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John Cassavetes - Five Films

John Cassavetes - Five Films

4.2 5
Director: Charles Kiselyak

Cast: John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Gena Rowlands

Many directors consider John Cassavetes one of the grandfathers of American independent film. This spectacular box set from Criterion shows why. In addition to Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night (all presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio), the set contains a


Many directors consider John Cassavetes one of the grandfathers of American independent film. This spectacular box set from Criterion shows why. In addition to Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night (all presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio), the set contains a 2000 documentary about the man and his career -- A Constant Forge: The Life and Art of John Cassavetes. A variety of extras are scattered throughout the discs, including both the full director's cut and the theatrical cut of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, deleted footage, audio commentary by the camera operator and composer on A Woman Under the Influence, video interviews with many of the people who collaborated with Cassavetes, and a 68-page booklet containing essays on the man and his films.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Although he initially made a name for himself as an actor, John Cassavetes is best known today as a director. In fact, he has been called “the father of contemporary American independent filmmaking,” and this superb box set from Criterion amply demonstrates why that appellation is justified. Beginning with 1959’s Shadows, Cassavetes went outside the studio system to make movies, financing them himself and recruiting actors who enjoyed varying degrees of success in Hollywood films. Groundbreaking, experimental, improvisational, and even visionary to a degree, his features lacked the “accepted” form of mainstream fare; they didn’t hew to formulaic stories or rely on hackneyed narrative devices. Character, rather than plot, drove most of Cassavetes’ directorial efforts, and his devoted stock company (headed by his wife, Gena Rowlands) played businessmen, gangsters, nightclub owners, housewives, strippers, hippies, and even actors. The filmmaker’s humanist strain always rises to the fore in his works, especially with regard to the compassion shown his flawed protagonists. Shadows, shot in New York City, is the gritty tale of a light-skinned black woman (Lelia Goldoni) involved with a white man (Anthony Ray). Faces (1968), one of the most powerful films in the director’s oeuvre, stars Rowlands in an exploration of infidelity. A Woman Under the Influence (1974), in some ways overlong and unnecessarily indulgent, teams Rowlands with Peter Falk in a story about a wife undergoing a protracted nervous breakdown. Even some of Cassavetes’ staunchest proponents have problems with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), but this strip-club melodrama is bizarrely compelling and features extraordinary performances by Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel, and Timothy Carey. The director appears onscreen with Rowlands and real-life pal Gazzara in Opening Night (1977), which depicts the crisis faced by a middle-aged actress when her most ardent longtime fan dies suddenly, just as she is about to open in a new play. All five films have been newly remastered, and they look stunning. Additionally, Criterion has supplied a host of extra features, including newly shot interviews with Rowlands and other stock-company members, a 17-minute alternate opening to Faces, and an entirely different cut of Chinese Bookie.
New York Times - Dave Kehr
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the titles contained in the Criterion Collection's new box set, John Cassavetes: Five Films.

Product Details

Release Date:

Special Features

New high-definition digital transfer of all films, with restored image and sound, and, where applicable, enhanced for widescreen televisions; More than two hours of new video interviews with Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, Lelia Goldoni, Gena Rowlands, and Al Ruban; Two versions of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: Cassavetes' original 135-minute cut, on home video for the first time, as well as his subsequent 108-minute re-edit; Faces alternate opening: 17 minutes of footage not included in Cassavetes' final cut; Cinéastes de Notre Temps (1968): A 48-minute episode of the French television series, dedicated to Cassavetes; Workshop footage: Rare silent clips from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, from which Shadows emerged; Audio commentary on A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris; Restoration demonstration for Shadows; Audio interviews with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson ; "Lighting & Shooting the Film": A study of the techniques and equipment used on Faces by Al Ruban ; Original theatrical trailers; Stills galleries: Rare behind-the-scenes photos, publicity shots, and posters; Biographical sketches of the actors Cassavetes frequently cast in his films, written by Tom Charity (John Cassavetes: Lifeworks); Plus: A 68-page book featuring new essays on Cassavetes and the films by writers/critics Gary Giddins, Stuart Klawans, Kent Jones, Phillip Lopate, Dennis Lim, and director Charles Kiselyak, as well as reprinted writings by and interviews with Cassavetes, and tributes to the filmmaker by director Martin Scorsese, Cassavetes' secretary Elaine Kagan, and novelist Jonathan Lethem

