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Saint Jack (1979)

Jack Flowers, an American hustler in early 1970s Singapore, dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury.

Director:

Peter Bogdanovich

Writers:

Howard Sackler (screenplay), Paul Theroux (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Gazzara ... Jack Flowers
Denholm Elliott ... William Leigh
James Villiers ... Frogget
Joss Ackland ... Yardley
Rodney Bewes ... Smale
Mark Kingston ... Yates
Lisa Lu ... Mrs. Yates
Monika Subramaniam Monika Subramaniam ... Monika
Judy Lim Judy Lim ... Judy
George Lazenby ... Senator
Peter Bogdanovich ... Eddie Schuman
Joseph Noël Joseph Noël ... Gopi
Kian Bee Ong Kian Bee Ong ... Hing
Yan Meng Tan Yan Meng Tan ... Little Hing
Andrew Chua Andrew Chua ... Andrew
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Storyline

Compelling character study, revolving around Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara), an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel himself and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury. Savvy but not unsavory he strikes up a friendship with William Leigh (Denholm Elliot), a genial and decent auditor who travels to Singapore every year. Ultimately, the background of the Vietnam War comes into the picture as Jack is offered the opportunity by the CIA to run a brothel for the R&R activities of U.S. soldiers on leave in Singapore. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"People make love for so many crazy reasons-- why shouldn't money be one of them?" - The Gospel According To Saint Jack

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1979 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack el magnífico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Knowing the Singaporean government would never sanction a film that depicted the city as a hotbed of corruption and sleaze, the script that Peter Bogdanovich submitted had been rewritten with all the contentious elements removed. When the film was completed, the Singaporean government was horrified, and banned it. See more »

Quotes

Jack Flowers: He thinks we're a couple of boys in heat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We thank the people of the Republic of Singapore, on whose island this picture was filmed. See more »


Soundtracks

I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll
Written by Clarence Williams and Spencer Williams
Sung by Louis Armstrong
See more »

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User Reviews

Eliot: "These girls, they're all so beautiful." Gazzara: "They're all guys."
4 April 2007 | by brujay-1See all my reviews

Ben Gazzara is not the Jack Flowers I saw in Paul Theroux' novel; he's too self-confident by half. But different in tone as they may be, both Theroux' and Bogdanovich's "Saint Jack" are successes. The location shooting in Singapore and the utter lack of background music are among Bogdanovich's own touches. It's a fine, solid little film, sexy, political and all over bright. Gazzara works as a gofer for a Chinese business to maintain his visa. But his dream is to open his own brothel, which with the backing of a few friends, he does. But the Chinese "mafia" closes him down (the confrontation with a Chinese midget and his musclemen is memorable). And then the CIA, represented by Peter Bogdanovith, subsidizes Flowers in a new brothel for Viet troops on R&R. It lasts as long as the war does (his former Chinese employer rags Gazzara about the Vietnamese victory). Then Gazzara is forced into some sleazy blackmail which, finally, he rejects. A moral decision in a very amoral story. British actor James Villiers has a small but distinctive part as Frogget. In a conversation with bar cronies he says: "The last time I was in UK they made homosexuality legal. I said to my wife, I said let's get out of here before they make it compulsory." This is not on DVD yet. Why the hell not?


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