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The King of Marvin Gardens

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Director: Bob Rafelson, Bob Rafelson
1972 / 103min / DCP

The King of Marvin Gardens sets its scene in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a formerly glittering American dreamland that’s indelibly captured in its drab, tattered, off-season decline by cinematographer László Kovács. Jack Nicholson, inspired playing against type as a nebbish, depressive introvert, is a DJ with a slot on late-night Philadelphia radio who’s reunites with estranged brother Bruce Dern, a manic penny ante hustler trying to convince his sibling to go all-in on a real estate scheme while simultaneously flirting with disaster and with stepmother-stepdaughter duo Ellen Burstyn and Julia Anne Robinson. One of the legitimately monumental accomplishments of the so-called “New Hollywood” of the 1970s.