that follows covers the final ten years of John Cassavetes' life and
the nineteen years following his death. To access a chronology and
list of events covering the first forty years of Cassavetes' life, from
1929 through 1968, click
To read more
about many of the events described below, go to the "About Ray
Carney" and the "Ray Carney's Discoveries" sections of
the site (in the left menu on this page) and the associated links. All
of the books and articles by Prof. Carney that are mentioned can be
purchased via the "Bookstore" link (also in the left menu
on this page).
/ 2001-2005 / 2006-2007
here for best printing of text
February: Marshall Fine’s Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film is published by Miramax Books. The book is advertised as being an “approved” biography, which Fine has received permission from Gena Rowlands to write, and in which certain passages have been cleared with her before publication. Since the majority of the events in Fine’s book are taken from Carney’s earlier Cassavetes on Cassavetes and Shadows books, most of the facts and dates are correct, but Cassavetes’ personality, his soul and spirit are oddly missing. Fine leaves out or radically downplays the artistic and personal demons, the struggles and disappointments, the crazinesses, the doomed and exultant extremity that defined Cassavetes: his charisma and charm; his goofy sense of humor and fondness for zany practical jokes; his pride and competitiveness; his self–centeredness; his willfulness; his big–talk; his insecurity; his tell–them–whatever–they–want–to–hear “rug–merchant” salesmanship; his bullshit–that–won’t–quit readiness to say anything that furthered his ends; his love of pushing people’s buttons and getting their goat; his addiction to risk–taking and long–shot gambles; his drunkenness and alcoholism; his suicidal self–destructiveness; his toughness and skepticism; his womanizing; his scam–artist lies, cons, and deceits; his shouts, fights, fits of anger when things went wrong and his explosions of rage with anyone who crossed him or questioned his judgment; his dirty tricks and acts of vindictiveness; his feelings of frustration and neglect; his loneliness and discouragement; his doubts and despairs in his final years. The personality of the man who made the films, films whose characters have many of the same qualities as their creator, is strangely absent from the account. A proper analysis of Cassavetes, the man remains to be written. It will require a rare combination of courage and inside knowledge to write.
A new print of Love Streams is struck and screened in several Canadian film festivals. Unfortunately, it is based on a “television print” of the film that was been re–edited to minimize the nudity and also has changes in the “make–a–bet” dream sequence. Along with Husbands, Too Late Blues, A Child Is Waiting, and Gloria, the film is still not available in America on DVD or VHS.
June 21: Michael Ventura publishes Cassavetes Directs (Kamera Books), an on–the–set diary of the making of Love Streams. The manuscript was completed more than 20 years earlier (see the entry for February 1984), and unfortunately shows its age. The text is still back in what might might be called the “hero–worship” phase of Cassavetes’ study – unashamedly in awe of him and his work and almost completely blind to the personal failures, confusions, and vulgarities that energized it and allowed him to create it. (To read about another similarly star-struck, hero-worshipping, sentimental biographical portrait of Cassavetes, click here.)
Click here to read about Gena Rowlands's perpetuation of a Disneyland version of Cassavetes' life and work, her attempts to control what is written about Cassavetes, and her retaliation against scholars who try to tell the truth.
an indication of the state of contemporary academic opinion on
the work of John Cassavetes, more than fifteen years after the
filmmaker's death, read the following recent letter to Prof. Carney
from a recent graduate of the USC film school:
At USC, where I attended
film school, the head-professor, a fella by the name of Drew Casper
who holds the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Endowed Professorship
(surprise surprise) in the department, and is Professor of Critical
Studies, told me that Cassavetes wasn't worth teaching because
he didn't fit into any category. Plus, he thought the movies were
too "messy" and that students wouldn't get them. I suggested
showing A Woman Under the Influence. He said he didn't
care for the movie. He even dared to suggest that Cassavetes was
not a very interesting filmmaker, and that you couldn't teach
him in a class, and he was only able to make his movies because
he had all these "connections" in the film industry
(What connections would those be? Apparently Casper was not privy
to how much John struggled to four-wall his movies). This fall,
Casper is teaching a WHOLE SEMESTER on the films of Steven Spielberg.
Because, you know, someone like Spielberg is easy to teach. And
the kids love him. That's USC, ladies and gentleman.
A note from
this is the feeling of one of the senior film professors at USC
(often considered the flagship American film studies program),
I leave it to your imagination what it's like at "Podunk
4 < Page 5
1979-1990 / 1990-1995 / 1996-2000 / 2001-2005 / 2006-2007
above covers the final ten years of John Cassavetes' life and the nineteen years following his death. To access a chronology and list of events
covering the first forty years of Cassavetes' life, from 1929 through
To read more
about many of the events described above, go to the "About Ray Carney"
and the "Ray Carney's Discoveries" sections of the site (in
the left menu on this page) and the associated links. All of the books
and articles by Prof. Carney that are mentioned can be purchased via
the "Bookstore" link (also in the left menu on this page).