Director: Elaine May

119 mins, USA, 1976, 35mm

This film screened 24th August 2016.

Writer/director and producer Paul Duane will present an introduction before this screening.

A gangster drama that takes place over one night as two scruffy, small-time crooks traipse around the run-down streets of Philadelphia, Mikey and Nicky appears to be distinct from May’s more outwardly comedic work. The relationship between the two lifelong friends however – a jittery, volatile Nicky (John Cassavetes), convinced that his mob-boss has a hitman chasing his tail, and a more self-possessed Mikey (Peter Falk) – masterfully draws out a central theme of betrayal that is key to all of May’s films.

Allegedly shooting 1.4 million feet of film (nearly three times more than was shot for Gone with 
the Wind), May again entered into a battle with Paramount over the final cut, a dispute which often eclipses the ingenuity of a film that turns its gaze away from the crime-lord in favour of his middlemen, acting as Richard Brody pointed out as ‘a welcome corrective to The Godfather’.

This screening is part of the Elaine May Retrospective running from August 20th-28th 2016.

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