IMDb > Opening Night (1977)
Opening Night
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Opening Night (1977) More at IMDbPro »

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Opening Night -- Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon rehearses for her latest play, about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront the personal and professional turmoil she faces in her own life.
Opening Night -- Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon rehearses for her latest play, about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront her personal and professional turmoil.


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Release Date:
17 April 1978 (Sweden) See more »
An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
(4 articles)
Jude Has Star Support on His Broadway Hamlet Opening Night
 (From Popsugar. 7 October 2009, 7:45 AM, PDT)

2 or 3 Things I Learned at Nyff Opening Night
 (From Thompson on Hollywood. 26 September 2009, 1:10 PM, PDT)

Light Camera and Action! Opening night at Tiff .09
 (From Filmicafe. 11 September 2009, 1:16 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Cassavetes, Rowlands, Gazzara in an interesting experiment See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gena Rowlands ... Myrtle Gordon

John Cassavetes ... Maurice Aarons

Ben Gazzara ... Manny Victor

Joan Blondell ... Sarah Goode

Paul Stewart ... David Samuels
Zohra Lampert ... Dorothy Victor

Laura Johnson ... Nancy Stein

John Tuell ... Gus Simmons
Ray Powers ... Jimmy

John Finnegan ... Bobby
Louise Lewis ... Kelly (as Louise Fitch)
Fred Draper ... Leo
Katherine Cassavetes ... Vivian
Lady Rowlands ... Melva Drake
Carol Warren ... Carla
Briana Carver ... Lena
Angelo Grisanti ... Charlie Spikes
Meade Roberts ... Eddie Stein
Eleanor Zee ... Sylvia Stein
David Rowlands ... Doorman
Sharon Van Ivan ... Shirley
Jimmy Christie ... News Stand Operator

James Karen ... Bellboy
Jimmy Joyce ... Bartender
Sherry Bain ... Barmaid
Sylvia Davis Shaw ... Hotel Maid
Peter Lampert ... Maitre d'
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Josh Becker ... Audience Member (uncredited)

Peter Bogdanovich ... Peter Bogdanovich (uncredited)

Seymour Cassel ... Seymour Cassel (uncredited)

Peter Falk ... Peter Falk (uncredited)
Jana Howard ... Young Girl (uncredited)
William Kramer ... Rabbi (uncredited)

Patrick Labyorteaux ... Child Actor Playing Vito (uncredited)
Robert Leader ... Larry Stein (uncredited)

Naomi Stevens ... Crying Mourner (uncredited)
Robert von Dassanowsky ... Audience Member (uncredited)

Directed by
John Cassavetes 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
John Cassavetes 

Produced by
Michael Lally .... associate producer (as Michael Lally)
Al Ruban .... producer
Sam Shaw .... executive producer
Original Music by
Bo Harwood 
Cinematography by
Al Ruban 
Film Editing by
Tom Cornwell 
Casting by
Prometheus Patient 
Production Design by
Bryan Ryman 
Art Direction by
Brian Ryman 
Costume Design by
Aleka Corwin  (as Alexandra Corwin-Hankin)
Production Management
Edward Ledding .... production manager (as Ted Lenning)
Foster H. Phinney .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lisa Hallas-Gottlieb .... second assistant director (as Lisa Hallas)
Art Department
Verna Bagby .... chief set construction
Richard Upper .... graphic artist
Robert Vehon .... property master
Abraham Zwick .... set construction assistant
Richard Upper .... main title design (uncredited)
Sound Department
Crew Chamberlain .... boom operator
Bo Harwood .... sound
Joanne T. Harwood .... sound assistant
Bill Varney .... sound mixer
Joe Woo Jr. .... sound editor
Special Effects by
Jaime Fernandez .... rainmaker (uncredited)
Conrad Rothmann .... special effects crew (uncredited)
Donna Garrett .... stunts
Victor Paul .... stunt driver
Charlie Picerni .... stunt driver (as Charles Picerni)
Charlie Picerni .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Pat Don Aroma .... best boy
Larry Baughman .... best boy
Catherine E. Coulson .... assistant camera
Donne Daniels .... gaffer
Larry Dean .... best boy
Frederick Elmes .... camera operator
Michael Ferris .... camera operator
Emmett O'Connell .... best boy
Joseph L. Rezwin .... gaffer
Son Robinson .... gaffer
Richard Ross .... gaffer
Jed Skillman .... assistant camera
Richard Upper .... still photographer
Dave Walker .... best boy
R. Michael Stringer .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Akins .... wardrober
Miles Ciletti .... wardrober
Editorial Department
Kathleen Barker .... post-production
Kent Beyda .... assistant editor
Hal Bowers .... assistant editor
Music Department
Lee Houskeeper .... musical consultant
Booker T. Jones .... conductor
Booker T. Jones .... music arranger
Booker T. Jones .... musical director
Other crew
Robert Bogdanoff .... production assistant
Esme Chandlee .... publicist
Tom Cornwell .... script supervisor
Arlene Harris .... production secretary
Michelle Hart .... production secretary
Susan Howell .... production accountant
Jack Krupnick .... location manager
Adria Later .... teacher/welfare worker
Eve Siegel .... publicist
Teresa Stokovic .... production coordinator
Sharon Van Ivan .... assistant to producer
Raymond Vellucci .... production assistant
Rick Schmidlin .... production assistant (uncredited)
Rick Schmidlin .... production runner (uncredited)
Harland Sanders .... thanks (as Colonel Sanders)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
144 min
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992.See more »
Errors in geography: A bus rolls by the New Haven theater with an ad for KBIG FM 104, a Los Angeles station.See more »
Sarah Goode:Just please tell me what this play doesn't express.
Myrtle Gordon:Hope.
See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
18 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Cassavetes, Rowlands, Gazzara in an interesting experiment, 6 May 2000
Author: silentgpaleo

