The pages in this section of Ray Carney's www.Cassavetes.com site contain letters written to Prof. Carney from artists about the Shadows, Faces, Criterion, and Kiselyak situations. The letters written to Prof. Carney are in black; his responses and comments are in blue. The letters on this page are only a small sample of the ones he has received pertaining to these issues. Note that another large section of the site, "The Mailbag," contains many more letters about other matters. To go to "The Mailbag" click here.

To learn more about the events these letters are commenting on, consult the links in the top menu of any of the pages in this section, which tell the story of Carney's discoveries of a new print of John Cassavetes' Faces, his discovery of a print of the long-lost first version of Shadows, his work on the Criterion DVD box set of Cassavetes' films, and his work as the scholarly advisor on a documentary film about Cassavetes.

To read specifically about Gena Rowlands's response to Prof. Carney's discovery of the new Faces print, click here. To read specifically about Rowlands's response to Prof. Carney's discovery of the first version of Shadows, click here.

To read a chronological listing of events between 1979 and the present connected with Ray Carney's search for, discovery of, and presentation of new material by or about John Cassavetes, and the attempts of Gena Rowlands's and Al Ruban's to deny, suppress, or confiscate Prof. Carney's finds, click here.

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Dear Ray Carney,

Hello Ray, my name is Javier Alan Garcia. I'm 21 and a student at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura. I am relatively new to Cassavetes, i bought his box set a year ago understanding who he was and what he stood for. Being a film student I either A. Spent my time writing or B. Spent my time doing everything else so needless to say i never got around to watching them. I spent today and yesterday watching his films for the first times, eating them up like spaghetti one after the other in reverse sucsesion. Ending today with Shadows, i spent the rest of my time finding articles about the films and various stories and I landed on yours and your first version of Shadows. HOLY SHIT! NO WAY!

I know you get this a lot. Could i get a copy for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY? I would be happy to reimburse you for however much it costs for a copy of it on DigiBeta.

Oh and by the way, you ARE protected under the copyright laws to distibute it in anyway shape or form. I learned all about it in business law. It's elementary copyright laws, she doesn't have the rights to it, and she doesn't have the copy of it. You do. What you need to do is copyright it under YOUR name. Therefore, it becomes property of you. For example, a musician makes music under a label, unless it's in the contract that the artist keeps all copyright to his or her songs, the label does. The artist doesn't have to give away her or his copyrights, but do many times because they don't understand how that works or it's the only way for them to get heard and distributed.

I'm sure you already know all this but if you don't now you do.

But anyway, i know what your answer will probably be, and if it is. I just hope and pray you distribute it. You have to! Even if it's exclusively just off of your website.

Thanks again for all your fine work,

Javier Alan Garcia


Subject: Sorry to hear about the hell Rowlands is putting you through. It's not fair.

Hi Ray,

Been ages since we've spoken, but after finding out what's happened with the Criterion set, I wanted to send my sympathies.

I saw the box set in the shop a while ago, and while drooling over it, I notcied that your name was nowhere to be found. I thouht it was bizarre, but I didn't know of your original involvement, so didn't think anything of it - except for noting that it was really shitty that that other guy got to do the notes, as I felt his book was feeble at best.

Anyway, I'm only now discovering the truth and backstory as I go through your site. I hadn't checked your pages in a while, and wanted to see what was new. I'm sad to see all of the misery that Rowlands is giving you, especially as you've done so much to share Cassavetes' work with others. Your "Unknown Cassavetes" series was one of the best things I've ever been to, and I hope that someday you'll be able to make that DVD series a reality.

Thanks for getting the other version of "Chinese Bookie" on there. When you screened it, I felt so lucky to actually see it that I remember everything about that night, even where I parked.

All the best,
Craig MacNeil

P.S. Forgot to mention how deeply unfair to fans of JC's works that these various items are suppressed. My general hopes in life include the potential for seeing those alternate cuts of "Husbands" he made (if they exist; the missing reel from "Husbands", and any other lost gems.

