American Gigolo/B,B
Paramount/1980/

       The slick filmmaking style echoes the thematic material perfectly in Paul Schrader's direction debut American Gigolo. The director also wrote the tight script. Schrader, whose script for Taxi Driver looks at the dark side of New York, captures the facile side of Los Angeles with impeccable taste. 

How about some professional courtesy here. Paramount

     Julian Kay is a self-assured male escort who works hard at maximizing his client appeal. Kay is so good and in such demand that more than one service wants his body. While on the prowl to maximize his bank account, Julian is caught in a gig beyond his bedside skills. Pimps and Madams use Julian, the cops are hot on his tale and the only place he can turn is to a trick that never was. 
     The camera work is simply seductive by John Bailey. In the early stages of the film, when the camera slowly closes on Julian Kay, it's positively sexual, examining Kay the way one of the women who pay him might check him out before opening their handbags. Later, as the tone of the film changes, the similar camera work no longer conjures sexual fantasies, but becomes thoroughly menacing. It's Schrader's way of equating the darkness in both aspects of this movie, and it works as a stunning pictorial style for American Gigolo
     Richard Gere, lithe and oily, makes a perfect choice for Julian Kay. Gere emanates low class with learned taste. The animal side of the actor comes to the fore in most scenes, though a pathetic vulnerability, not very convincing I might add, shows up in the late stages of his performance.  Lauren Hutton does fine work as Kay's knight in flimsy clothing Michelle Stratton and Nina Van Pallandt is ice cold as Julian's Madam mentor. Hector Elizondo offers excellent off-beat support in the role of Detective Sunday. He's really got a way with clothes. 
     There's lots of grain in the long shots of American Gigolo and this anamorphic transfer from Paramount does a good job of minimizing any choppiness in it. Colors are bright and contrast is excellent. Several scenes are slightly soft and there are a couple of errant scratches and dust showing up on the screen elements. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround sound located most of the sound in the front channel speakers. Georgio Moroder's "Euro-score" pounds at the proper places and the dialogue is delivered with crisp detail.

 

 

 

 

 


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