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Gazzara Cosmo Vitelli,Actor,Manny Victor
Gena Rowlands Actor,Mabel Longhetti,Myrtle Gordon,Jeannie Rapp
John Marley Richard Forst
Lelia Goldoni Lelia,Actor
Ben Carruthers Ben
Peter Falk Nick Longhetti,Actor
Timothy Carey Flo
Anthony Ray Tony
Azizi Johari Rachel
John Cassavetes Maurice Aarons
Lynn Carlin Maria Forst
Matthew Cassel Tony Longhetti
Hugh Hurd Hugh
Joan Blondell Sarah Goode
Matthew Laborteaux Angelo Longhetti
Meade Roberts Mr. Sophistication
Seymour Cassel Chet,Actor,Mort Weil
Christina Grisanti Maria Longhetti
Frederick Draper Freddie
Paul Stewart David Samuels
Rupert Crosse Rupert

Technical Credits
Charles Kiselyak Director
John Cassavetes Director

Scene Index

Side #1 -- John Cassavetes' - Shadows
1. The Pickup [:18]
2. The Rehearsal [6:19]
3. The Act [7:31]
4. The Sculpture Garden [5:45]
5. Literary Party [6:27]
6. The Date [5:21]
7. The Family [10:18]
8. A Few Cats Come By [11:33]
9. Lucky Day [8:19]
10. Slow Dance [6:45]
11. The Happiness Boys [5:06]
12. Color Bars [8:16]
Side #2 -- John Cassavetes' - Faces, Disc 1: The Film
1. Morning Meeting [:15]
2. Loser's Club/Jeannie's House [3:13]
3. "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" [12:15]
4. Home for Dinner [6:17]
5. Not All That Funny [10:58]
6. Unexpected Request [2:24]
7. Love Conquers Man [3:23]
8. Kid With Sneakers [3:16]
9. Dickie's Return [9:00]
10. Chairman of the Board [5:37]
11. "You Get to Me" [6:54]
12. At the Whisky [2:46]
13. Chet and the Ladies [5:58]
14. "Fools of Ourselves" [4:54]
15. Alone With Chet [7:13]
16. Lousy Eggs [15:06]
17. Tears of Happiness [3:56]
18. Ready [5:16]
19. Color Bars [2:03]
Side #4 -- John Cassavetes' - Woman
1. An Unbreakable Date [:17]
2. Garson Cross [10:40]
3. Morning [6:21]
4. Spaghetti Breakfast [8:55]
5. Arias [8:33]
6. Anything [5:48]
7. The Wake-Up [4:14]
8. After School [6:52]
9. Mr. Jensen [4:49]
10. Waiting for Zepp [9:17]
11. House Call [4:50]
12. Five Points [4:22]
13. Accident [2:17]
14. Beach [6:49]
15. Sleep Like Rocks [5:05]
16. Six Months Later [4:50]
17. Mabel's Return [4:43]
18. Make it Like a House [10:37]
19. Good Times From Now On [6:00]
20. End of the Jokes [5:27]
21. On the Couch [6:24]
22. A Tough Night [5:32]
23. Color Bars [5:24]
1. "As Green as Grass" [:17]
2. Learning on the Job [10:40]
3. "It Was Us" [6:21]
4. Family [8:55]
5. Gena Takes Off [8:33]
6. Editing With John [5:48]
7. John's Instincts [4:14]
8. "Singularly Different" [6:52]
9. "Just Feel It" [4:49]
10. Peter Falk [9:17]
11. Pins and Needles [4:50]
12. Technique Doesn't Interfere [4:22]
13. Genuine Time [2:17]
14. "Part of the Gang" [6:49]
15. No Limitations [5:05]
16. Peter's Hat/"You Can Do It" [4:50]
17. Nominations/Didn't Rehearse [4:43]
18. "You're on Your Own, Cookie" [10:37]
19. Bo and Mike [6:00]
20. Visiting With John [5:27]
21. Camera, Lighting, and Sound [6:24]
22. Undisputable Love [5:32]
23. Color Bars [5:24]
Side #5 -- John Cassavetes' - The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Disc 1: The 1976 Cut
1. Paid in Full [:17]
2. Scotch and Water [4:29]
3. Crazy Horse West [4:20]
4. "It'll Pick Up" [4:30]
5. Picking Up the Girls [7:44]
6. Casino [4:54]
7. Audition [11:01]
8. Gay Paris [9:07]
9. Debt Reduction [8:51]
10. Further Instruction [5:02]
11. En Route [7:15]
12. Killing [1:19]
13. Damage Control [6:26]
14. "Imagination" [9:02]
15. Shootout [7:43]
16. A Rose for Betty [4:52]
17. Backstage [13:14]
18. A Whole New Trip [7:24]
19. Color Bars [7:11]
Side #6 -- John Cassavetes' - The Killing o a Chinese Bookie, Disc 2: The 1978 Cut
1. "It'll Pick Up"/Paid in Full [:17]
2. Scotch and Water [3:25]
3. Picking Up the Girls [4:22]