Just wanted to mention that. Also, if there is any chance of getting copies of that Opening Night restaurant interivew, or The Cavett show, I would be thrilled. Even audi only of the restaurant interview - I've described it at length to my fellow Cassavetes-freaks, and their eyes get all misty when I tell them of the wonder of it.

Ray Carney replies:

Thanks, Craig. I remember you. And of course I remember the astonishing "Unknown JC" Harvard Film Archive event. Didn't it go on for something like three or four hours. What larks! I loved doing it. Most of those things came from my personal collection. I don't think anyone else has them. Remember the tape where John's mom (Katherine) says she wished her son had not become a director??!! And remember the two other clips of John working with actors? And, yes, the Cavett hijinx were great too. What a wild man he was. And that speech he gives in the restaurant I played a video of where he practically begs for people to take him seriously. So sad and wonderful at the same time. It was such a great evening. I was glad to do it and the audience loved it. You're right--I wanted to put all of that on the Criterion disks or issue it separately, but Gena and Al had the final say. Business is business, and they can't make money off of those sorts of things. Thanks for the cheering words. I appreciate them.

RC


Subject: Shadows

Is the first version of Shadows something that I could show here in Austin, Texas informally in a non-profit format? It seems you should get some credit for all your legwork in tracking this down, and the film could be shared in an educational, not-for-profit scenario.

Ray Carney replies:

Thanks for the offer but I want to bring it out in a bigger way. JC deserves more than a hole and corner screening. He deserves a real premiere event. That's what he himself would have insisted on. If I were in this to make a fast buck, or to get my name in the papers, I'd just want to get it out and screened anywhere, but I am in this for eternity. For the long haul. For art. That means that I am patient. I am willing to wait until the world comes around. Even if it takes 100 years. (Click here to go to a place on the site that talks about the right sort of event. Or here to read about waiting for the right time and not being in a rush. Or here for another mention.)

RC

A response to RC's reply from the same writer:

That deprives, year by year, many young, eager and unexpecting, artistic and intelligent kids the influence on their lives this film you know very well definitely would have.

Ray Carney replies:

I agree. Next time Gena Rowlands is on stage at an event, tell her that.

RC

A Note from Ray Carney:

In response to questions I have been asked about the first version of Shadows and the status of Gena Rowlands's attempts to confiscate and suppress the film, I have recently posted a new section of the site entitled "Rowlands, Ruban, and the first version of Shadows: A compilation of frequently asked questions and answers." Click here to go there.


Prof. Carney,

I had read the part about the Shadows discovery, but not the timeline. (Click here to go to the timeline of events connected with Ray Carney's discovery of the first version of Shadows and the long-lost long version of Faces.) My comments about Shadows weren't intended to be negative, I was more just trying to think about what the other side of the story must be. A person who spends a good portion of his life trying to unearth a piece of film history cannot be criticized for it, and the story of how it was found deserves to be known, if only for the random method in which the film found its way to you. (Click here to go to the story of Ray Carney's discovery of the film.)

What I was speculating on was why Gena Rowlands (and perhaps it says volumes about me that I almost put "Geena Davis" for her name) seemingly hates your work or perhaps you personally. You are a forceful personality; unafraid to give your opinion (something that becomes ever more refreshing as I die a little each day in the business world, where a true opinion is something to be treated with disdain). All I could think is that maybe in some of your personal dealings with her, she's taken a dislike of you for some reason, although its intensity seems beyond all rational thought. From the outside, her actions would seem to make zero sense. I could understand if you unearthed autopsy photos, or perhaps footage of Cassavetes saying, "Gena must die!" that she might want to keep that under wraps. But I would think that at the very least she'd want to take the version you found and get it shown in the form you found it in. It's a piece of his history, not yours.

So maybe the question that I should ask you is, "Why the heck does she seem to hate you so much?" I can understand protecting her husband's legacy from unflattering portraits, but this isn't commentary on how he drank too much or how he treated the people in his life. It's a piece of his work.

What made me feel that there had to be another side to the story is the fact that most of the story you tell makes zero sense to a rational person. (Which is probably the way you feel.)

