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Husbands

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Mature Thematic Elements including Sexual Situations, Language, Drunkeness and Brief Domestic Violence)

Running Time: 142 Minutes

Starring: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes

Written and Directed by: John Cassavetes

 

 

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Author Marshall Fine, The Story of Husbands: A Tribute to John Cassavetes, Theatrical Trailer 

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (12 Scenes)

Released: August 18th, 2009

 

 


"Husbands" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty strong — though flawed — transfer. The print is a lot cleaner than I anticipated, but flaws such as scratches and specks make their way on screen now and again. Shimmering and noises also pop up, and at times the film is remarkably soft and grainy. Still, detail is pretty good and the overall image quality is rather refined. Color saturation doesn't stand out, but is decent enough. Fleshtones also look pretty good. There are times when the film looks its age (of 40 years old), but it is more than watchable, and better than I expected. 

 


"Husbands" features an English Mono track. Save for some slight hissing and other background noises, this is a pretty clear track. Everything is audible and sounds clear, namely the dialogue and variety of sound effects. Of course it's simple and narrow, and lacks any sort of field to expand, but there remains a charm to it, merely how its recording is part of the times. For what it is, the track captures you — probably because it's such a dialogue driven film anyway. And I doubt a remix would have really improved upon the track considerably.

English subtitles are included, as well as English closed captions.

 


For its inaugral release on DVD, "Husbands" packs some nice supplements. There's an Audio Commentary with Author Marshall Fine (who's also a film critic, and wrote a book on Cassavetes). While at times Fine narrates what's going on screen and offers his own random thoughts, for the most part he reveals a lot of great production anecdotes about the actors, Cassavetes and the shoot. He also pinpoints technical details, and has lots of insight about the film's themes and hidden meanings. Fine remains chatty throughout, and brings a lot to the table. A well done track, this track should be a must listen for fans of the movie and of the famed filmmaker. 

The half-hour The Story Of Husbands: A Tribute To John Cassavetes tracks the film's production, and is quite interesting — but the presentation is rather straightforward. While the only three participants  — producer Al Ruban, actor Ben Gazzara and director of photography Victor Kemper — are enthusiastic and recall quite a lot, the lack of additional perspectives makes it a bit on the dry side. Nonetheless, all the bases are covered: Cassavetes developing the project, how funding came together, work on the script, the pairing of the actors, the editing and so forth. But there's a lot to be gained here about Cassavetes directing style, and the essence of the story. Most intriguing is how Cassavetes didn't edit the film inititally, and then really twisted it around (Gazzara mentions a four hour cut, even). Standard clips from the movie are shown, plus plenty of stills. For fans of Cassavetes and the film, there's a lot to learn here. 

Also included is the Original Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen.

 


It's great to see "Husbands" on DVD. A tricky film for sure, but one no less engrossing from the famed John Cassavetes. I'm glad to see the DVD was given better-than-usual treatment for a catalog release, namely with the nice mini-documentary and strong commentary. The film also looks and sounds pretty good, 40 years later. The movie is worth a rental for those interested in the legendary filmmaker, and a definite purchase for his most ardent fans.