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Simply put, during the era of mob control, visitors to casinos were treated royally - at best, like kings and queens - at worst, like "guests.
In short, the mob knew how to treat people. Rude employees didn't remain employees for very long. But when the corporations took control, casino visitors became nothing more than numbers on a balance sheet.
And in some cases, employee rudeness was elevated to an art form. Odds have always favored "the house. I read Wiseguy from Nicholas Pileggi and loved the book, though it was spot on with the movie Goodfellas with a few minor exceptions.
The book Casino does however differ greatly from the movie of the same name, so it was much more enjoyable for me. Certainly the basics are still there, but many additional stories, altered stories and the timeline is a little off from the movie.
Pileggi writes well and does great research. It was amazing that Pesci and Stone looked just like the real life people.
DeNiro wasn't even close, but he did a good job. I have enjoyed watching Casino 5 or 6 times, no one would argue it is a masterpiece, however, Pileggi's book discloses so much more, fleshing out the characters, revealing their true natures and interrelationships.
Until reading the book, I always felt sympathy for Rothstien Rosenthal , a perfectionistic genius whose only real crime seemed to be turning a blind eye to the skimming maybe the investors lost a bit, but everyone "got fat" Instead he was quite ruthless and had no problem threatening the Stardust's owner, Glick, with death.
Birds of a feather, and all that. Soon, anyone who presents a problem for Glick dies, because of the connection between the Teamsters' loan that financed Glick's purchase of the casinos and the skim.
It is an incredible story, and if the movie intrigues you, you may really appreciate the added details provided by the book.
I loathe the inevitable comparisons made between "Casino" and "Goodfellas". That's where the similarities end.
Both films tackle stories in the criminal milieu and succeed in gripping the audience. Scorsese manages to make this film a fast-paced experience despite a nearly three hour running time.
He's ably abetted by some snappy editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, gorgeous cinematography by Robert Richardson, and good sense of the era love the cars and clothes.
Impeccable song choices on Scorsese's part on the soundtrack. The film is fascinating in how it portrays Las Vegas as a shimmering city which under it's surface is motivated by greed and avarice, which in turn breeds paranoia.
Just ask the eye in the sky. The first half of the film concerns itself with how some Midwest mobsters infiltrate a Vegas casino.
The second half shows how overreaching causes their downfall. DeNiro is superb as the oddsmaker who goes on to manage a casino only to be brought down by his own vanity.
Pesci is equally fine as the thug who wants to make Vegas his personal playground. Probably the best performance in the film belongs to Sharon Stone as DeNiro's wife who is at heart a hustler.
This is a difficult part to pull off because her's is essentially a character motivated by pure greed but Stone manages to convey the pathos to make her sympathetic.
I think Scorsese is a victim of his own success because this film was initially given lukewarm response from the critics and public alike. Fortunately, time has been kind to "Casino".
Prime Video Verified Purchase. Even though she succeeds in taking all of the money from the safety deposit box, she is arrested by the FBI as a material witness.
The FBI moves in and closes the casino. Green decides to cooperate with the authorities. Piscano dies of a heart attack in front of his wife upon observing federal agents discover his notebook.
Nicky flees Las Vegas before he can be caught. The bosses are arrested and put on trial and decide to eliminate anyone involved in the scheme to prevent them from testifying.
Among those killed are three casino executives, Teamsters head Andy Stone, and money courier John Nance. Ginger travels to Los Angeles and ultimately dies of a drug overdose in a motel.
Sam himself is almost killed by a car bomb and suspects Nicky was behind it. Before Sam can take revenge, Nicky and Dominick are ambushed by Frankie and their own crew, beaten, and buried alive in a cornfield, the bosses' having had enough of Nicky's behavior and suspecting his role in Sam's car bombing.
With the Mob now out of power, the old casinos are purchased by big corporations and demolished.
The corporations build new and gaudier attractions, which Sam laments are not the same as when the Mafia was in control.
Sam subsequently retires to San Diego and continues to live as a sports handicapper for the Mob, in his own words, ending up "right back where I started".
