Opening Night

1977

Drama

133
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 8 10 8,609

Synopsis


Downloaded times
August 4, 2020

Cast

Gena Rowlands as Jeannie Rapp
Joan Blondell as Sarah Goode
Peter Falk as Maximilian Meen
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.29 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
144 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.66 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
144 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by desperateliving 10 / 10 / 10

10/10

It was once suggested by Pauline Kael, never a fan, that Cassavetes thought not like a director, but like an actor. What Kael meant was his supposed lack of sophistication as a filmmaker; to take that comparison further, to me, it never feels like Cassavetes is directing himself in a film, it feels like Cassavetes implanting himself inside his own creation, like Orson Welles. Cassavetes is just as much of a genius as Welles, but far more important as a true artist (as opposed to a technician or rhetorician). This is like a cross between Italian passion (though Cassavetes was actually Greek) and Scandinavian introversion. Never before have inner demons been so exposed physically. It's about the mystery of becoming, performing, and acting. Like a haunted Skip James record, it's got the echoes of ghosts all around. Rowlands' breakdowns, which are stupefying and almost operatic, surprising coming from Cassavetes, are accompanied by a jumpy, unsettling piano. Who is this dead girl? The metaphysical possibilities are endless, and it's amazing to find this kind of thing in a Cassavetes film, just the overt display of intelligence (there is also a brief bit of voice-over at the beginning). But then, he always was intelligent, he just never flapped it around for easy praise. This is not "Adaptation"; here, the blending of reality and fiction and drama is not to show cleverness but to show the inner turmoil and confusion it creates. There's so much going on. The pure, joyous love when Rowlands greets her doorman; the horror when she beats herself up... The scene where the girl talks about how she devoted her life to art and to music is one of the most effective demonstrations of understanding what it means to be a fan of someone. You can see some roots of this in "A Star Is Born," and Almodovar borrowed from it for "All About My Mother." I think the ending is a little bit of a disappointment because of the laughing fits, but the preparation leading up to it is almost sickening. (You can shoot me, but I think the alcoholism, despite its urgency in many of the scenes, is a relatively small point about the film.) It's a living, breathing thing, and it feels like a process: it could go any direction at any time. Like "Taste of Cherry," we are reminded that "you must never forget this is only a play." Yet it is dangerous: when Rowlands says that line, is it great drama? How will the audience take it? Is she being reflexive or does she just not care? Her (character's) breakdowns are incorporated into the performances, and ultimately the film, in such a way that it's like witnessing a female James Dean. 10/10

Reviewed by foutiroir 9 / 10 / 10

this is a bliss

Let's go straight to the point: this is The Movie I would take with me on a desert island (with dvd player). It's just perfect. If a reason for you to see a movie is that you love the actors, you like to see them free to involve in the space and feelings, this movie is for you. See the scene when Myrtle (Rowlands) come on stage drunk and Maurice(Cassavetes) has to improvise because she doesn't follow the script anymore. If you're sensitive to the camera's movements, you'll be fascinated by the way the camera moves on stage, the particular flow, that give you the impression camera follow the actors as if it was lead by the theatrical principle of "private space"... amazing. And the story is just a brilliant mix of tale and realistic drama. Cassavetes is again arguing with Hollywood and the majors' politics, but this time, he do it through Broadway, making one of the most exciting movie about theater. Well, this movie is a bliss.

