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as Gus Demetri
as Archie Black
as Mary Tynan
as Pearl Billingham
as Pearl Billingham
as Diana Mallabee
as Mrs. Hines
as Stuart's wife
as Annie's mother
as Ed Weintraub
as `Jesus Loves Me'
as `Happy Birthday'
as Stuart's grandmother
as `Shanghai Lil'
as Stuart Jackson
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Critic Reviews for Husbands
Few films capture with such life-affirming wonder the despair, hatred, and incomprehension that drives the sexes together and apart.
It is almost unbearably long. It is a narrative film without any real narrative, and although it is a movie about three characters, those characters are seen almost exclusively in terms of their limiting relationship.
John Cassavetes' Husbands is disappointing in the way Antonioni's Zabriskie Point was. It shows an important director not merely failing, but not even understanding why.
This 1970 film is John Cassavetes's most irritating, full of the male braggadocio and bluster that mar even some of his best work. But it's impossible to dismiss or shake off entirely.
Highly uneven, painfully drawn-out, deeply sincere, wildly misogynistic and at times agonisingly tedious. It is also intermittently brilliant, with moments of piercing honesty.
Audience Reviews for Husbands
I know Cassavetes' style is an acquired taste, and pushes the boundaries of cinematic narrative devices (thereby attracting lots of detractors), but I find his work to generally be sharply observational and endlessly fascinating. Husbands (his first of many collaborations with Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk), though, marks a point in John's career where his style reached and erroneously rammed up against its logical conclusion. His scenes take time to develop -- here, they take too long; he promotes the small idiosyncrasies in people to inform and push along his character development -- here, the moments are too small and tedious; he loves showcasing the suburban malaise of middle-aged men -- here, their plights are void of proper context, thus rendering their tumultuous behavior meaningless.
And then there's Cassavetes' emphasis on improvisation. Most of the time, he uses it to great effect -- here, it seems like on more than one occasion, the silence exists not to punctuate a piece of dialogue, but to meander while the actors think of what to say next. Interestingly enough, Cassavetes decided to cast himself as the third friend, a role that is closest to a mediator, a relatively gentle middle ground between Gazzara's pent-up-to-the-point-of-explosive rage and Falk's snarky overconfidence. Together they are meant to convey some sense of stranded masculinity, caught in the crosshairs of the encroaching ethos of counterculture love and their perceived need to remain stoic and impenetrable, but they just come across as childish. I know Husbands is supposed to be his critique of unchecked masculinity and the misogyny that accompanies it, but as a time capsule rendition of men being boys, the film certainly has an inherent intrigue, but it is not one of Cassavetes' strongest films.
I am a huge Cassavettes fan and am the first one to say that this film is not for everyone. There are sections of this film (like most of his films) that people will find boring and way over the top, but it's something I find enduring and really enjoy watching. This is one of the first times where I have actually watched a Cassavettes film and thought, yeah, he could of cut some of this stuff out. Overall, I still enjoyed hanging out with John, Ben, and Peter for nearly three hours and going into this film, it's best to realize that is what you are doing. I think the film, for me, really picked up in the second half when the crew heads to London (the scenes of the three of these guys picking up women was everything I wanted it to be: awkward, funny, strange, and real). This is also definitely one of the best looking of Cassavettes' films with Victor J, Kemper adding technique to Cassavettes shoot from the hip style. Like most of his films, it probably just needs another watch.
Far more effective in my opinion on showing the impact of death on the male psyche. The wanderings of the three husbands is revealing and far too realistic.
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