(aka 'Husbands: A Comedy About Life, Death and Freedom')



"Husbands," John Cassavetes's first film as a director since "Faces," is a personal, almost private movie that is devoted to the exploration of the mysteries of a very middle-class American friendship. Like "Faces," which was rambling and funny and accurate, and which I admired, the new film demonstrates a concern for panicky, inarticulate squares that is so unpatronizing that it comes close to being reverential in a solemnly religious sense.

Gus (Cassavetes), Harry (Ben Gazzara) and Archie (Peter Falk), commuting cronies from Port Washington, L. I., meet at the funeral of the fourth member of their group, a man taken off before his time by a coronary. They are shaken up, not only by the loss of their friend and the awareness that it could have happened to any one of them, but also by their own survival into imminent middle age, that dreadful time when it is suddenly apparent that what is, probably is the way it's always going to be. Archie would have liked to be a professional athlete "You get sweaty and feel good and you're with guys you like."

Excerpt from Vincent Canby at the NY Times located HERE


Theatrical Release: October 1970 - San Francisco Film Festival

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DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:21:45 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary with author Marshall Shine
• The Story of Husbands: A Tribute to John Cassavetes (29:45)
• Original Theatrical trailer (3:44)
• Previews 

DVD Release Date: August 18th, 2009

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Chapters: 12



Shot with his own money, script written by himself, and filmed, often, at his own house - Cassavetes purely defines the 'independent film' with Husbands. He constantly re-edited for over a year to remove any of the lighter/entertaining aspects. It is advertised by Sony as being the original full-length version and it runs almost 2.5 hours.

The image quality belies the vérité roots - it's not especially sharp - the camera is quite kinetic but the dual-layered DVD produces a consistent image that may have had a tinge of black level boosting. Essentially it looks acceptable and probably close to its original appearance. A higher resolution would surely have brought out more of the film's grain. 

Audio is a clear 2.0 channel supporting the dialogue in the film's realistic fashion - meaning it can intentionally sound a bit scattered. There are optional English subtitles.

Supplements offer a solid commentary from Marshall Fine author of Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the Independent Film. It's incredibly informative and professional - I was very impressed with the extent of detail he was able to offer about Cassavetes and the production. He seemed to know many details about the cast as well as the story. He rarely takes a breath and I found it well worth listening to. The Story of Husbands: A Tribute to John Cassavetes runs 1/2 hour with input from Producer Al Ruban, Gazzara and DoP Victor Kemper with lots of anecdotes on production and on Cassavetes the man. Extras also include a long theatrical trailer and some Sony previews.

This is a little different than some of the other Cassavetes films I've watched - it's seems a bit labored in finding its way or defining itself. I probably need to see again after some breathing space to judge the impact more definitively... but it does seem very long. It's great that Sony have put some effort into releasing this on DVD (the first time this is on DVD in NTSC). Cassavetes fans will definitely want to see this and judge for themselves how it fits into his oeuvre - it's a fairly subtle expression and the commentary is quite rewarding - well worth the price offered.    

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC


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