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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
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.
If you love the experimental work of John Cassavetes, you may really enjoy this film. However, you may not. His skill for creating an atmosphere of creativity and psychological exploration should never be denied. And, his skill as a thoroughly unique voice in American Cinema should never be disputed. All of this does not mean he didn't sometimes make an off-step. HUSBANDS, is for me - an off-step. There are some magical moments -- particularly for Peter Falk, but those moments are separated by dated and rambling overtly quirky scenes that go no where of any real interest. And, unlike most of his films this transgressive bender goes too far beyond the reach of reality. It seems excessive to spend over two hours with these three men just to drive home a point about the societal restraints that prevent male friends to actually grieve over the loss of one of their best friends and to mourn the passing of their youth. The theme is over-worked and muddled by subplots of one bad marriage and a never fully explored sexual ambiguity of another. But, I'd much rather watch a Cassavetes off or miss-step than mediocre turns by other filmmakers.
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.
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