Why would a woman who would appear to have supported her husband's work for so many years suddenly want to hinder a look into his creative process? I mean we're not talking about The Day the Clown Cried here, we're talking about famous and treasured works by an important filmmaker. I could understand not wanting to talk to you if you were writing a biography, but to deny the existance of another version of one of his films seems like the actions of a fruitcake, not a supportive wife.

While I'm sure that Cassavetes DVDs aren't going to sell as many copies as Star Wars VII, Revenge of the Action Figure, I would have to think that if she makes money off of their sale (which I assume that she must) it would be worth her while to put out all the product she can with all the extras she can (including those by Ray Carney.)

Again, I wonder what is at work here. Is she a supreme bitch? Is she mad at you for reasons that aren't clear? Is she mad at John for the life he led? Is she hoping to make a living off his legacy without anyone else profiting (although I'm guessing whatever you could have made from DVDs was far less than you've invested in your research)? I didn't mean to slight you in my comments, it just makes absolutely no sense to me that one person could seemingly hate another person so much without a reason. What the hell did YOU do that made her cut you out of every single thing that she could possibly control in regard to his life?

Rob Mattheu

Ray Carney replies:

My best answers to all of your questions are on the Discovery pages and on the Chronology pages. Page after page of speculations. Many theories. Many facts. I lay it all out there. (Click here to go to the Discovery pages and click here to go to the Chronology pages.)

I give you and every reader everything I know. While she refuses to discuss it (with me or anyone else). Reporters say she forbids questions about it being asked of her.

But note: Rowlands or Ruban have not really disputed one thing I have said about their conduct. If I have lied in my account or slanted it, it would be so easy for them to destroy me by saying x, y, or z is not true. But they just remain silent.

So who do you think is the guilty party? The person who ponders the possible explanations and volunteers all the facts and publishes it all for everyone to see or the one who won't talk, who refuses to explain why they had me fired, who shuts up and won't give an explanation of their behavior? It seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Someone who has done things that won't stand public scrutiny is someone who doesn't want to talk about what they have done.

But I can't lay it all out again here and now. Over some weekend or holiday, read the Chronology and the Discovery pages on the site. The explanation is there. The facts are all there. But the explanation is complex and subtle like life. It's not about villains, but about frightened people afraid of losing control of things they want to be able to control, or afraid of having someone else (me) reveal too much or tell the whole truth about their lives or Cassavetes' life, and not the PR version they are devoted to perpetuating. It's about wanting to perpetuate a myth in the Hollywood way and wanting to stop anyone who calls it a myth. But read the Discovery pages. it's all there.

A reply from Rob Mattheu:

To quote the great philosopher, Homer Simpson, "Celebrities. Is there anything they don't know?"

So I guess I won't be seeing a final reel in which you and Gena sit in the front row of a darkened theater, gaze lovingly in each others eyes, and then turn to the screen as the camera pans up to show the original version of Shadows? Fade to black as Gena says, "Ray, I've always loved you."

Believe me, I believe your account 100%. It just boggles my mind because you're not some guy from the Enquirer trying to smear either of them, or some hack biographer interested in dishing the dirt. The story is fascinating to me because it flies in the face of what you'd think a wife and supporter of his craft would want. Heck, the very story of how you came to find Shadows should be enough for her to be appreciative.

I confess I haven't read your books on John. I've only been in your class and read your website. I find nothing on there (beyond the descriptions of how she's tried to thwart your every move) that is disrespectful to John or his legacy. You seem more interested in what the man reveals about his films and what his films reveal about the man and life in general than in how much he drank, how he treated people, or sordid details of his life. Call me cynical, but you're a great marketing tool to sell the DVDs and get people to appreciate his work. What little I know about Cassavetes suggests that a Hollywood PR spin on his life is a slight to what he was trying to do.

But, as you said, it's subtle and complex, like life. We often search for explanations where even if we had the 100% truth, it still wouldn't satisfy us.

As I said, I'm on your side on this one. I just would like to get inside Gena's head and figure out why she's so afraid of a college professor.

