Peter Labuza Interviews Me for The Cinephiliacs Podcast: We Discuss John Cassavetes’ Opening Night


I had a great time talking with Peter Labuza for his wonderful Cinephiliacs podcast.

You can download the episode here.

We get into it! We talk about actors, movies, movie stars, John Wayne, Elvis, Judy Garland, gesture – and then we focus in to talk about John Cassavetes’ Opening Night. (Phone call for Ted. It is a movie the two of us love so much, and we have talked about it endlessly. I’ve never really written about the film: It cuts too close. But I have a ton of thoughts about it and it was great fun to get into it with Peter. Thanks for having me on your show, Peter!)


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5 Responses to Peter Labuza Interviews Me for The Cinephiliacs Podcast: We Discuss John Cassavetes’ Opening Night

  1. Fiddlin Bill says:

    I watched Opening Night as soon as I could after reading this. Today I return here and find a great piece on Fugitive Kind, another movie I really loved the second time around–I found it much more engrossing than some of Williams’ movies, including Cat. But, re Opening Night–don’t you think the wonderful drunk scene at the end is an obvious reference to Brando’s great scene after he’s beaten up in the shack in On the Waterfront and has to climb back up the rickety gangplank to the workers. There’s even some of the same lines, such as Gazarra’s “don’t pick her up, let her do it herself.” And Gena was damn near as good as Brando, as an actor. Did they ever get a movie together? And, of course Casavetes, Gazarra, and Falk (hilarious bit part he has) all were greatly affected in their approach to acting by Brando’s supernova. One other thing about Opening Night–Blondell is Wonderful!!!! Happy Labor Day.

    • sheila says:

      I think Gena Rowlands’ drunk in Opening Night is a class all its own. It is its own thing. I love the line from the stagehand: “I’ve never seen anyone as drunk as you and still standing up.”

      So glad you saw it after hearing the podcast. The film is so fascinating, and gets better each time I see it. I love Blondell. I think Cassavetes tried to get Bette Davis – he wanted someone a bit harder – Blondell has a more easygoing understanding vibe. I like Blondell’s softness, it makes her character much more inscrutable. You’re not sure what she’s thinking. Blondell’s memories of working with Cassavetes are great – she was just tossed into the fire. Love her courage.

  2. ted says:

    This film makes me QUAKE. I can’t wait to watch this.

    • sheila says:

      I know, right?? Quaking!

      I still remember that story you told me about the night you saw OPENING NIGHT … didn’t it involve sense memory somehow? A cold night??

      Anyway: Peter has each of his guests pick a film to discuss in-depth and that was my choice. (The OPENING NIGHT discussion comes in the last half-hour).

      Excited to catch up!

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