There comes a time in every Blu Ray and DVD reviewers life when they meet a crossroads. You see so many good and great works that you expect something exceptional every time. Criterion have had their fair share of very good to astonishing. They have never however, yet had just plain old standard. Here with HUSBANDS, it appears they have reached that milestone.

Cassavetes was the natural, real, cinema radical, that inspired generations of American cinema makers made HUSBANDS later in his career. An extremely personal film ( the video essay details this with his own words but also with nuance). Three men come to terms with the death of a loved friend. They believe that they are more than husbands and so delve into the bond that unites them and make them men. Its gravity is heavy. This pushes and pulls the actors. Such questions never have easy answers and naturally it falls more than it rises.

Cassavetes fan and critic Marshall Fine elobarately discusses this. He makes the points that HUSBANDS is not a film of toxicity but more male vulnerablity. Men become teenagers after so long in a relationship. Their only positive attributes are defined by acquisition. The motion of the piece sees them have to navigate the new found identity. Cassavetes would identify that men are packs. Stuck in loops of traditional roles and proving of masculinity. For some I agree, it was too difficult and so critics took it as a sign of unpleasant male identity. Ben Gazzara, the late, great actor understood this like almost no other (Peter Falk is the only other). The three shine on screen here because of this chemistry. The Story of “Husbands” seemingly allows those in the know to talk about it.  Though the best insight is The Dick Cavett Show, where all three are chemical elements, fusing together….


So to speak of the 4K is to say, it is neither grand nor revolutionary but it is fair. The issue comes with the sound. I couldn’t be less impressed with the flatness and quiet tones of the piece. Cassavetes loved his external, real dialogue but it seems to have become squished here.


Very good as I discussed above. Maybe the real reason to buy the set is for these.?

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary from 2009 featuring critic Marshall Fine
  • New interviews with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre
  • New video essay featuring audio recordings of John Cassavetes in his own words exploring the actor director’s spirited approach to acting
  • The Story of “Husbands”—A Tribute to John Cassavetes (2009), a half-hour program featuring Ruban, actor Ben Gazzara, and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper
  • Episode of The Dick Cavett Show from 1970 featuring Cassavetes, Gazzara, and actor Peter Falk
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Andrew Bujalski

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