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The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

R | | Drama | 26 April 1973 (France)
A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.

Director:

Bob Rafelson

Writers:

Jacob Brackman (screenplay), Bob Rafelson (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... David Staebler
Bruce Dern ... Jason Staebler
Ellen Burstyn ... Sally
Julia Anne Robinson ... Jessica
Scatman Crothers ... Lewis (as Benjamin 'Scatman' Crothers)
Charles LaVine ... Grandfather
Arnold Williams ... Rosko
John P. Ryan ... Surtees (as John Ryan)
Sully Boyar ... Lebowitz
Josh Mostel ... Frank
William Pabst William Pabst ... Bidlack
Garry Goodrow Garry Goodrow ... Nervous Man (as Gary Goodrow)
Imogene Bliss Imogene Bliss ... Magda
Ann Thomas Ann Thomas ... Bambi
Tom Overton Tom Overton ... Spot Operator
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Storyline

'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer who asks his brother, David, a radio personality from Philadelphia to help him build a paradise on a Pacific Island - asking him to believe in yet another of his dreams, yet another of his get-rich-quick schemes. But luck is against them both and the game ends badly - real life reduced to radio drama. Written by Dave Cook <cookd@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

26 April 1973 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Philosopher King See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Original title: "The Philosopher King". See more »

Goofs

David listens to tape recording he made but during close-up of tape recorder, none of the buttons that would allow it to play are depressed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
David Staebler: I promised that I would tell you... why I never eat fish. When we all moved into my grandfather's house... it somehow fell to me to keep the old man's mind off of things. We would play casino over an old card table. He never let me win. One time he put one of those tiny model trains... into my hamburger. He was a practical joker. I broke my tooth on it. On Friday evenings we had fish at our house. Every Friday. Not on religious grounds, but because... Grandpa was a fish enthusiast....
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia Pictures logo does not appear on this film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cinemania (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Could Have Danced All Night
(uncredited)
Music by Frederick Loewe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A quiet masterpiece
21 May 2006 | by calabazasSee all my reviews

A classic from of the New American Cinema The King of Marvin Gardens is one of the most underrated films of the 70. The film stars Bruce Dern and Jack Nicholson (cast against type as an introverted depressive) as a pair of estranged brothers reunited in Atlantic City to try to get scam artist Dern's ill-conceived property development dreams off the ground. Ellen Bursten rounds out the cast as an ageing beauty queen struggling with the realisation that her young protégé, played by the previously and subsequently unknown Julia Ann Robinson, has surpassed her. Shot in a bleak, wintry Atlantic City that contrasts sharply with Dern's vision of a happy ending for the quartet in Hawai'i, the film is a compelling and meditative character study that doesn't shy away from or glamorise the problems of the people who inhabit it. The three leads give superb performances as characters who are all in their disparate ways seeking redemption. Made in the brief period of the 1970s when the big American studios were hoodwinked into financing films that were singular, intelligent, and challenging, The King of Marvin Gardens is a must see for any fan of the cinema.


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