The research for Casino began when screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi read a report from the Las Vegas Sun about a domestic argument between Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal , a casino figure, and his wife Geri McGee , a former topless dancer.
Argent was owned by Allen Glick, but the casino was believed to be controlled by various organized crime families from the Midwest. This skimming operation, when uncovered by the FBI, was the largest ever exposed.
Pileggi contacted Scorsese about taking the lead of the project, which became known as Casino. Scorsese and Pileggi collaborated on the script for five months, towards the end of Some characters were combined, and parts of the story were set in Kansas City instead of Chicago.
A problem emerged when they were forced to refer to Chicago as "back home" and use the words "adapted from a true story" instead of "based on a true story".
They also decided to simplify the script, so that the character of Sam "Ace" Rothstein only worked at the Tangiers Casino, in order to show a glimpse of the trials involved in operating a Mafia-run casino hotel without overwhelming the audience.
The scene was too detailed, so they changed the sequence to show the explosion of Sam's car and him flying into the air before hovering over the flames in slow motion—like a soul about to go straight down to hell.
Filming took place at night in the Riviera casino in Las Vegas, with the nearby defunct Landmark Hotel as the entrance, to replicate the fictional Tangiers.
According to the producer Barbara De Fina , there was no point in building a set if the cost were the same to use a real-life one.
Several edits were made in order to reduce the rating to R. Upon its release, the film was heavily criticized for its intense violence.
I'm not even sure how the movie is based on this book. Even setting the movie aside the book is boring and overflowing with names. The only way to keep all the names straight would be to write them all down to reference as you read.
The writing skips from one person's perspective to another's so quickly and often that it's confusing and you have to keep going back to figure out who's being After reading and loving Wiseguy, Casino was a huge disappointment.
The writing skips from one person's perspective to another's so quickly and often that it's confusing and you have to keep going back to figure out who's being quoted.
Content-wise, the book is boring. There's only two stories- bad guys beating their women and stealing from casinos- repeated over and over and over.
Every time you think the story is building to something interesting, it just turns out to be the same old junk. Save yourself the time- watch the movie, pass on the book.
Dec 27, Andy Cooper rated it it was ok. This is an overrated book. But don't worry, all is not lost. It just needs to be re-purposed and moved into a different genre.
I am putting in a recommendation to officially change the title to The Encyclopedia of Mafia Run Casinos. If you are looking for a well told story, then go somewhere else.
Preferably back into Mario Puzo novels. On the other hand if you want to read a hastily put together story built by stacking facts and miscellaneous information on top of one another, then look no furth This is an overrated book.
On the other hand if you want to read a hastily put together story built by stacking facts and miscellaneous information on top of one another, then look no further.
It reads more like a mixture of an MTV True Life episode mixed in with some History Channel narration than it does like a story about an ambitious mobsters rise and fall in the land of ol' Las Vegas.
The story and the characters are there, but you'll have to go digging for them if you want to find the bones of things. In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust.
If you have seen the movie Casino, you know the general story but the names and many facts were changed. Pileggi does not let his writing get in the way of a good story.
The book is made up primarily of interviews and long stretches of story-telling by "Lefty" Rosenthal himself, various mob informants, and an assortment of federal and state law enforcement agents.
Although th In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust. Although the last chapter is somewhat in need of an update Las Vegas has reinvented itself numerous times since the end of the mob and the "high roller" culture , it was a nice coda.
Too dry and force. The mob would not approve. Dec 30, Saman Kashi added it Shelves: Sep 24, Kris rated it really liked it. I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
That love affair has never ended and then the book popped up on Bookbub and I was thoroughly excited! So much so that I bought the book, watched the movie, read the book and then watched the movie again.
One main difference is that the book actually uses all the real names of the individuals. This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up pictures to match names and faces.
Of course, you can always use Pesci, DeNiro and Stone as the faces and still be ok. But in the glory days, it was organized crime, primarily out of Los Angeles and Chicago, who owned Vegas.
Lefty Rosenthal was a handicapper, bookmaker and odds man, trusted by the mob to go out to Vegas and run the Stardust and Hacienda Hotels.
