Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel Plays A Music Obsessed Pianist Debt Collector

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel 70s film poster movie

Conflicted and lets be honest, pretty messed up prodigy Jimmy (Harvey Keitel) juggles a fine line between pure genius and total madness whilst trying to obtain his dream of becoming a concert pianist. Absorbed and completely obsessed with music, he rehearses the classics at home whilst in an almost possessed state, silently singing the notes as he plays. Then when he hits the streets he can’t be without his trusty portable cassette player, music is with Jimmy wherever he goes.

Tagline – He Has The Hands Of An Artist And The Mind Of A Madman.

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel jimmy orgasmic piano playingFingers (1978) Harvey Keitel cassette tape music stereo portable

As he flips in new tapes depending on mood, his fingers go in a twitchy trance miming playing the notes in the air. Jimmy is stuck between impressing his pianist mother, who happens to be in a mental hospital and working as a debt collector, tidying things up for his Italian dad’s business. His father Ben (Michael V Gazzo) is a chain smoking, gravelly voiced, choking, wheezing and constantly cursing loan shark who is owed money throughout the district. There’s only one man he will trust to get his money back, his son Jimmy.

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel Michael V. Gazzo ben jimmy diner stereo

Because another of Jimmy talents is he can talk the talk. He has a spark for knowing exactly what to say, looking around a scene picking up choice words to manipulate a situation. Jimmy doesn’t want to kill no one but he’s not afraid to intimidate or lash out violence if he has too.

Tagline – A powerful film about sex, music and violent crime.

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel bikini Tanya Roberts julie

Poor Jimmy does have one more problem, he has a dick problem. Ejactulation problem to be precise, he’s all backed up and in constant pain. Leading to a funny conversation down at the doctors.

Doctor – “Relax. All I’m gonna do is slip a finger in.”
Jimmy – “Why’d Ya need a glove on up to your elbow?”
Doctor – “My arm’s cold. Turn around and bend over.”

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel 70s film studio art sculpture Tisa FarrowFingers (1978) Harvey Keitel 70s film car Tisa Farrow

To make matters worse he has fallen in love with wacked out hippy gal Carol (Tisa Farrow).  A free spirited sculptor whos a bit away with the fairies. Jimmy is bespottled by her and wants to get some release if he can.

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel concert piano audition

This movie doesn’t take the tradition routes you would expect and it refreshing to see. Half the movie is playing somewhere along the lines of Taxi Driver with a different approach to disillusioned psychological mindset. Though what makes it stand out on it own is it’s independent feel. It’s not afraid to go real sleazy and dirty, happy to go a bit silly with Jimmy sweating away on the keys and not scared to add almost art cinema moments mixed in with awkward voyeurist strange scenes like the introduction to Jim Brown’s character Dreems. Like the film poster tagline says……

“Some will love it. Others will be angered by it. Everyone will be stunned by it!”

Will Jimmy be able to obtain his dream? Can he juggle the piano and his debt collecting whilst staying out of trouble? And most importantly will he be able to get relief before his happy sacks explode?

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel apartment flat house block living room

A few Wolfie observations.

  • A few famous faces pop up like Danny Aiello from Do The Right Thing and Leon plus two big names from The Sopranos, Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts Gualtieri) and Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior)
  • The film is produced by Brut Productions George Barrie the owner of the classic mens perfume Brut from Fabergé
  • There was a 2005 French remake by the name of The Beat That My Heart Skipped. I haven’t seen it but it gets good reviews.
  • Jimmy’s chat up lines and description of a ladies intimate area to bikini clad Julie (Tanya Roberts) down at the swimming pool is probably a good tip on what not never to say. It’s certainly an eye opener I will add!!

Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel bikini Tanya Roberts julie telephone

If like me this film totally passed you by and you like gritty 70’s films which go off to the left side of town, then I reckon like me you will enjoy this unique film. It’s well acted, has a fast moving plot but also takes it’s time on smaller subtler moments when it needs too.

Be warned it’s pretty graphic in places. Let me know if you do see it or have seen it if you want.

Happy watching from the Wolfman.

5 thoughts on “Fingers (1978) Harvey Keitel Plays A Music Obsessed Pianist Debt Collector

    • It’s a different take on things I think. It’s quite a mixed bag of styles thrown together which make it quite unique. Not for everyone but well worth looking into. Very under the radar I can imagine. But it could take some heat, what with the notorious director in recent news!!

      Liked by 1 person

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