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A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her mental illness proves to be a problem in the marriage.

Director:

John Cassavetes

Writer:

John Cassavetes
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Nick Longhetti
Gena Rowlands ... Mabel Longhetti
Fred Draper ... George Mortensen
Lady Rowlands Lady Rowlands ... Martha Mortensen
Katherine Cassavetes Katherine Cassavetes ... Margaret Longhetti
Matthew Labyorteaux ... Angelo Longhetti
Matthew Cassel ... Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti Christina Grisanti ... Maria Longhetti
George Dunn George Dunn ... Garson Cross (as O.G. Dunn)
Mario Gallo ... Harold Jensen
Eddie Shaw Eddie Shaw ... Dr. Zepp
Angelo Grisanti Angelo Grisanti ... Vito Grimaldi
Charles Horvath ... Eddie
James Joyce James Joyce ... Bowman
John Finnegan ... Clancy
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Storyline

Peter Falk is a blue collar man trying to deal with his wife's mental instability. He fights to keep a semblance of normality in the face of her bizarre behavior, but when her actions affect their children, he has her committed. Written by BA Jacobson <pcfe2151@cybercom.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

18 November 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eine Frau unter Einfluß See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Faces See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes were husband and wife. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Nick first decides to have Mabel committed, he's got a towel on his shoulder and a bottle of gin in his hand. The next cut contains the towel, but no bottle of gin. The following shot the gin returns. See more »

Quotes

Nick Longhetti: Normal talk. Conversation. Weather. "How are you?" "Where you been?" "Hello." "Too hot." "Too cold."
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: So... Good Talk (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

La Boheme
(uncredited)
Music by Giacomo Puccini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cassavetes's absorbing look at the nature of marriage; Falk and Rowlands are spellbinding
24 December 2004 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

While John Cassavetes is (rightly) revered for this film and other under his belt, wife/key-star Gena Rowlands is the most fascinating and emotionally gripping part to this work, Woman Under the Influence. Her role as Mabel was perfect in a film that sometimes was not even as it just tried for suburban truth. I was constantly curious about where her character was headed, and even more so by how I did not feel any desire at all to pass judgment on her. The moment I would have thought to myself "well, she's too nuts to like" the film would be ruined for me. And that is one of the more intelligent points to the film that Cassavetes gets at.

This is, after all, a character-based film, with story merely in the background. And with his two main characters we get a look at what has been a stereotype for centuries- men are often brutal and stupid, women are crazy. In this filmmakers world, it's just not that black and white, however, but with the grays as pronounced as the highs and lows in a melodrama; it's just the way he sees things, and it's a unique way as well, where the soul and choice are the precedents over comfy dramatic circumstance.

I loved the use of the camera in many scenes, how it felt like they just shot and shot and went from one spot in the house to the next, uncertain but knowing how to observe and look. In fact, the whole film has the feel of a documentary, with the occasional dramatic touch such as a close-up. But what turns it into being something special is that Cassavetes understands that Falk, Rowlands and the others can take his script and make it their own, very personally so. And as it happens, Falk finds some of his most daring work here as Nick, a character who in his own way has become as nuts as Mabel with the everyday grind of living (which for both of them is filled with people, talk, pure humanity).

For those who don't like the easy solutions in dramas, or want to know the basics of the post-modern independent film movement, this is for you. It might seem to drag in spots, but it seems to be even more enveloping if one gives it the time to contemplate over those 'drag' moments.


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