Finally, a film question. When I'm not watching a frothy comedy, chick flick with my wife, or overheated sci-fi film designed to sell action figures, I occasionally watch a film that all (or most of) the critics say I'm supposed to like. While my taste runs toward the directors who are typically most acclaimed, it seems as though most of the acclaimed filmmakers from my generation and the one prior create films that are not about anything I've experienced in life, but from things that THEY have experienced in other films. PT Anderson is a prime example. I thought Magnolia and Boogie Nights were garbage created by a guy who has seen too many Altman films and learned everything he needed to know about life by reading magazines, watching movies from blockbuster, and thumbing through scripts of movies he really liked. Nothing in either film struck me as original on any level. The dialogue wasn't believable. The shots were stolen from other films. And yet, they were both acclaimed as great films.

Quentin Tarantino, who is enjoyable, if only because he seems less pretentious, seems to be the same way. His movies can be watchable, but I never believe them for a second.

Just wondered if you felt that my generation has no perspective on life anymore because we're so oversaturated with mass media cultural references.

Ray Carney replies:

There are some really good films and filmmakers, but they're just not the ones everyone is talking about. Look at the last five or ten pages of my Mailbag pages and at other places on the site where I have lots of recommendations: the Duplass brothers' Puffy Chair, Andrew Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation and Funny Ha Ha, David Ball's Honey, Jay Rosenblatt's Human Remains, Sam Seder's Whose the Caboose, David Barker's Afraid of Everything, the work of Gordon Erikson, Paul Harrill, Eric Mendelsohn, Josh Apter, and too many others for me to remember their names right now. Then there are Rob Nilsson and Jon Jost and Su Friedrich and others in the older generation.There's lots of room for hope. There are many young filmmakers who are doing great things, but whose names aren't known yet. Many more than the ones I've listed. The tragedy for art and for America, which needs their wisdom, is that many of them will never get a chance to make a second or third or fourth movie because the PR system is so clogged up with the artistic bimbos and high-rollers, the movie stars and the celebrity suck-ups who hog all of the attention in the media. It is a real tragedy that they are not being helped or encouraged by anyone. America needs to see their work. They tell us who we are and where we are heading. But of course the reviewers aren't interested in that. They are interested in flashy stylistic effects and slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am narratives.In other words, the problem with the reviewers is that they are part of the problem that besets the rest of our culture. Their values are the same as the "shock and awe" values that get us into trouble in our foreign policy and the same as the "worship of glamour and power" values that pollute our universities and corporations. While the reviewers should be detecting the fraudulence of America, and celebrating films that show us what we really are and what really matters, they are actually part of the whole fraudulent system, helping to perpetuate it and to promote work that shares the same corruption as the rest ofYour Life is a Movie cover our culture.

By the way, you can skip the much hyped Miranda July of Me and You and Everyone We Know. She's Hal Hartley lite. And he's already Guy Madden lite. And he's already Mark Rappaport lite. So that's so light-weight it almost doesn't exist. She's a creation of the media. Typically bloated, over-rated nonsense.

If you are interested, I have discussions of Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Neil LaBute, and the others in a chapter in a book due out next month. The title is "Your Life is a Movie." It's edited by Don Thompson and Nicholas Rombes, and is an anthology of pieces by me and others, including some supremely smart people, smarter than I am, like Todd Gitlin (one of the great media critics of our era) and Rob Nilsson (the indie filmmaker). It has tons of insights into what's wrong with contemporary film. And lots of discussions of how American critics and reviewers are part of the problem, how they have sold their souls to Mammon and Hollywood (if there's a difference). It's being published by a small slightly obscure press, but should be out in December. Ask for it in a bookstore or check at Amazon. (Click here to read about it on Amazon.)


ray,

i took "cassavetes on cassavetes" with me to europe... read the whole thing through for the first time (had previously only skimmed chapters)... i love the way you present him... all of his bullshit rhetoric, double talk (and self contradiction) don't diminish your love and respect for him... and, as a reader, it makes me appreciate him as a "character" the way he appreciated the characters in his films... i.e, fucked up and highly lovable... great work, ray...

best,
mark

Ray Carney replies:

Subject: Food for thought....

