By David Everitt
Updated July 09, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

With David Mamet as screenwriter, Lansky, a made-for-HBO bio of mobster Meyer Lansky (Dreyfuss), never becomes a gangster melodrama, but maybe it should have. It’s best in the feisty neo-Warner Bros. sequences depicting Lansky’s rise alongside pals Lucky Luciano (LaPaglia) and Bugsy Siegel (Roberts). Too bad the rest is hogged by tedious scenes of Lansky rationalizing (he’s just providing a place to gamble, etc.). For all the talk, a portrait of the gangster never emerges. C

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