8.1/10
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32 user 51 critic

Opening Night (1977)

PG-13 | | Drama | 17 April 1978 (Sweden)
An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Samuels
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Gus Simmons
Ray Powers ...
Jimmy
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Louise Lewis ...
Kelly (as Louise Fitch)
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Leo
Katherine Cassavetes ...
Vivian
Lady Rowlands ...
Melva Drake
Carol Warren ...
Carla
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Storyline

A young woman gets killed in an accident trying to meet her favorite actress Myrtle Gordon after a play. Then Myrtle Gordon felt responsible for the killing leading her down to an emotional crisis that interferes with her professional work as an actress. Written by Chemi González <chemi01@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

17 April 1978 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Noche de estreno  »

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(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Third of three collaborations of actor Ben Gazzara and writer-director John Cassavetes, the others being Husbands (1970) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), the latter being the only one that Cassavetes did not act in. The pair also both appeared in a non-Cassavetes written and directed movie, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). See more »

Goofs

A bus rolls by the New Haven theater with an ad for KBIG FM 104, a Los Angeles station. See more »

Quotes

Nancy Stein: I never bothered you. You want to kill me. I devoted my life to you. To movies. To music. To theater. I'm 17 years old. I like sex. I like to turn people on. And that's what the theater is: sex. It's like getting laid.
Myrtle Gordon: Um, what did you do to her?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Great Great - Opening Night is a movie for people who love movies!
13 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

Opening Night is *such* a fun movie to watch. John Cassavetes was smack dab in the middle of his stride as a director, having completed A Woman Under The Influence (his watershed picture, a hugely intense, absolutely fantastic movie that manages to zone almost completely on nothing but individual human emotions - fear, love, self-doubt) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (an awesome awesome awesome movie with Ben Gazzara where he's working for and running from the mafia around Los Angeles, incredible, resonant, mostly handheld cinematography that places emphasis on human faces and a script that is full of realistic dialogue - probably because the film is heavily improvised) just before this. What it's all about is a middle-aged actress whose overriding insecurities as a human being are drawn to the surface by a single incident: the accidental death of an adoring, enigmatic fan. As she muddles her way through previews of her upcoming Broadway play 'Second Woman' (of which she is the star), her health -- mental and otherwise -- begins to deteriorate. She just can't get it together, and an unsympathetic (and when they feign sympathy and support, they're unbelievable) cast of supporters doesn't help matters. She drinks and drinks and drinks and falls down some and messes up a lot. Will she get it together in time for Opening Night?

Underneath this, John Cassavetes stages and films various scenes of the fictitious play in front of an actual audience, aware of the film cameras filming a movie or not. In that sense, these bits of the film are incredibly interesting. John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands share unmatched chemistry on stage, being that they were one of the most in-love couples in the annals of film history, and it shows. Cassavetes reminds me you of his dynamite ability as a nuanced, fun-to-watch character actor, and Gena Rowlands reminds you of why she's believable as an adored, successful stage actress. These are somewhat arcane stage performances, but are delightful.

What is wrong with Opening Night? It's a movie for people who love movies, with long takes, memorable camera moves, first rate acting, high-concept ideas, a solid beginning middle and end, a great score, and a central theme that is very compelling. Some of Cassavetes' best work, a real brawny film, tall and beautiful, heavily recommended to people who are sick of cotton candy movies, sick of feature-length trailers, sick of all the crap. If you want a thick, expansive thing, Opening Night sits on the shelf, waiting.


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