Atlantic City (1980) Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster movie film poster artwork screen shot photo

Well let’s get the elephant out the room first. Susan Sarandon plays Sally, she has a strange ritual, she stands in the kitchen, slices a lemon and squeezes the juice into her hands and proceeds to rub said lemony zest all over her body, including her fine, fine puppies. And there isn’t a gin in tonic in sight! Well one thing that is in sight if she would of looked up is the admiring eyes of old man Burt Lancaster. He plays Lou and now he has a glint in his eye.

Atlantic City (1980) - Susan Sarandon Sally lemon juice boobsAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster peeping tom lemon boobies scene

They are neighbors in the same broken down apartment block in the crumbling dead end city. A place famous for it wooden Boardwalk and colourful characters from yesteryear. Some infamous prohibition era gangsters like Al Capone, Nucky Johnson, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel all recently brought back to life by the excellent HBO show Boardwalk Empire.

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster running the books numbers

Now old Lou is a small time wheeler and dealer who had grown up in the shadow of bigger men. Name dropping the gangsters above through-out the film. I imagine he would of been a young boy watching the hoods doing their thing but keeping a low profile, happy to reside in the background picking up what he can, keeping out of trouble.

Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Grace (Kate Reid)

Now he spends time running a few numbers for a local racketeer and mostly caring for the needs of Grace (Kate Reid) a former mob girl but now invalid and annoying chore giver to our poor Lou. What he needs is a distraction!

Atlantic City (1980) - HippiesAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Dave (Robert Joy)
In walks two extremely irritating and troublesome hippies. Pregnant Chrissie (Hollis McLaren) and Dave (Robert Joy) who has in his procession a big bag of cocaine. He wants to shift it quick for some cash and ropes in Lou who seems only too happy to help. Little does he know that the weasel had stolen it from a drug drop, upsetting two psycho gangsters.
Atlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Susan Sarandon gangsterAtlantic City (1980) - Burt Lancaster Susan Sarandon dining
Lou see it as a way to impress and get closer to Sally. Flash some cash and makes some moves. There’s life in the old dog yet? So Lou becomes drug dealer, carer and ladies man. Can he keep the pace?

Filmed by French director Louis Malle, a director I really need to explore. His My Dinner with Andre sounds like a deep watch and is on the watch list.

Atlantic City (1980) - Susan Sarandon Sally casino work
Can Lou find his old mojo and get some vitality? Will he be able to steer clear of the gangsters? Can Sally escape this dying city and get to follow her dream of travelling to France. And most importantly, why does she clean her fun buddies with lemon juice?

You really need to tune in to find out. Its a super film and I’m very grateful to Mikes Take On The Movies for the tip top recommendation.

Atlantic City (1980) - moving car port lift automatic car park

Random Wolfy Observations – Apart from the lemon boobs, WTF was that moving car port lift thing? That was crazy and surely way ahead of it’s time. First time I saw one of those had Ethan Hunt fighting on one in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Also would of loved to have seen Lou team up with his toilet assistant friend Buddy.

Here’s a review by Vincent Canby from 1981 in The New York Times.

Thanks for having a read. All the best from the wolfster.

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11 thoughts on “Atlantic City (1980) Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

    1. I know what you saying on the white hair. It threw me too. He seemed so much older than the recently watched Go Tell The Spartan too which was only two years different. Sounds like from what I read it was all joy for the Oscar’s looking like they could get a clean sweep but ended up walking away with nothing. Boo 😦

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      1. I’m not about to say Henry Fonda didn’t deserve an Oscar for On Golden Pond but the lifetime achievement was partly responsible for it as well as he had never won and Burt had. And I do like him in Pond, great role for the old timer.

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        1. From the little I scan read, it does sound like his daughter went on a little mission to promote his part but you can never take a man swan song away from him. You’re nudge on “The Shootist” with The Duke still resonates with me. One day I will watch “On Golden Pond”. I do feel that however good Susan Sarandon was, her part was far from Oscar worthy but would of been nice to see Burt grab it. On his Oscar win I’ve never seen “Elmer Gantry”!! Added it too the gazillion pile!

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  1. Lancaster really was the model actor. Once he achieved “stardom,” he changed course and spent the last part of his career picking roles and films that interested him as opposed to those that would secure his celebrity status.

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    1. I’m so glad he did as I believe “The Swimmer” to be a masterpiece. I always think about to that film, he was incredible. Haven only this year seen it and it totally blew my mind. Can imagine littler stars turning down a film were they are in their swim shorts the whole film but good old Lancaster was game.

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