HUSBANDS
1970, Sony Repertory, 131 min, USA, Dir: John Cassavetes

Death, booze and gambling dominate this dour, yet strangely life-affirming dissection of masculinity and the male ego. Cassavetes’ fifth feature, HUSBANDS follow three men, who abandon their wives and adult responsibilities for purely hedonistic exploits after learning of the death of a common friend. Seeing camaraderie as the only antidote for existential dread, the trio makes its way to London, where they forge a stronger bond while becoming further disconnected from reality. Starring Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk and Cassavetes himself, the film is a painful, sublime, and often funny portrait of grief and desperation.


THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE
1976, Westchester Films, 129 min, Dir: John Cassavetes

A close friend of director-writer John Cassavetes, Timothy Carey stars here as Flo, a hulking Hollywood mobster who plots to take over the Sunset Boulevard strip club run by Ben Gazzara.


ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


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