Husbands (1970)

“I’m not going home. I’m going to get very drunk.” With Husbands (and any John Cassavetes film in general), there is no middle ground – you will either like it or hate it. Personally I think it’s a great film but I realize it’s definitely not for all tastes. For instance, Jay Cocks of Time said it “may be one of the best films anyone will ever live through,” while Pauline Kael of The New Yorker described it as “infantile and offensive.” Billed as “a comedy about life, death and freedom,” this cinema verite-style film opens with three middle-aged, married friends – Gus, Harry and Archie (Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk) – attending the funeral of another of their buddies who has died of a sudden heart attack. These guys then embark on a prolonged and reckless drunken bout that goes on for days (somehow they end up flying to London!) and can only be described as an out-of-control mid-life crisis. There are some classic scenes such as the trio puking their brains out in the men’s room and awkwardly trying to pick up some strange women at a casino. I do admit that some of the scenes drag on for too long (especially the restaurant scene where they have an impromptu singing contest and everyone at the long table ends up belting out a tune). However, those viewers with the patience for this type of film will be aptly rewarded. Known as the “Father of American Independent Cinema,” Cassavetes also directed such classic films as Faces (1968) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). Cassavetes appeared in both The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

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