Mark,

Thanks for the kind words about my C on C.

But just to show you how strange life can be: those parts you are alluding to--the parts I was so careful to put in that show Cassavetes wasn't a God, but a man, a man with human failings and foibles, just like his characters--are one of the main reasons that Gena Rowlands has been so horrible to me lately. She just can't stand to have the "human" side of her husband revealed. (And trust me there is a lot more to reveal that I didn't put into the book. You should see the half million word version! Or better yet, you should not see it!) Rowlands caught me a couple years ago and told me that I had called him a "liar" and that she was very disappointed with me and very unhappy with the book as result.

A lot of her treatment of me has come out of her resentment of things like that (starting way back with a remark I made in a NY Times article more than a decade ago).

The lesson I take from it is that you can be married to Cassavetes and still not appreciate the value of "truth-telling." That you can still prefer the press release version of life. Isn't it completely bizarre to think of someone so close to Cassavetes believing that? Too weird for words.

I tell you the story for a more personal reason: As a "truth-telling" filmmaker, be prepared if it happens to you too someday! That the very thing you are most proud of doing is the thing some actor or producer involved with the film most objects to and wants taken out of it.

No reply expected. Keep doing great things! Puffy Chair deserves the best!

Cheers,

Ray


Subject: Gena Rowlands at UCLA

hi ray,

this is david chien from los angeles. how are you? how was that film festival you flew out to? which one was it - any good movies to look out for? thanks for writing back a little over a month ago... i've since been able to get some work going. i do some part-time radio announcements at a local station, and i've been trying to get a position as an assistant to an art school near LAX. all of which seem to be promising.

your advice was helpful, and i can't thank you enough. you've been one of the few voices of reason - and in a way it has been redemptive for my well-being.

in a week, there's a screening of a 35mm print of Faces. and gena rowlands will be there, along with seymour cassel. i'm very tempted to ask about the Shadows situation, but i don't want to make a needless scene. besides, i fear going only because i gather that the audience will be mostly there to cater to this live appearance of gena and seymour (and curtis hansen, who's moderating) - but it won't really be about the movie. or john.

anyway, thanks for listening. please keep in touch and let me know how everything is in boston. in these crazy times with senseless political intrigue (i.e. korea, lebanon, iraq), and terrible movies about them (i.e. world trade center by oliver stone), it becomes ever more important to focus on the little things. the little things which, in fact, are the most important: friends, family, love, brotherhood, work, art, food, truth. luego,

david.

Ray Carney replies:

Subject: Telling the truth

David,

Since I have had absolutely no success on the telephone or in many pleading letters I have written attempting to persuade Gena Rowlands to allow me to screen the prints of Shadows and Faces that I discovered (and she has only sicced her lawyers on me in an attempt to confiscate the film in response), I think the best way to proceed is to show her that other people care about this issue too (and it is not just me). Therefore it is critical that people ask Rowlands or Al Ruban or Seymour Cassel or any of the other figures connected with Cassavetes' work about this situation at public events they attend. That's the way to make her realize it matters. If enough people ask about it, it is sure to make a difference. I'm convinced that it would help VERY MUCH if you and everyone else who cares about Cassavetes' work raised a few questions about my Shadows and Faces finds and why Rowlands will not allow them to be seen. Or a question or two about the stewardship of his work after his death. Appropriate questions:

1. To Gena Rowlands: Three years ago, after almost twenty years of searching, Boston University professor Ray Carney re-discovered the legendary lost first version of Shadows. Why won't you let him show it at film festivals or in movie theaters?

2. To Gena Rowlands: Just a short time before that, Professor Carney found an alternate print of Faces. Why won't you let it be screened? Why did you tell him that he was forbidden to announce the discovery and write about it?

3. To Gena Rowlands: Why did you have Professor Carney fired from the Criterion Cassavetes DVD box set project after he had put six months of work into it and done his voice-over commentary, which you prevented from being included in the set? (By the way, I really would like to know her answer to this question, since when she had me fired, she gave no reason and has refused to respond to subsequent requests that she explain why she did it.)

