Tagged: Axel Freed

The Gambler: James Caan’s Houndstooth Cardigan

James Caan as Axel Freed in The Gambler (1974)

James Caan as Axel Freed in The Gambler (1974)

Vitals

James Caan as Axel Freed, gambling-addicted English professor

New York City, Fall 1973

Film: The Gambler
Release Date: October 2, 1974
Director: Karel Reisz
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A meditation on self-destruction, The Gambler was based on James Toback’s semi-autobiographical script that was the first to be produced from the soon-to-be-prolific screenwriter. Toback had incorporated his own gambling addiction that plagued him while he lectured at City College of New York. Robert De Niro was an early contender for the leading role of Axel Freed, but director Karel Reisz opted to cast another Corleone: James Caan, who explained the challenge of the role that would reportedly be one of his favorites from own his filmography: “It’s not easy to make people care about a guy who steals from his mother to pay gambling debts.” Continue reading