IMDb > A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
A Woman Under the Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence (1974) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   10,114 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
John Cassavetes (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for A Woman Under the Influence on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 November 1974 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Vertigo at the bottom of the Human Soul ... See more (84 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Nick Longhetti

Gena Rowlands ... Mabel Longhetti
Fred Draper ... George Mortensen
Lady Rowlands ... Martha Mortensen
Katherine Cassavetes ... Margaret Longhetti

Matthew Labyorteaux ... Angelo Longhetti

Matthew Cassel ... Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti ... Maria Longhetti
O.G. Dunn ... Garson Cross
Mario Gallo ... Harold Jensen
Eddie Shaw ... Dr. Zepp
Angelo Grisanti ... Vito Grimaldi
Charles Horvath ... Eddie
James Joyce ... Bowman

John Finnegan ... Clancy
Vincent Barbi ... Gino (as Vince Barbi)
Cliff Carnell ... Aldo
Frank Richards ... Adolph
Hugh Hurd ... Willie Johnson
Leon Wagner ... Billy Tidrow

Dominique Davalos ... Dominique Jensen

Xan Cassavetes ... Adrienne Jensen
Pancho Meisenheimer ... John Jensen
Sonny Aprile ... Aldo
Ellen Davalos ... Nancy
Joanne Moore Jordan ... Muriel
John Hawker ... Joseph Morton
Sylvester Words ... James Turner (as Sil Words)
Elizabeth Deering ... Angela
Jackie Peters ... Tina
Elsie Ames ... Principal
N.J. Cassavetes ... Adolph
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Directed by
John Cassavetes 
 
Writing credits
John Cassavetes (written by)

Produced by
Sam Shaw .... producer
 
Original Music by
Bo Harwood 
 
Cinematography by
Mitch Breit (uncredited)
Al Ruban (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
David Armstrong 
Sheila Viseltear 
 
Art Direction by
Phedon Papamichael 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack Corrick .... first assistant director
Roger Slager .... second assistant director
Gary Graver .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Steve Hitter .... graphics
Kevin Joyce .... props
 
Sound Department
Michael Denecke .... sound mixer (as Henry Michael Denecke)
Nick Spaulding .... boom operator (as Nick Spalding)
Bo Harwood .... sound (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mitch Breit .... in charge of lighting (as Mitchell Breit)
Cliff Carnell .... key grip
Merv Dayan .... lighting technician
Caleb Deschanel .... additional photographer
Frederick Elmes .... assistant camera (as Fred Elmes)
Michael Ferris .... camera operator (as Mike Ferris)
Gary Graver .... additional camera operator
David V. Lester .... gaffer (as David Lester)
David B. Nowell .... camera operator (as David Nowell)
Leslie Otis .... assistant camera
Anthony R. Palmieri .... assistant camera (as Tony Palmieri)
Larry Silver .... assistant camera
Bo Taylor .... lighting technician
Chris Taylor .... lighting technician
Brian Hamill .... still photographer: special assignment (uncredited)
R. Michael Stringer .... additional photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carole K. Smith .... wardrobe (as Carole Smith)
 
Editorial Department
Tom Cornwell .... supervising editor
Robert Heffernan .... executive in charge of post-production
 
Other crew
Elaine Goren .... continuity
Carole K. Smith .... production secretary (as Carole Smith)
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
155 min | USA:146 min (TCM print)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Brazil:12 | Finland:K-16 | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) (1992) | USA:R
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
John Cassavetes, could not find any distributor for this film after completion, and was at one point literally carrying the reels of the film under his arm from one theater to another in hopes of getting one to play his movie. Finally, 'Martin Scorcese' , who had recently become a critically acclaimed director thanks to his film Mean Streets (1973) and happened to be a huge fan of Cassavetes' work threatened to pull his film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) from a major New York film festival unless they accepted this film.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: At the end of the film after they put the children to bed. Nick follows Mabel down the stairs but in the next shot Nick comes out of the stairway first.See more »
Quotes:
Nick Longhetti:Mabel is not crazy, she's unusual. She's not crazy, so don't say she's crazy.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in And the Oscar Goes To... (2014) (TV)See more »

FAQ

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Vertigo at the bottom of the Human Soul ..., 10 January 2011
Author: ElMaruecan82 from France

