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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,
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.
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.
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.