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Husbands

1970

PG-13 CC
4.3 out of 5 stars (40) IMDb 7.5/10

Husbands, 1971 Golden Globes® nominee for best screenplay, follows three middle-aged husbands, with wives and houses in the New York suburbs, who go on a wild spree after a close friend dies of a heart attack.

Starring:
Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk
Runtime:
2 hours, 11 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director John Cassavetes
Starring Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk
Supporting actors John Cassavetes, Jenny Runacre, Jenny Lee Wright, Noelle Kao, John Kullers, Meta Shaw Stevens, Leola Harlow, Delores Delmar, Eleanor Zee, Claire Malis, Peggy Lashbrook, Eleanor Cody Gould, Sarah Felcher, Bill Britten, Arthur Clark, Gwen Van Dam, John Armstrong, Charles Gaines
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Three forty-ish professionals and best friends from Long Island go on a week-long bender in the wake of the fourth of their number dying suddenly of a heart attack. They play sports, go on an endless pub crawl, and eventually flee their wives and kids on an impulsive trip to London, where they set about pairing off with younger women. This is a very conventional sounding story, and director John Cassavetes, operating in the wake of the surprise success of his own film Faces and his acting appearences in two of the biggest hits of the late '60's (Rosemary's Baby and The Dirty Dozen) got studio backing and stars for Husbands, and shot a two hour mainstream male-bonding comedy that he screened to great success for MGM executives. He turned to co-star Peter Falk during the applause and whispered "Remember that version -- because no-one's ever going to see it again."

He then spent a year making a completely different film in the editing room, taking out all the scenes of a conventional buddy comedy and putting in all the messy inconclusive momements in between the laughs and the plot points. What we get is three great actors -- Mephistophelian bad boy Cassavetes, wounded idealist Falk, and in a film-stealing performance, glowering kill-joy Ben Gazzara, get to the truth behind the arrested adolescence of male bonding.

"I've never seen a helicopter explode. I've never seen anyone go and blow somebody's head off. So why should I make a film about them? But I have seen people destroy themselves in the smallest ways." John Cassavetes.
Cassavetes, even after his posthumous reputation has flourished as the very model of the off-Hollywood maverick independent film-maker, remains a polarizing figure to this day, and likely always will.
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11 Comments 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on February 15, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
In Ray Carney's new book about Cassavetes he talks about how the director spent
a year re-editing this movie because he thought it was too "entertaining" and
too "funny" in its first version. Ray Carney's Cassavetes on Cassavetes has
hundreds of similar anecdotes by the filmmaker. It's a perfect introduction to
Husbands. It's anything but a simple comedy. The characters are as unpredictable
as real people and the situations as hard to figure out as stuff in real life.
Husbands gets you all mixed up. Are these guys idiots or inspired? Are they
jerks or pursuing a dream? Cassavetes doesn't want it to be too clear or too
easy to understand. He doesn't want us to laugh off the serious questions. He
talks about that in Carney's book, but it's obvious from the film itself. This
film should be required viewing for all men, so maybe they can begin to
understand themselves, and it should be required viewing for all women so that
they can begin to understand the men in their lives. It's!
not an easy thing to understand, which is why Cassavetes doesn't make the movie
easy for us to understand, but the more times you see it, the more you will see.
Read the Carney book too, for more of Cassavetes' amazing insights into men and
women and what he was trying to do in his films.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To set the record straight about the running time of the long-awaited DVD release of John Cassavetes' "Husbands," Sony's own website and press release announce this as "The Extended Cut," with a running time of 142 minutes, with the following text: "Husbands was originally released to preview audiences at a length of 139 minutes but subsequently cut by 11 minutes. The DVD presents the film in its full-length, original version, largely unseen by audiences since 1969." All of us Cassavetes fans know that the film had Festival screenings at 154 min., was released at 138 min., and then cut after initial release by Columbia to 131 min.
Since this movie really put the hook in me, I went to see it 5 times in theatres during the 1970's, and I saw at least 3 different cuts of the film (!!), so at the very least, this release is going to be the original theatrical cut, plus who knows what else? If this is truly the case, then "Bravo!" Sony.
It's been said that John Cassavetes' films are not so much watched as "lived through." For me, having first lived through "Husbands" in my late teens and early 20's, the film was a revelation and a warning about middle-aged manhood. Now that I'm actually the age of Harry, Gus, and Archie in the film, the questions that it makes me ask are even more urgent: "What am I doing with my life? How can I change?" And "where do I go from here?" When's the last time you saw a movie that made you ask yourself that?
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Format: VHS Tape
This is an excruciating, frustrating, painful comedy of men, and amazing in retrospect. Cassavetes was an authentic cinematic genius of American film, regardless of the philistine like comments I've seen in these reviews. What I don't undertand is why they haven't made it available on DVD. Are they restoring it? Are there legal tie-ups? What? I've only ever seen it in pieces on television. I would love to be able to examine fully, without commerical interruption or deletion....
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Cassavetes for a long time now - but this was the third film of his I watched. I had been told it was for the totally initiated, and I felt that even though I'd only seen Shadows and Faces at the time I needed to find out if my love for his films was a fluke, so I watched on my day off, at home, alone, no interruptions.

The dialogue – God, I'm young, but I've said these things - and I've felt this way toward my girlfriend - and I love her dearly. I was totally immersed, and I couldn't pull my eyes from the screen. Afterward, in a scene somewhat resembling the ending of the film, I picked up my 2 year old daughter from daycare at about 5pm. Upon getting home, parking the car and sitting in the driveway I suddenly felt more emotion than I'd ever felt and wept for ten minutes straight – I'd watched my recent life on the screen and hadn't fully realized it until that moment. That is the power of this film.

Look, it may not be for you, and that's fine – John didn't make films for everyone. However, if you watch it and you connect there aren't many experiences like it. What it says about gender and family and emotional needs are very valid, and they know no generation. I have no doubt that for as long as this film exists it will make the right people feel this way.
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