This is a film about need, about affection, about a desperate need of affection that consumes the heart of Mabel Longhetti, the "woman under the influence" ... Some might say she's a troubled woman suffering from a personality disorder, others would say she's just psychotic ... they couldn't be wronger : she couldn't have a personality disorder, since she doesn't have any personality at all. Her character is totally diluted into that desperate need to please, to make people comfortable. The painful paradox is that this desire creates even more awkward and uncomfortable situations. But Mabel isn't aware of that, she can't understand that because she has buried any desire to be someone under the profound will to make people she loves, happy. She's sweet and tender, but this sweetness is wrong because it's inspired by a double fear of rejection and confrontation.

Mabel crystallizes all these feelings and translates them in a behavior made of unpredictable excitability, a forced cheerfulness, a childish behavior she almost uses as a shield not to be hurt. She's afraid, and so are we, when we watch this poor woman trying to gain anyone's sympathy, just to please Nick, her husband. Mabel is played by the beautiful Gena Rowlands in what I consider the greatest cinematic female performance ever. Peter Falk is underrated as Nick, the husband who tries to deal with Mabel's condition, with such severity sometimes, that even himself can't control his own reactions.

This is the set-up of the film, it's a drama, that couldn't have been directed by anyone but the great John Cassavettes. It's not a thriller, not an action film, yet it provided some of the most heart-pounding moments I've ever experienced. Never had a lunch and a dinner scene been so uneasy to watch : as it's been mentioned before, Mabel doesn't want to hurt people's feeling yet she unconsciously does. Mabel is like a little flame that might, at any time, light a bag of powder. Mabel creates real tickling-bomb situations, where the explosion is a burst of emotions, so human watching the film feels indecent. That's Cassavetes genius, this is no voyeuristic movie because we don't enjoy watching such devastation in a family that has everything to be happy. It's no voyeurism, it's realism, its cinema-verity as its purest form. Every laugh makes us smile, every shout makes us vibrate. Every silence makes us feel uncomfortable. We watch, we wait, and we never have a feeling that nothing is happening. Every look on Gena's eyes, every way she deforms her face, every noise or weird hand gesture she makes is the expression of a poor little a soul trying to communicate a part of what remains in the bottom, what remains of Mabel's personality.

Confronted to Mabel's emotional clumsiness, Nick looks totally helpless, yet he's not exempt from reproaches. He's not crazy but his own temper probably aggravated Mabel's condition. He warns his colleague, "Mabel is not crazy", but he insists so much, you wonder why would someone say that about a 'normal' woman. The answer is that he thinks she's crazy, but loves her so much he doesn't want people to think she is. Nick loves so much his wife he puts himself in situations making him act like a bag of contradictions. Nick himself looks sometimes desperate as he doesn't know what he's doing, lost between his responsibilities as a father, a son, a husband who loves his wife, and a man devoured by a frustrated violence. Seeing him trying to act like a father makes you put Mabel's insanity into perspective. If Mabel acts under Nick's influence, Nick's life and behavior are equally influenced by Mabel's problem, the effects on the couple, on the family and the relationships with the friends are disturbingly heart-breaking.

Disturbing, Cassavetes' masterpiece is because it reflects our own fears with a gripping realism, it's a journey into the deepest bottom of the human soul, made of anger, fear, sadness, happiness, reason, craziness, men, women, children, human relationships. It's hard to watch, it's uncomfortable, we can't help but feel sorry for the poor Mabel, for these poor kids, and even for Nick. They're not pathetic because they're not quite passive. In fact, the movie is full of noise, of loud shouts, of movements, this is no swimming in an ocean of tears, this is not your typical tear-jerker drama, it's almost like an emotional thriller. In fact, this doesn't need any categorization, this film makes other films look like films. "A Woman under the Influence"'s direction turns it into a chaotic journey into human relationships, and a very exhausting experience in reality.

Gena Rowlands gave the best performance I've ever seen, and the fact she won or not an Oscar doesn't even matter ... these considerations normalize the movie when it's more than something you would nominate for an award. Cassavettes's masterpiece is a tunnel ride into the depths of the human soul with its dark sides, and a probable light of hope at the end.

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