USA, 1974, 147 minutes
Sun, Apr 26 / 5:45 / Castro / AWOM26C
Mabel Longhetti (Gena Rowlands) and her husband, Nick (Peter Falk), love each other but are very different people. Nick is a loud and outgoing construction crew chief who doesnít think twice about bringing the whole gang home unexpectedly for a spaghetti dinner. Mabel is a shy, insecure woman who tries hard to please her husband. In fact, her identity as an individual seems to have disappeared behind the roles she plays as wife and mother. But when others are around, her little eccentricities and nervous ticks become more pronounced. She talks too much and laughs too much and makes people very uncomfortable. Eventually, friends and family begin to question her mental health. Nickís mother pressures him to have Mabel committed to an institution, and he reluctantly agrees. When she returns six months later, she has clearly changed. The strange mannerisms are gone, but so is the woman Nick knew and loved. Cassavetesí penetrating look at a woman beset by mental illness echoes feminist accusations that many women were trapped in lives of claustrophobic domesticity. Long takes and closeups heighten the emotional impact of Mabelís increasingly bizarre behavior and its effect on her marriage and family. A key movie of the early 1970s, the film stands today as one of the foremost examples of Cassavetesí unsparing realism. The seeds of todayís family dramas, and indeed, of the contemporary independent film movement, can be found here. The UCLA Film & Television Archive carried out a painstaking restoration process to create this not-to-be-missed new print.
Restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation. Presented by The Film Foundation and Gucci. Photograph courtesy of the Criterion Collection.