars Mamet's brilliant dialouge that captivates the audience with its hypnotic rhythms and captivating sentence structures.

In a nutshell the plot is simple. In this dark drama, Dr. Ford is an emotionally conservative psychologist and best selling author of a self help book. Through one of her patients she meets Mike, an underworld gangster type who charms her with his tales of the cons he and his cohorts use to swindle seemingly innocent people.

Believing she is becoming privvy to the secret world of gamblers and con artists, Dr. Ford drops her guard and follows Mike through a series of cons that seem to work flawlessly.

At times a suspicious person who trusts no one, Dr. Ford at other times appears to be pliable stooge, easily manipulated by a seasoned con man. But is she really as innocent and as naive as she appears? Or is Mike the real stool pigeon? It is never easy to say for sure, even when the film ends.

But one thing is definitely clear half way through the film: Dr. Margaret Ford is not as honest nor as much in control as her patients believe. But who will pay the price for a con gone awry? No one knows until the final scene closes and you are left to wonder what secrets lie behind the faces of the innocent and the guilty alike.

- Regina McMenamin"