Okay, so I just watched my first John Cassavettes film; A Woman Under The Influence. I thought it was very good indeed. I can get the Cassavettes box-set of this film plus Husbands, Killing of A Chinese Bookie, Faces, Shadows and Opening Night for about $25. I was wondering – A Woman Under The Influence is the film I hear most glowing reviews about when Cassavettes is mentioned. Are the other films in this set as good as this film? What’s everyones’ thoughts on Cassavettes in general?
Rumplesink – the short answer is no. A Woman Under the Influence is his masterpiece. Like you however, it was the first Cassavetes film I saw and though his others might not equal A Woman Under the Influence, they won’t disappoint. Faces is also excellent and Shadows is a great film to watch from a historical perspective. Faces is much less polished and probably is a better representation of what people think of when they think of Cassavetes. A Woman Under the Influence was shot much more conventionally so if you like really raw camera work, Faces is your movie.
You’re lucky that Husbands has already been released for Region 2 and I think that once it gets released in the US next month, you’ll have more people talking about it. It’s a very funny film because those three guys are so great together – it’s also the first time Cassavetes directed Falk and is the film that initially really frustrated Falk b/c he wasn’t use to Cassavetes’ type of direction.
Anyways, here’s my list of favorites in order:
A Woman Under the Influence
Mikey and Nicky (not directed by him but I don’t care, I’m adding it to this list)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
EDIT: Keep in mind Rumplesink, if you can get your hands on the US Region 1 release of Husbands, it is preferable to the Region 2 currently available. The US DVD will include the extended cut along with a commentary track and bonus stuff. The region 2 disc, which was released last fall I believe, is just a bare bones disc.
I love the Bookie.
Killing of a Chinese Bookie is my favorite of his, although Woman Under the Influence some in second. All of his films are worth watching repeatedly.
killing of a chinese bookie is equal to a woman under the influence in terms of greatness
hopefully the dvd you get will have both versions. personally i prefer the one cassavetes didn’t, but they’re both incredible.
faces is very difficult to watch and very slow, but it’s a great film. shadows is good but not as good as the others, and i haven’t watched opening night yet. i’m very much looking forward to husbands in august.
I ADORE chinese bookie – it’s like early tarantino without the knowing winks to the camera and tells the story straight with an absolutely STUNNING performance by ben Gazzara
Love Streams is my favorite.
Shadows altered the course of the cinema. Faces is a key 60’s movie. A Woman Under the Influence is wonderful as are The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Gloria and Opening Night.
Opening Night is my personal favorite, but honestly, that whole package is a gem to own. For 25 bucks? Don’t even bother asking. Just get it already.
Buy it and don’t think twice.Cassavetes may be the most important figure in Independent Cinema in America and all his films are true masterpieces. The Cassavetes set released by criterion ranks among the greatest DVD sets ever released in America. Also, while i too think Woman Under The Influence is his masterpiece (I have yet to see Love Streams), Faces is right up there.
Hussbands is my favourite movie by Cassavetes, and also is one of my favourite movies in the history.
2) The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie
4) Bug Trouble
I think they are all as good as “A Woman Under the Influence”. “Faces” is my personal favorite, it has the same raw emotion as “A Woman…” but it involves many more characters that I find interesting. You can’t go wrong with any of those movies you mentioned, trust me
It’s Cassavetes, not Cassavet*t*es.
Husband is his best, Minnie & Moskowitz his most underrated. Also check out Love Streams.
If you have a region 2 player and a lot of cash, get Love Streams. I saw the film on television while in my teens and it was a mind blowing experience. It still is.
Wow – I never noticed Cassavetes only had one ‘t’. Even after reading all these replies! Weird.
I will only add that Cassavetes is essential.
I need to see Love Streams. How much cash are we talking, Mike?
God, I love OPENING NIGHT.
I never finished Mikey and Nicky.
and Husbands is such a rollercoaster.
Faces is sweet. It makes you feel like a punching bag!
There is a box set WITH Husbands??? Is it another country?
Not only does Cassavetes only have one “T”, but Scorsese is spelled with three “S’s”, not two “C’s”.
Scorcese = bad
Scorsese = good
I’ve noticed a lot of people around here have trouble with that.
@KJ: You can get Love Streams from amazon.fr for EUR 12,99.
Faces is just as good as Woman. As are Opening Night, and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Husbands is fantastic. Shadows is amazing. Not as good, but amazing. Buy the set twice for that price. And yes, get Love Streams if you can. Whatever you do though, don’t look at them historically. They’re as relevant now as they ever were and as they will always be. I don’t know if there will ever be another director as open, raw and honest as Cassavetes was. You’re in for a real treat!
“I ADORE chinese bookie – it’s like early tarantino”
You’re going to have to explain this one.
I think it’s good to see his films in the order they were made.
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE is definitely the most accessible of JC’s films.
But I would say that A KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE is my favourite.
However, could the disparity in responses to this film have anything to do with the fact that there are 2 very different cuts in existence. Both are in the outstanding Criterion box. The longer cut is far far far far better than the later, shorter one. Thank heavens I opted to see the longer one first. I was blown away, and then watched the shorter cut in dismay.
Somebody said on a board somewhere round here that they wish there was a bit less of the cabaret antics – No! It’s only for the sake of those risible routines that Gazzara does everything else in the movie – without them you’d lose the whole point of his existence and the movie’s existence! That premise – the guy keeping his bizarre am-dram going at ANY cost – is why this is one of my favourite films. It’s a portrait of a true artist – just not a very good one.
I also loved FACES.
LOVE STREAMS is the other masterpiece, but you should save it til last. I’m amazed at the big Cassavetes fans here who haven’t seen it yet! They’ve got a major treat in store.
From all I´ve seen, Love Streams and Woman under the Influence are my favorite. Bookie is great, but rather difficult compared with the first two. I started with Shadows and Faces, but had I started with Minnie and Moskowitz I wouldn´t have keep coming back to JC as I have…but the weakest of all, in my opinion, is Gloria. Maybe it´s just because of the the kid.
i was lookin at TCM schedule and Husbands is gonna be on sometime next month…