John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes – A Child Is Waiting (1963)

Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of a state institution for mentally retarded children. Jean Hansen, a former music teacher anxious to give her life some meaning, joins the staff of the hospital. Jean, who tries to shelter the children with her love, suspiciously regards Clark’s stern training methods. She becomes emotionally involved with 12-year-old Reuben Widdicombe, who has been abandoned by his divorced parents. Read More »

John Cassavetes – Too Late Blues (1961)


Independence is a crucial part of the legend of John Cassavetes, the original Method actor turned DIY filmmaker. For that reason his early forays into studio directing — he made 1961’s “Too Late Blues” for Paramount and 1963’s Stanley Kramer-produced “A Child Is Waiting” for United Artists — are usually thought of as footnotes at best, or compromised failures at worst (a view that has been ascribed to Cassavetes himself).

But even in these minor works, the Cassavetes touch — the delicate way of handling emotional messiness, the tough but ultimately generous view of human behavior — is unmistakable. The rarely seen “Too Late Blues,” new to DVD from Olive Films, is an especially resonant work, a parable about the price of artistic independence and the conflicts of ego and idealism — in other words, something like a confessional manifesto from the emerging director, 31 when he made it. Read More »

John Cassavetes – Cassavetes Gazzara Rowlands 1978 Interview (1978)

This is a raw-footage version of a group interview for some unspecified TV station at a restaurant from 1978 with Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassell and Paul Stewart on the occasion of Opening Night being released. It starts out with some general career-spanning questions to Cassavetes and then eventually gets into Opening Night with Cassavetes exhorting people to go see it in his own inimitable way. Mostly we hear from Cassavetes, Rowlands, Gazzara and Paul Stewart, with just a few reactions from Seymour Cassell who is sitting by listening and smoking. Read More »

John Cassavetes – “The Lloyd Bridges Show” A Pair of Boots (1962)


The first of two episodes of the Lloyd Bridges show directed by Cassavetes. Featuring familiar faces from his stable of actors – this time its John Marley and Seymour Cassel from Faces (among other films). Read More »

John Cassavetes – “The Lloyd Bridges Show” My Daddy Can Lick Your Daddy (1963)


The second of two episodes of the Lloyd Bridges show directed by Cassavetes. Again featuring familiar faces from his stable of actors – this time its Lelia Goldani from Shadows and Fred Draper from Faces. Read More »

John Cassavetes – A Woman Under the Influence [+Extras] (1974)


‘A Woman Under Influence’ Stars Gena Rowlands as Frenetic Wife:The Cast

When a husband and wife need to keep saying how much they love each other, something’s apt to be awfully wrong. That nervous repetition is one of the danger signals in John Cassavetes’s “A Woman Under the Influence,” and it contains all the warning urgency of a siren. The movie played on Saturday at the New York Film Festival.

Throughout, the film dwells on the abrasions of daily living, centered in the domestic world where each individual grinds on the other’s nerves. Gena Rowlands plays a woman adrift. Her manic, likable, hard-hat husband (Peter Falk) quite hysterically keeps assuring her that everything’s fine. Meanwhile, she looks to him for her identity, asking him to tell her “what” to be, insisting that she’ll “be anything” he wants. Later, he punctuates a horrendous uproar by shouting “Just be yourself!” But she hardly has a self–beyond the bundle of symptoms that make up her hectic public persona.
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John Cassavetes – Love Streams (1984)


Love Streams is at once a culmination of the director’s obsessions and his most atypical film. It’s a movie that gives up its mysteries slowly—flirting with theatricality, inserting dream sequences, concluding on a brazenly surreal enigma. Cassavetes stars as Robert Harmon, a tough-guy novelist with unorthodox research methods. Rowlands, magnificent as ever, is Robert’s sister, Sarah Lawson, a divorcée who turns up at his doorstep with two taxis full of luggage and an entire barnyard menagerie. An emotional live wire and by default a social rebel, the embarrassingly demonstrative Sarah is kindred spirit to A Woman Under the Influence’s unhinged housewife Mabel Longhetti and Opening Night’s aging stage star Myrtle Gordon: All are women with a raw-nerved, overwhelming capacity and need for love. The enormously moving interplay between Cassavetes and Rowlands gets at the heart of the performative spectacle unique to his films: an interaction beyond words and gestures, predicated on the invention of a shared language so hyperbolic and specific and almost inexplicable it must be love. Indeed, the movie—as its title suggests—performs an anatomy of its subject. More explicitly metaphysical than the other great Cassavetes films, it nonetheless shares their view of love as a way of life and a form of madness. Read More »