Catching up with Cassavetes: #5 – “Husbands” (1970)

vlcsnap-485425Wow. What a film. Talk about a movie that just screams I am man! Now, I won’t say I was happy to have spent three hours with three unlikable rude jerks, but I wouldn’t want to ever take back those three hours either.

Picking up where Faces (his previous film) left off, Cassavetes intentions seem to once again be to immerse the audience in a world of the white suburban middle-aged middle-class alcoholics, only this time with longer takes within uncomfortably long scenes of bullying, vomiting, and adultery. This is not an easy film to sit through, especially for those used to more mainstream fare where storylines are continually dumbed down. Sitting through Husbands is like having all the ugly parts of ones mid-life crisis magnified and held in front of our eyes is if a staring contest is being held against your will. Like I said earlier, wow. What a film.

For the rest of my post, and to give this film its proper due, I thought it best to just quote both Peter Falk and John Cassavetes from their 1970 appearance on the Dick Cavett show. Here’s what these couple of unapologetic talents had to say of the film:

John Cassavetes: “It’s one statement of a man’s point of view of life. We all get so chicken that we’re afraid of our jobs, we’re afraid of our wives, we’re afraid of our children, we’re afraid to go out in the street. And it’s the people who criticize that fear who quickly become contaminated with it. I really think it’s because we live too much from one point of view. One point of view means we’re too worried about the way we would appear. We always appear to be something that we’re not, we’re unhappy with it, and later on… I mean when women are married for 5 or 10 years they begin to say ‘look, that’s not me. What am I doing here? I’m here everyday taking care of the kids, waiting for my husband to come home’. There’s a dissatisfaction there. And I don’t think it’s a social thing. You can’t blame that on politics so much. It’s really the way things have been because men really are not willing to stand up and say ‘I’m me, and I want to be me at any cost’. And women too. So we’ll stand up here on the show and do anything we have to do to make it clear that we don’t care really what you think of us, except that we want to express ourselves the way we want to.

Peter Falk: “Can you recognize the difference between real cinema and sentimentality? I made a picture that doesn’t have any sentimentality in it, but it has a great deal of feeling in it. It has the kind of emotions that we all experience that you really don’t see on the screen. The kind of emotions that… that get lost because they are no longer contrived in our film. They’re genuine. Delight, hope, irritation, frustration, anger, friendship, love, bewilderment, confusion; they’re all there. Go see it”


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Categories: Director Spotlight, Reviews


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