• On October 11, 1987, David Mamet’s first film, the diabolically tricky House of Games, made its U.S. premiere as the closing-night selection of the New York Film Festival. Mamet had already conquered the world of theater, winning a Pulitzer Prize for 1984’s Glengarry Glen Ross, and was now turning his attention to the cinema. Hardly just filmed stage drama, the moody, atmospheric House of Games—about a woman (Lindsay Crouse) drawn into an underworld populated by con men—proved that Mamet had a true filmmaker’s eye, while at same time successfully translating to the screen his trademark rat-a-tat dialogue. One big reason Mamet’s verbal rhythms work so well here is undoubtedly actor Joe Mantegna, who had earned a Tony for Glengarry before Mamet cast him in House of Games, and whose odd, tough-guy cadences are essential to the film’s weird world. In this clip from an interview on Criterion’s edition of the movie, Mantegna discusses his personal relationship with Mamet and why he feels they’re kindred creative spirits.

    Now watch Mantegna in action in this scene from early on in House of Games, where he clues in Crouse’s outsider to a trick of the trade before leading into the world of the con artist with a seemingly simple request.

4 comments

  • By John Stemple
    October 12, 2012
    03:15 PM

    Joe Mantegna saying, "If I'm this bad dude, why don't I just take out some gun, blow you to a billion parts?" is more melodic than any music to me...
    Reply
  • By Daniel T. P.
    October 13, 2012
    07:20 PM

    Too bad his subsequent films haven't attained this level of perfection!
    Reply
  • By Kevin Henle
    October 14, 2012
    02:56 AM

    Watching that one scene between Mantegna and Crouse demonstrates how people can somehow play each other to satisfy their curiosities.
    Reply
  • By steevo
    October 31, 2013
    02:23 AM

    "Thank you Miss, can I have another" Gotta be one of the top ten coolest screen deaths ever.
    Reply

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