8.2/10
17,230
103 user 86 critic

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

The film represents actor/writer/director John Cassavetes's only Academy Award nomination for directing. 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

Mabel Longhetti: Die for Mr. Jensen, kids!
See more »


Soundtracks

Song of My Mother
(uncredited)
Written by Angelo Grisanti
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Bruising Portrait of Mental Illness
10 July 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Eeesh, what a tough movie to sit through.

This two and a half hour movie left me sweaty, exhausted and hollowed out. In its own way it's an extremely well done film, but I don't know that it's an experience I want to repeat. Director John Cassavetes follows a few months in the life of a family whose mother and wife (Gena Rowlands) is suffering from mental illness, and the movie consists of one long scene after another of her cracking up, or trying not to crack up, and the various family members' reactions to her cracking up. Peter Falk plays the husband and father who thinks that mental illness is just some silly nonsense his wife should be able to stop if she just tried hard enough. Rowlands has the showier role, but Falk is the revelation here. His depiction of a husband who blusters and shouts to hide his overwhelming sense of helplessness and fear is superb.

Cassavetes's camera is relentless. We watch Rowlands suffer again and again in long takes and intimate closeups. There are times when you simply want to look away from the screen to help this poor woman preserve a shred of dignity. The highlight of the film (or low point, depending on your point of view) comes when Rowlands's character returns home from a stay in an institution, and her family works overtime to convince themselves that everything's fine when the audience can see clearly that everything is not.

Bruising is the best word I can think of to describe this film.

Grade: A-


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