Combustible Celluloid Review - Gloria (1980), John Cassavetes, John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, John Adames, Julie Carmen, Buck Henry
Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gena Rowlands, John Adames, Julie Carmen, Buck Henry
Written by: John Cassavetes
Directed by: John Cassavetes
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 123
Date: 09/19/1980

Gloria (1980)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tough Broad

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Filmmaker John Cassavetes initially wrote the Gloria script specifically to sell and to raise money for more personal projects. But the studio insisted he direct. The result is perhaps not one of Cassavetes' masterpieces, but it is a good, somewhat mainstream entry point to his work. Gena Rowlands plays a tough broad who finds herself saddled with a Puerto Rican boy (John Adames) after his family is slain by gangsters over a stolen account book. She and the kid take it on the lam, using her street savvy to hide from the underworld. It's an obvious setup and most directors would have made sentimental hash out of it, but Cassavetes keeps it strong and smooth, and Rowlands was nominated for an Oscar for her trouble.

In 2023, Kino Lorber released a spiffy new Blu-ray, and the film's grungy, big city look has never felt so good. The only extras are optional subtitles, two trailers for the 1980 film, a trailer for the ill-fated 1999 remake, and a batch of other, semi-related trailers.

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