ATLANTIC CITY (1981) C widescreen 104m dir: Louis Malle
w/Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Hollis McLaren, Robert Joy, Al Waxman, Robert Goulet, Moses Znaimer, Angus MacInnes
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "Film is blessed with a spare, intriguing script by Yank John Guare, who always skirts impending cliches and predictability by finding unusual facets in his characters and their actions.
"The film is well limmed by Burt Lancaster as a small-time, mythomaniacal, aging Mafia hood, Susan Sarandon as an ambitious young woman, Kate Reid as a fading moll and Robert Joy and Hollis McLaren as Sarandon's husband and young sister.
"Atlantic City is also a character as director Louis Malle adroitly uses decrepit old and new facades; New Jersey voted to allow gambling at this resort, which had boasted gangsters, prohibition capers and big-show attractions."
From The Movie Guide: "Richly sad portraits of wasted American lives, filtered through a European sensibility. Burt Lancaster, in a masterful performance, plays Lou, an aging small-time criminal who hangs around Atlantic City doing odd jobs and taking care of the broken-down moll (Kate Reid) of the deceased gangster for whom Lou was a gofer. Living in an invented past, Lou identifies with yesteryear's notorious gangsters and gets involved with sexy would-be croupier, Sally (Susan Sarandon), and her drug-dealing estranged husband (Robert Joy).
"Aided by a superb script from playwright John Guare, director Louis Malle (PRETTY BABY, AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS) pulls off a minor coup here, celebrating his wounded characters even as he mercilessly reveals their dreams for the hopeless illusions they really are. He is exceptionally well served by his cast and his location --- a gone-to-seed resort town supported, like the principal characters, by memories of glories past."
ATLANTIC CITY was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Lancaster), Actress (Sarandon), and Original Screenplay (Guare).