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Opening Night

1976

PG-13 CC
4.0 out of 5 stars (23) IMDb 8.1/10

Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon rehearses for her latest play, about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront the personal and professional turmoil she faces in her own life.

Starring:
Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes
Runtime:
2 hours, 24 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director John Cassavetes
Starring Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes
Supporting actors Ben Gazzara, Joan Blondell, Paul Stewart, Zohra Lampert, Laura Johnson, John Tuell, Ray Powers, John Finnegan, Louise Lewis, Fred Draper, Katherine Cassavetes, Lady Rowlands, Carol Warren, Briana Carver, Angelo Grisanti, Meade Roberts, Eleanor Zee, David Rowlands
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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First of all I am totally biased - words cannot express the respect I have for Gena Rowlands - she is my favorite actress. You can't help but be "seduced" by her - she is so lovely and has so much class. Even when the movie stinks bad she is at her utmost best. This movie confused me at first -but most Cassaveteses movies do. They frustrate and make one sweat with anger and anxiousness - and that's what makes them so good. Although it confused me it kept my attention and then I finally got it. Gena pulls you in making you sympathize with her plight while at the same time making you glad she gets what she deserves. I was a little disappointed that John had a small part - I love the way he's so cynical, distrusting, and funny at the same time. It's wonderful to see a man enjoy giving his lady the spotlight. I was new to his movies - absorbing them is an experience. How does the saying go - I was lost but now I'm found! If you're looking for entertainment that makes you think and summons your deepest emotions, well you've just hit the tip of the iceberg...
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Format: DVD
so...I don't know about the dvd. I have only ever seen this as a movie on the big screen (thank you rep houses and indie cinemas!). but, if you like cassavettes films, opening night is one of his best. gena rowlands gives a mind-blowing performance as a woman dealing with and running from her fears and responsibilities. it's a gorgeous and heavy movie about how staggering it can be to come to terms with who you are and where you are in your life, vs. where you think you should be. of course, as it's a cassavettes film, it's also a lot about what you bring to it as well.

it won't please everyone(see one-star review) but it impresses the hell out of me every time I see it.
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By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: DVD
Just a note that for anyone who wants important background information about Opening Night and how it was made, I highly recommend Ray Carney's Cassavetes on Cassavetes book, which is available on [Amazon.com] at a great price. Carney has amazing behind-the-scenes information about how Cassavetes created all of his no-budget wonders completely outside the system. Carney knew Cassavetes and had a series of conversations with him before his death about his philosophy of life and art. Carney also has a terrific web site with writing on Cassavetes and other indie filmmakers. Great movie and great supporting info. Both well worth checking out.
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By Cosmoetica on September 15, 2008
Format: DVD
John Cassavetes' 1977 film Opening Night is, what critics usually call the work of such a significant artist, `overlooked'. It is an excellent film, in its own right, and one of the best portraits of a midlife crisis ever put to film. It's not a perfect film, in that, at two hours and twenty four minutes it's about a half hour too long, and there's a bit too much emphasis on the drunkenness of the lead character Myrtle Gordon, played by Gena Rowlands, the wife of Cassavetes, long after we've gotten the point. But only Woody Allen's masterpiece, Another Woman, which also starred Rowlands, eleven years later, is a better portrait of the internal conflicts of an aging woman. Yet, Rowlands did win the Best Actress Award at the Berlin Film Festival for this portrayal, and it was well deserved. Often this film, written by Cassavetes, is easily compared to his earlier- and inferior- film, A Woman Under The Influence, but it's a spurious comparison. Rowlands' character in that film is severely mentally disturbed from the start, as well as coming from a blue collar background, while her characters in this film and in Allen's film are both artists who are haunted by apparitions. In this film it's the ghost of a dead young woman who can be seen as Myrtle's younger doppelganger, while in Allen's film it's her character's own past.... Many critics have taken this film to be a portrait of an alcoholic, seeing Myrtle surround herself with enablers, such as a stage manager who tells her, during opening night, `I've seen alot of drunks in my time, but I've never seen anyone as drunk as you who could stand up. You're great!', but this is wrong, for alcohol isn't her problem- nor is her chain smoking.Read more ›
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Truly outstanding film about the theater, actors and alcoholism. Only Cassavetes and Rowlands could get this kind of truth on to film - don't miss it! A huuuuuge hit here in Europe!
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Format: DVD
While I watching Opening Night, I was instantly reminded of Annette Benning's "Being Julia", a film with some similarities. It's certainly also a star showcase piece Gena Rowlands, who seems to deliver her best and most vulnerable performance under the direction of her late husband John Cassavetes. It's an elaborate "soap-operaish" drama about the reality of an aging stage Diva. Rowland's character once said," When I was 18, I could do anything...". She's on the verge of nervous breakdown, dued to her lack of self-esteem and confidence in starring in her new play. She doesn't feel comfortable playing the new role, because she worried that if she's convincing enough that her audiences would accept her for just being one kind of character. During the course of two days before the opening night, she gets into feuds with the playwright, director, and producer. She is haunted by the ghost of her youth, whom she couldn't let go of, and embrace her real age. Ultimately, she had to abuse alcohol and chain-smoking before going on stage. Perhaps that was the only way she could forget herself and get into character in order to deliver a mesmerizing performance.

This is certainly one of Rowland's best performances of her career. This film also features some fine supporting performances.
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