This is my favorite John Cassavetes film and one of my all-time favorite films. I love Cassavetes’ more acclaimed work like A Woman Under the Influence, but Gloria is terribly underrated. Though it fails as an action-type movie because of the unusual pace, Gena Rowland’s performance is so thrilling and the NY locations are fantastic. I also like the little boy because he’s very real. I love their interaction.
love Cassavetes, but this film is mediocre imo.
^^^it just feels too compromised to me, and i don’t like the general pace and tone of the story.
Rowlands was great, as usual, but the kid really annoyed me.
Fair enough. I forgot to mention I also LOVE the music by Bill Conti. It’s an amazing score.
…but the kid really annoyed me.
Yeah, but isn’t that a part of the story?
She doesn’t like him either, but she feels a sense of loyalty.
Without the annoying kid, the character of Gloria doesn’t flesh out.
I’m with Joks, although it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film. The film also failed my expectations (more conventional), and that might be the problem. (This might have been the first Cassavetes film I saw, too.) I recall not liking the acting of the kid, nor buying the chemistry between him and Rowlands.
I just watched this and actually loved seeing Cassavetes take on a genre flick. Granted it’s his unique spin on the genre (and not nearly as successful as say, Altman’s The Long Goodbye) but I thought it worked on a couple levels. The tone, the vibe – it exquisitely captures late 70s/early 80s New York City beautifully. I don’t think I’ve ever seen NYC feel the way it does in this film.
I also thought it does a good job of providing thrills and suspense. There were a couple moments was I was physically anxious because of the tension that is created.
Overall, yeah it’s not his best film but I must say that even on his worst day, Cassavetes gave us something unique.
It’s the weakest Cassavetes film I’ve seen and, almost as a direct result, his most easily accessible. I don’t know the story behind the film but I bet he had an outside producer involved in this one that forced him to make compromises and that Cassavetes was never happy with it. His aesthetic is there but none of his ideas are.
That being said, I like it as an escapist movie. Was anyone else reminded of Leone in certain scenes? (like when the kid’s parents get murdered)
It is a decent film but it does feel like Cassavetes stepping out of his shoes and doing something more in the fashion expected from say Lumet or Scorsese.
Cassavetes never wanted to direct it himself. Most of the money he and Rowlands made from acting went into their independent films, so he wrote Gloria strictly to make a sale. When Columbia bought it and cast Rowlands in the role, they insisted that Cassavetes direct it as well. He was never really behind it, because it’s not the type of story that interested him, but he was able to put his own personal stamp on it. I don’t think there was much interference from the studio. I have a PDF of the original script and it seems fairly close to the finished film. Sure, it’s more conventional compared to his other films, but Gloria is still far from a typical Hollywood action film. I find it so moving and brilliantly directed – and Rowlands admitted in an interview that in the end Cassavetes liked the film more than he let on.
And Michael, I disagree that none of Cassavetes’ ideas are in the film. Just because the movie is more polished does not mean that his sensibility isn’t there. The relationship between Gloria and the boy is pure Cassavetes.
I don’t think this is his weakest film. For me, of the films I’ve seen (I haven’t seen Big Trouble) Chinese Bookie is his weakest. I’ll take Gloria over Chinese Bookie if for no other reason than I find Rowlands more compelling to watch.
Having said that, I think Zonka’s Julia is a stronger film.
I also agree on Zonka’s Julia being a stronger film than Gloria.
He wrote it for Marty Scorsese to direct, but Marty said Cassavetes should direct it himself.
It’s a wonderful movie.
Where did you read that, David? I’ve always read in various books and articles that Columbia insisted he direct it when they cast Rowlands. In fact, the way Gloria came about was MGM asked Cassavetes to write a script for Ricky Schroder. Schroder couldn’t do the movie after all so MGM didn’t want it anymore, and that’s when Columbia bought it and offered the lead to Barbra Streisand. Streisand didn’t want to do it, perhaps because Cassavetes turned her down when she asked him to direct A Star Is Born, so they cast Rowlands as Gloria.
I agree with the kid. He is totally terrible .