John Cassavetes: Five Films

John Cassavetes: Five Films

John Cassavetes: Five Films (Criterion Blu-Ray)

Blu-Ray Collector's Set

5 Discs

SRP: $124.95

Criterion Store price:$99.96

Collector's Set Info

  • Spine #250

John Cassavetes was a genius, a visionary, and the progenitor of American independent film, but that doesn’t begin to get at the generosity of his art. A former theater actor fascinated by the power of improvisation, Cassavetes brought his search for truth in performance to the screen. The five films in this collection—all of which the director maintained total control over by financing them himself and making them outside the studio system—are electrifying and compassionate creations, populated by all manner of humanity: beatniks, hippies, businessmen, actors, housewives, strippers, club owners, gangsters, children. Cassavetes has often been called an actor’s director, but this body of work—even greater than the sum of its extraordinary parts—shows him to be an audience’s director.

Collector’s Set Includes

Shadows box cover


John Cassavetes 1959

John Cassavetes’s directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light- skinned black woman, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man.

Faces box cover


John Cassavetes 1968

Faces confronts modern alienation and the battle of the sexes with a brutal honesty and compassion rarely matched in cinema.

A Woman Under the Influence box cover

A Woman Under the Influence

John Cassavetes 1974

John Cassavetes’ devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family’s struggle to save her from herself. This is one of the benchmark films of American independent cinema—a heroic document from a true maverick director.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie box cover

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

John Cassavetes 1976

John Cassavetes engages with film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays a gentleman’s club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment.

Opening Night box cover

Opening Night

John Cassavetes 1977

While in the midst of rehearsals for her latest play, Broadway actor Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, after which she begins to confront the chaos of her own life.

A Constant Forge box cover

A Constant Forge

Charles Kiselyak 2000

Charles Kiselyak’s A Constant Forge—The Life and Art of John Cassavetes is a detailed journey through the career of one of film’s greatest pioneers and iconoclasts, assembled from candid interviews with Cassavetes’ collaborators and friends, rare photographs, and archival footage.

Disc Features

  • New high-definition digital restorations of all five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
  • New high-definition digital restoration of Cassavetes’s 108-minute 1978 version of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  • A Constant Forge: The Life and Art of John Cassavetes (2000), a 200-minute documentary by Charles Kiselyak
  • New interviews with actor Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel about Shadows
  • Silent footage from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, from which Shadows emerged
  • Restoration demonstration for Shadows
  • Alternate eighteen-minute opening sequence for Faces
  • Episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps from 1968, dedicated to Cassavetes
  • Making “Faces,” a new documentary featuring interviews with actors Cassel, Lynn Carlin, and Gena Rowlands and director of photography Al Ruban
  • Al Ruban on Lighting and Shooting “Faces,” a new video program (Blu-ray); Lighting and Shooting the Film, an on-screen essay by Ruban, illustrated with video clips, that discusses the techniques and equipment used on Faces (DVD)
  • Audio commentary for A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris
  • New conversation between Rowlands and actor Peter Falk about A Woman Under the Influence
  • New interview program featuring actor Ben Gazzara and Ruban discussing The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  • New conversation between Rowlands and Gazzara about Opening Night
  • New interview with Ruban about Opening Night
  • Three audio interviews with Cassavetes from the 1970s
  • Trailers for Shadows, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night
  • Stills and poster galleries
  • Trailers
  • Biographical sketches of the actors Cassavetes frequently cast in his films, written by Tom Chartity (John Cassavetes: Lifeworks) (DVD only)
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Gary Giddins, Kent Jones, Kiselyak, Stuart Klawans, Dennis Lim, and Phillip Lopate; writings by and interviews with Cassavetes; and tributes to the filmmaker by director Martin Scorsese; actor and writer Elaine Kagan, Cassavetes’s former secretary; and novelist Jonathan Lethem

New covers by Lucien S. Y. Yang


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