4. Casino [4:11]
5. Audition [10:28]
6. Gay Paris [7:45]
7. Deb Reduction [6:01]
8. Further Instruction [8:55]
9. En Route [5:49]
10. Killing [6:18]
11. Damage Control [2:20]
12. "Imagination" [:55]
13. Shootout [4:07]
14. A Rose for Betty [6:49]
15. Backstage [4:47]
16. A Whole New Trip [10:04]
17. Color Bars [6:35]
Side #7 -- John Cassavetes' - Opening Night
1. Older People [:17]
2. To Be Loved [3:16]
3. "All We Can Think About Is Dinner" [4:49]
4. A Boring Man [5:54]
5. Lost Reality [5:46]
6. Changes [8:10]
7. The News [4:43]
8. A Sense of Humor [3:56]
9. "What You Dream About" [2:32]
10. Only a Play [4:22]
11. "How Old Are You?" [5:40]
12. What it's All About [7:15]
13. A Smooth Beginning [6:09]
14. Hu-mil-i-a-ting [3:22]
15. The Problem [3:40]
16. The Spiritualist [3:10]
17. Unnerving Occurrence [3:03]
18. The Next Morning [1:09]
19. "Get Me Someone Else" [4:55]
20. "There You Are" [6:17]
21. Old Flame [2:55]
22. Waiting [3:23]
23. I'm Late [3:57]
24. Scene One [5:18]
25. Stress Backstage [5:25]
26. "I Am Not Me" [6:50]
27. Celebration [6:44]
28. Color Bars [4:45]
Side #8 -- John Cassavetes' - A Constant Forge
1. When Is it Interesting? [7:45]
2. A Brief History [2:48]
3. The Films [9:40]
4. "All Mere Complexities" [9:16]
5. The Men [5:08]
6. The Women [9:41]
7. Films As Dissections [5:58]
8. De-Canning Film [4:54]
9. A Fearless Director [3:24]
10. Waiting for the Miracle [8:46]
11. Gena's Mabel [5:38]
12. "Right There With You" [8:46]
13. Make it Ring True [4:47]
14. What He Wanted [7:52]
15. A Great Football Coach [5:13]
16. The Things That Made it Work [8:40]
17. Family Filmmaking [4:59]
18. The Importance of the Struggle [4:29]
19. In the Theater [5:42]
20. The First Independent [3:59]
21. Have a Good Time [7:54]
22. A Wonderful Madhouse [9:06]
23. He Believed in Miracles [3:29]
24. Offensive in the Best Sense [5:41]
25. Adult Films [5:33]
26. The Techniques to Capture Life [4:50]
27. Strip it All Away [5:27]
28. No Entertainment [2:47]
29. The Music [5:12]
30. Laugh Right Up to the End [6:31]
31. "Cassavetes Is a Place" [5:59]
32. "Mechanical Men" [5:29]
33. End Credits [5:17]
34. Color Bars [:01]

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John Cassavetes - Five Films 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Filmninja More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of some of the earliest American independent films. They are emotionally superior to Hollywood melodramas, but obviously don't contain movie stars or expensive production values. Very interesting viewing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
To read the untold story of the making of the Box Set, see Ray Carney's Cassavetes web site (available through any search engine). It's a scream.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although it is great having the Criterion collection of Cassavetes' films, it is sadly incomplete without commentary by Ray Carney, noted film scholar, historian and world expert on the life and art of Cassavetes. It is a shame that Carney's material was either uncredited or cut out just prior to release. To verify the facts behind Gena Rowlands's treatment of Ray Carney and the facts about Carney's discovery of new prints of John Cassavetes' Shadows and Faces, go to Ray Carney's web site, easily found through any search engine. Click on the "Ray Carney's Artistic Discoveries" button at the bottom of the "John Cassavetes Pages." The menu will take you to essays that cover every detail about Carney's cinematic discoveries, the responses of the world's press to them, and Rowlands's responses to them and treatment of Carney in the Criterion matter.