John Cassavetes - Five Films

( 5 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Special Features

New high-definition digital transfers of all films, with restored image and sound and (where applicable) enhanced for 16x9 televisions; new video interviews with Cassavetes collaborators Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel, Lelia Goldoni, Lynn Carlin, and Al Ruban; two versions of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie -- Cassavetes’ original 135-minute cut as well as his subsequent 108-minute re-edit; Faces alternate opening -- 17 minutes of footage revealing the most significant differences of the two version’s opening sequences; Cinéastes de Notre Temps -- an episode from the French television series, dedicated to Cassavetes; audio commentary on A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris; stills galleries with hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, publicity shots, and posters; booklet featuring new essays on Cassavetes and the films by writers/critics Jonathan Lethem, Gary Giddins, Stuart Klawans, Kent Jones, Philip Lopate, Dennis Lim, and director Charles Kiselyak, as well as reprinted writings by and interviews with Cassavetes, a tribute to Cassavetes by director Martin Scorsese, and more; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; pptimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/21/2004
  • UPC: 037429199220
  • Source: Criterion
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen / B&W / Colorized / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 15:45:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 3,766

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gena Rowlands
Ben Gazzara
Peter Falk
Lelia Goldoni
Seymour Cassel
Technical Credits
John Cassavetes Director
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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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Menu

Side #1 -- John Cassavetes' - Shadows
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Lelia Goldoni Interview
      Play
   Syemour Cassel Interview
      Play
   Workshop Footage
      Play
   Restoration Demonstration
      Play
   Stills Gallery
   Trailer
Side #2 -- John Cassavetes' - Faces, Disc 1: The Film
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
Side #3 -- John Cassavetes' - Faces, Disc 2: The Supplements
   Alternate Opening
      Play
   Cinéastes De Notre Temps
      Play All
      Part One: Hollywood, 1965
      Part Two: Paris, 1968
   Making Faces
      Play
   Lighting & Shooting the Film
      Ruban Intro
      Equipment
      Sequence Explanations
Side #4 -- John Cassavetes' - Woman
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Commentary
      Off
      On
      Index
   Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
      Play
   Cassavetes Audio Interview
      Philosophies and Finances
      Emotion and Improv
      Character Background
      Not Crazy
      Directing
      Casting
      A Rough Film/Glass of Water
   Trailer
   Stills Gallery
Side #5 -- John Cassavetes' - The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Disc 1: The 1976 Cut
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
Side #6 -- John Cassavetes' - The Killing o a Chinese Bookie, Disc 2: The 1978 Cut
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   About the Versions
      Play the Movie
   Ben Gazzara and Al Ruban
      Play
   Cassavetes Audio Interview
      A Genre Film?
      Young Filmmakers
      Revolutionary
      "Better Than Living"
   Stills Gallery
Side #7 -- John Cassavetes' - Opening Night
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara
      Play
   Al Ruban Interview
      Play
   Cassavetes Audio Interview
      The Play Within the Film
      Cinema vs. Theater
      A Very Difficult Role
      A New Departure/The Actress
      The Last Scene
   Trailers
Side #8 -- John Cassavetes' - A Constant Forge
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Cassavetes Players
   Poster Gallery
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Behind the scenes

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Untold Story

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews