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Woman Under the Influence (The Criterion Collection) (1974)

Gena Rowlands , Peter Falk , John Cassavetes  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk
  • Directors: John Cassavetes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012TIWTY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,693 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Audio commentary featuring longtime John Cassavetes collaborators Michaeil Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist-composer)
  • Video conversation between actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
  • Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted in 1975
  • Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
  • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kent Jones and an interview with Cassavetes from 1975

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the most original, moving, and
enlightening dissections of marriage yet made. --New York Times

Astonishingly true, sensitive, and poignant. --Richard Schickel

Product Description

John Cassavetes devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family s struggle to save her from herself. Starring Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands (in two of the most harrowing screen performances of the 1970s) as a married couple deeply in love yet unable to express that love in terms the other can understand, the film is an uncompromising portrait of domestic turmoil. The Criterion Collection is proud to present one of the benchmark films of American independent cinema a heroic document from a true maverick director. Available for the first time as a stand-alone release, from the box set John Cassavetes: Five Films.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
Restored high-definition digital transfer
Audio commentary by longtime John Cassavetes collaborators Mike Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist/composer)
Video conversation between actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted in 1975
Theatrical trailer
Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kent Jones and an interview with Cassavetes

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, awful DVD July 16, 2000
Format:DVD
See the other reviews for words on the great performances and natural energy of this film; I want to warn everyone off this sub-standard DVD version.
First off, the disc is 2-sided -- the last 45 minutes of the movie are on side 2 and the side break is extremely abrupt. The film is only about 2-1/2 hours long, it should comfortably fit on a dual-layer disc. Second, the film is presented in full screen, not letter-boxed in any way. Finally, the first side has some strange defect where the chapter/time elapsed are not available or displayed.
This is supposed to be a "Special Edition"!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE, NOT THE GREATEST DVD January 4, 2000
Format:DVD
Regarding the movie - it's cinema verite style (in other words, kitchen sink realism) will make you feel distinctly uncomfortable and "there" in the room with Falk and Rowlands and their troubled relationship. For this reason alone, the film is amazing. Peter Falk is unbelievably strong. Anyone who sees him as just "Columbo" needs to cop a load of this movie. There are very few actors alive or dead who could deliver this kind of raw, honest performance - De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino, you name it. The problem I have with the DVD is, aside from the fact that there are absolutely no special features or anything, it is double-sided. Meaning, half way through the movie, you have to take out the disc and turn it over. I don't know if a lot of DVD's are double-sided but that was kind of a bummer for me. To other people, this may not be a big deal, though.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I haven't been able to think about anything but this film for some time now. The truth of the matter is that no matter how frustrating the film can be and no matter how irritating the actions of many people within the film may be, the powerful performance by Gena Rowlands is so powerful that it makes the entire exercise well worth it. After seeing this film a few times and salivating over this woman's complete transformation I'm ready and willing to say that she delivers what may possibly be the finest performance by any actress ever committed to the big screen.

So, regardless of your feelings on the film in general, there is no denying that this brilliantly constructed performance deserves to be seen.

The film tells the story of Nick and Mabel Longhetti. They are a middle aged married couple with three kids and a big problem; Mabel isn't all there. Mabel suffers from a mental illness that causes her to repel those around her, especially her husband Nick, who loves her but doesn't understand how to deal with her.