Reviewed by creightonhale 9 / 10 / 10

Cassavettes's overlooked masterpiece

Yesterday, I went to the monthly Antique Flea Market that comes to town. I really have no interest in such things, but I went for the fellowship of friends who do have such an interest. Looking over the hundreds of vendor, passing many of them quickly, I spotted someone selling VHS tapes and DVDs. Most of the films he had on DVD were rather recent; the oldest one I noticed was the 1940 Cary Grant-Irene Dunne co-starrer MY FAVORITE WIFE. But the VHS tapes, by their nature, were mostly older films. I couldn't resist buying SOMETHING since they were being sold at 3 tapes for $10.00. What a bargain, as Eddie Murphy used to say. I came across one film that I had heard about for years but had never seen: John Cassavettes's OPENING NIGHT (1977). Well, I certainly wanted that being a fan of Gena Rowlands, and I had heard that this film contained one of her finest performances. He also had FACES (1968). I had seen this about 20 years ago, a time when I probably had not had enough life experience to appreciate it thoroughly. And I wanted to take advantage of the bargain, so I grabbed that one too. My other choice was CLAIRE'S KNEE (1970). When I got home, I decided to put aside the work I had planned to do so that I could watch OPENING NIGHT. I was totally enthralled by this film. It focuses on Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands), a famous actress of stage and screen, who, during out-of-town previews, is having personal and professional problems coming to terms with both her character and the play's theme of facing aging. After one rehearsal, an avid fan and autograph hound accosts her with cries (and tears) of "I love you! I love you!" A few minutes later, this fan is hit by a car and killed. This begins Myrtle's descent into herself where she must face her own fears of aging, the future of her career as a mature actress, and the inadequacies she finds in the play itself (written by a much older female dramatist, played by Joan Blondell). Throughout the film, she sees the dead girl, an obvious symbol of her past; drinks almost constantly; and receives insincere support from her director (Ben Gazzara), the producer (Paul Stewart), her costar (John Cassavettes himself), and the dramatist. Actually, they're more concerned about how her behavior will affect them and their careers: flubbing lines on stage, improvising new lines, generally cracking up on stage, and arriving for the Broadway opening totally drunk. This story functions not only to address the issues of aging but also to promote Cassavettes's displeasure with mainstream movie-making. As I watched the film, I was at times surprised, confused, amused, disparaging, but ultimately involved, entertained, and satisfied. Cassavettes really had a great sense of humor, cared very much that his audience understood what he was implying, and wanted them to be emotionally involved in the story. He makes allusions to ALL ABOUT EVE with the use of the avid theater fan, even dressing the young girl in a slicker and hat similar to the one worn by Anne Baxter at the beginning of that film. This allusion functions most obviously to support his aging theme, the contrast of the older and younger woman. He also obviously uses the contrast as a symbol for Myrtle's confronting her own lost youth. At first, I felt the symbolism was TOO obvious, but then I realized that that was Cassavettes's intention. He doesn't want his audience misunderstanding what he's getting at; if they did, it would interfere with their emotional involvement. This spectre of youth haunts Myrtle, attacks her, and wants to destroy her. Myrtle eventually "kills" her, but before she can really come to terms with herself and the play, she must reach bottom (another figurative death?). So Cassavettes has her get so drunk that she can't walk and must crawl to her dressing room the night the play opens on Broadway. She resurrects herself (helping yourself out of such situations is also important to the film's theme) and makes the play a success by giving a great performance and changing the direction of play for the better by improvising so that it contains some ray of hope for the aging character she's playing. These scenes are funny and interesting. Cassavettes and Rowlands actually did the play in front of live audiences, who did and did not know they were going to be part of a movie. The play they're doing also acts as contrast: it's mainstream and self-serious about the issues it addresses, that is, until Myrtle changes its denouement. In doing so, she also improves the work of her co-stars. The natural evolution of interaction (achieved through improvisation)between and among human beings, subjective realism, and universal truth - these were Cassavettes's concerns in making films. Gena Rowlands is amazing throughout. Of course, she has that great face, and Cassavettes (notoriously in love with her throughout their marriage) treats us to numerous closeups of it so that we too can feel her emotions and that we know what's going on inside of her. She makes you care so much about this character that you want to see her work her way out of this crisis of the soul. And this is what holds your attention for the 2 hours and 30 minutes running time. The film is deliberately paced at times and requires constant attention, but anyone with interest in good film-making and great acting will be rewarded. Someone else said that this is a movie for people who love movies. All others be forewarned. Seek out OPENING NIGHT if you've never seen it. Everyone in it is excellent, and it's one of Cassavettes's best films.

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