From what I gather on the making of OPENING NIGHT, the plays that are performed in the film are real. The audiences are supposedly real, and the flubbed lines are also real occurrences. Of course, since there is much improvising, it is sometimes hard to see where the energy originated from. But with OPENING NIGHT, Cassavetes brings us into the world of theater, and some of his comments are harrowing.

Rowlands stars as Myrtle Gordon, a serious stage actress with a large following. She has fans that follow her before and after her performances, beg for her autograph, and generally leave Myrte cold. Gazzara is Myrtle's director, a manipulator who knows how to handle his actors. Cassavetes plays Myrtle's costar, a relationship that leads to fights with Myrtle, on and off-stage.

Meanwhile, Myrtle is starting to lose her grip. She is having difficulty grasping the character she is playing in her latest performance. She has trouble remembering her lines, and staying in character. Her personal life begins to take over.

This is due to her witnessing a death of one of her fans. She brushes off this Anne Baxter( in ALL ABOUT EVE) wannabe, and moments later learns that this fan was killed in a car accident. This brings out guilty feelings in Myrtle, that her life and the lives of others are empty. And that she may be the cause of some of these problems.

Myrtle is a lonely character. She lives for acting, and when she loses her focus, it eats away at her confidence. Myrtle feels unable to express what she already knows. She forgets how to be herself.

OPENING NIGHT is a very powerful film. It demands that we, as the audience, become involved emotionally with the characters. Cassavetes is a loose director who knows how to evoke feelings through character improvisation and crude camera techniques. His films are always professional, but there is a certain gritty quality as well that lends atmosphere and a sense of geography to his work. Cassavetes was a true film artist, and his actors are artists as well.

Rowlands is fearless; she is one actress who rips into herself to release the characters that she play. This often leaves her naked, and that can be fascinating and entertaining. Gazzara is wonderfully pompous as the director, and he plays with a perfect combination of relaxed confidence and creeping self-doubt. And Cassavetes is no slouch as an actor; his work in other directors' films show that he was versatile and inspired without necessarily having to steer.

My only complaints here are that the film has a few too many ideas. This is a minor complaint for such an engrossing film, but the movie becomes top-heavy from all of the threads that the audience is trying to follow. While Cassavetes' HUSBANDS and WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE ran on a straight time-line, OPENING NIGHT is much more loosely structured. This can lead to mix-ups, but as I say, this is only a minor gripe.

OPENING NIGHT is definitely not the film to start with if you are just getting into the Cassavetes film catalogue. It may seem pointless at times, and the running time is a tad long. But, mark my words, there are many points made in OPENING NIGHT, and if the viewer is more familiar with Cassavete's aspirations, the film can be quite a good viewing. For fans of different acting techniques and independent film, I highly recommend this film. I own a copy, and I'll probably never give it up.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (31 total) »

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No Oscar for Rowlands? chevelless67
i think it was boring chrissy_13
Slapped Actress/The Hold Steady ManWhoSoldTheWorld
Cassavetes's best! And the orhers... wwolf-8
Dead Girl: Ghost or Imagnation? kino66
John C's jazzy cutting style noelartm
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