The film is basically a study of what mental illness really is, literally and figuratively. Mabel is the one suffering literally, but Nick is definitely ill and or mad in a more figurative sense; thus making him the more dangerous and unlikable character. His madness transcends the boundaries of `frustrated victim' and he becomes an enabler and an abuser in order to try and restore some sense of order in his home. Mabel, the primary cause of all the turmoil, is never acting out of malicious intent but is always portrayed as trying to restore some sort of peace, and so her actions are perceived as normal compared to her husbands reactions to them.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You just gotta love Gena! July 17, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Gena Rowlands is just absolutely wonderful and touching as the blue collar, suburban housewife, Mabel, steadily losing her grip on life and reality. She tries desparately to connect with the people around her, only baffling and embarrassing them and her husband, skillfully played by Peter Falk, who loves her tremendously but cannot understand her as much as he tries. The scene in the film where Falk invites his work buddies home for a spaghetti dinner best illustrates this dilemma. While viewing the video of this film I just wrote his character off as just another stupid, ethnic type, who was just too uneducated and ignorant to be sensitive to his wife increasingly erratic and needy behavior. But I now realize that such a patronizing attitude on my part is totally wrong: mental illness cuts through all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds. People of all levels, especially those closest, would be at a loss knowing how best to help this special person in our lives who is slipping away from us into darkness. It may be revelation to some that it is Mabel's three young children who find it the easiest to understand and relate to her plight. They just love their mother and accept her the way she is, without any judgment on their parts, and Mabel responds in kind. It is their influence that will help determine whether she recovers.
John Casavettes directs "A Woman Under the Influence" with a naturalness (a Casavettes hallmark) that seems as if he were making a documentary film about his own family. As many probably know, Gena Rowlands was married to Casavettes and he utilized her in many of his films, all to his and his audience's great advantage.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Film! June 17, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I've been a Casavettes & Gena Rowland's fan for years and "Woman Under Influence" is probably their greatest achievement. It is a complex, tough movie, terrifying at times (you actually want them to stop a scene already since it is so painful) and the film works on different levels from other films we're used to seeing - that we cannot always concieve at first. I remember seeing it the first time, not totally understanding it, but was drawn to see it again - as I still do since it came out on video. Mabel is unforgettable - with Gena giving the performance of a lifetime (what a face that woman has!) - and Peter Falk is also wonderful. John Casavettes was before his time, had a remarkable eye, capable of conveying feelings and emotions thru scenes and thru his actors that we choose not to see or simply refuse to acknowledge they exist."Woman Under Influence" isn't easy, but worth going thru.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT Work. A film that will stay with you for a LONG time.
I found this movie while reading the Bio on John Cassavetes. Gloria is my all time favorite movie and wanted to see what else he produced. What can I say but, WOW. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking Movie
This was a movie that kept me thinking for a few weeks after I watched it. Cassavetes was an unusual and creative writer and director. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Gena Rowlands was incredibly realistic
This movie came to me on Turner Classic Movies one night as a movie star's favorite film. So I took the road of "A woman under the influence" and was riveted to the screen. Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars An "essential" movie as far as I am concerned.
Everyone says she is "crazy" but I see how all the "others" in her lufe give her no support, instead they give inconsistent demands, disappointments, pressures that... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sharon Wyner
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Deep Story Portrayed by Genius Storytellers.
"A Woman Under the Influence" is a story about a very sensitive, loving, spontaneous, free-spirited woman who couldn't deal with the strictures of the social conventions in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sylvia in Tennessee
5.0 out of 5 stars gena rowlands, forever a star
No matter what her age, she is beautiful inside and out. This film was one of the best regarding mental illness and how everyone dances to the tune of the neediest person. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pamela Radell
5.0 out of 5 stars John Casavettes is pure genius
He was an Indie film master- study this film close, film students----- as well as all of his other films.
Published 6 months ago by Adriano A. Munoz
2.0 out of 5 stars Very depressing watching this flick
It may have been a good movie when it first came out but watching it now was very depressing. Had to watch it for a class you would have thought the teacher would have picked a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by TDE
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, a masterful work
The acting was spectacular
The story was written without flaw
The directing was seamless
The cinematography, though gritty, really showed the story (told) like it is... Read more
Published 13 months ago by JAZZ world
3.0 out of 5 stars Best Of Cassavetes
A very emotional statement about the role of married women, from the dated vantage point of the 1970s, thatl shows the plight of a woman who has difficulty advocating for herself. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lindsay Johnson
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