The first part of the book introduces Lefty and his background as well as his best friend, Tony Spilotro, a well-known Chicago mobster.
After Lefty moves out to Vegas, he meets Geri McGee aka Ginger a well-known casino hustler and escort who works the punters as they come in to Vegas.
This despite her undying love for her ex-boyfriend, baby daddy Lenny. Tony Spilotro was sent to Vegas to keep an eye on Lefty and to secure their interests in the casino.
But Tony, cut free from his leash and keepers in Chicago, became a one crew crime spree. Bringing in his own people, he did burglaries, murders, jewelry heists, armed robbery, loan sharking etc.
The town was his for the taking and he took it all — including Geri. The movie closely followed the book so it will not disappoint film fans.
In fact, it will enhance the viewing experience and make you want to watch it all again — twice! Most of this book is gleaned from personal interviews with questionable characters, but how else would anyone get a handle on how the Mafia ran Las Vegas for 40 years?
Nicholas Pileggi does yeoman's work tracking down the main cops and culprits to paint a vivid picture of the casino industry when it was little short of a mob-front.
The book centers on the friendship of "Lefty" Frank Rosenthal, a world-renowned sports-handicapper and gambler when that was still a real federal crime, and Tony "the Most of this book is gleaned from personal interviews with questionable characters, but how else would anyone get a handle on how the Mafia ran Las Vegas for 40 years?
The book centers on the friendship of "Lefty" Frank Rosenthal, a world-renowned sports-handicapper and gambler when that was still a real federal crime, and Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, a small-time thug with an outsized ego.
They both grew up on the streets of West Side Chicago and learned to make their own gray or black-market incomes before moving on to bigger things.
When a former real-estate broker named Allen Glick bought the Stardust casino in using Teamster Central States Pension funds of which the Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Chicago mobs all had a piece , the mafia let him know that they were going to be effective owners, and Lefty would be their procounsel and effective manager.
Tony meanwhile moved out to Vegas as the head of a crew who would bust into safes and run small-time fleecing operations, but his notoriety eventually hurt both Lefty's and the mob's prospects.
Yet before an unrelated Kansas-City murder case, the insane note-keeping habits of Kansas mobman Carl Deluna, and bug opened up the whole operation, the mafia in Las Vegas was "skimming" billions a year from casinos and running much of the town.
Of course, this book was later turned into a classic Martin Scorsese movie of the same name, which is very faithful to it, but the book does give one a better window into the mechanics and funding of the mob, and how it grew to almost unimaginable wealth and power.
It's a great story. May 30, Johnathon rated it really liked it. Pileggi does a great job getting interviews and stories from his subjects, from Lefty, the FBI and various other mobsters, and let's them tell the story.
It is a story so crazy it has to be true Lefty at one point had a popular talk show where he interviewed O. The result is an enjoyable page turner well-worth reading, but not a classic true crime novel on how the mob left Las Vegas.
Jun 26, Debbie rated it did not like it Shelves: Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book.
The best description is that it is bare bones. I kept wanting broader descriptions and background. Perhaps my dissatisfaction stems from my recent reading of various types of Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction titles.
For instance, Pileggi quotes Rosenthal as saying, after Jerry's passing, that lots of folks suspected him of killing her or arranging her death.
But he paid a considerable sum to have Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book.
But he paid a considerable sum to have determined her actual cause of death. That's all that was said. You hear what is missing, too, don't you.
The full book was that way. An excellent story about the mobs influence in Las Vegas, centering around two characters, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, professional gambler and casino manager, and Anthony Spilotro, Chicago mobster.
The story recounts the teamster financing of casinos, the business fronts, the mobster bosses, the murders, the skim, the thievery, the corruptions, and how it all fell apart with multiple players going to jail, or being murdered by their own associates.
The book was a good read, and the movie rendition An excellent story about the mobs influence in Las Vegas, centering around two characters, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, professional gambler and casino manager, and Anthony Spilotro, Chicago mobster.
The book was a good read, and the movie rendition reflected the book's story. What an insane book!