A related question in terms of Ray Carney's absence from film events. Why have you banned Prof. Carney from being invited to Cassavetes events? Why is he not at this event? He has said he is willing to go anywhere to speak about Cassavetes' work or show the films he has discovered. Why have you told programmers not to invite him? Why are you trying to censor and control him? What are you afraid of?

4. To Seymour Cassel: Why do you say on the British DVD of Shadows that there was no first version when Prof. Carney has found it? Don't you have the obligation to know what you are talking about when you offer commentary on a DVD, specifically when you attack Professor Carney's work and discovery, and get the facts all wrong?

5. If time allowed, after the above questions: Gena Rowlands should be asked about why she told UCLA that she didn't like the Leola Harlow scene in Husbands and that they should shorten and cut out some of it (which they did when they restored the print). And why has Rowlands allowed other cuts and defacements of her husband's film by others? Both film and video releases of more than one of her husband's films have been shortened or re-edited. Scenes are missing. Shots are changed. (Click here to hear the audio of twelve minutes that were cut at the end of the singing scene and the beginning of the men's room scene in Husbands.)

Note that it isn't an adequate answer for her to plead ignorance or to say that she didn't know that these cuts or changes were being made to Cassavetes' films. Not to know about these things, not to carefully supervise or speak out against cuts and changes, after they are pointed out (as I have pointed them out for years) is to collaborate in them. To keep silent in the face of artistic mutilation. To put money ahead of artistic integrity.

In terms of all five questions: don't let Rowlands, Cassel, or a guy named Ruban who is sometimes at these events get off with evasions or lies or misrepresentations in their responses. Read the relevant pages on my site, especially the page that is in the "legal issues" section. There IS a "first version" of Shadows. Cassavetes talked about it and said he had no objections to having it screened. It is a complete, perfectly edited, final print completely different from the second version. And Rowlands and Cassel can view it anytime they come to Boston at a screening I have offered to arrange. (But of course I can't send the only print in the world to them in Los Angeles. First because Rowlands has said she has no intention of showing it and might well destroy it. And second because of its fragility. For a brief taste of the film, click here to view three video clips.)

Bring friends and ask them to ask the same question or to follow up on yours, if Rowands or Cassel tries to lie about the film or how she has prohibited its screenings and come after me with lawyers to stop them.

Any audience member who cares about these films and ever seeing these prints, owes it to him or herself to ask both of them these questions. This is not about me or about you. It is more important than either of us. It is about the fate of John Cassavetes' work and the care (or lack of care) to present and preserve it. That is what matters. Not my ego or yours. Not Gena Rowlands's feelings or mood. It's about caring about the films and trying to make sure that they are preserved for another generation to see, preserved in their true, original state, I mean. Not edited or changed or hacked up or suppressed.

If audience members say (as you suggest) that the event is just a "celebrity love fest," then they are part of making it that. If no one ever questions the outrageous positions Rowlands and Cassel have taken on these films, they will have no incentive to change their positions, nothing will change, and the films will never be seen. If you treat this as a "love fest" and avoid asking tough questions, you'll have collaborated in making it a "love fest," just as much as the reporters who don't ask George Bush hard questions about the invasion of Iraq or the suck- up journalists who don't ask people like Curtis Hanson why they make such junky exploitative movies.

Each filmgoer who believes that Cassavetes' work should not be suppressed or censored must stand up to her attitude. Not to ask the question--over and over again if necessary, at every event she attends--is the irresponsible thing to do. To say that it will "spoil" the love fest is just being afraid to "speak the truth" to the rich and famous. It's just to play the Charlie Rose, UCLA, film festival suck-up game.

For what it's worth. Those are the principles I've based my life on.

RC

PS. FYI: Seymour Cassel is a complete "bullshit artist" and will say more or less anything that he thinks will please a crowd--anything!--so don't expect much from him. But it is still worth asking him the questions, since he bashes my work on the British DVD and should be held accountable for his words and actions.


Subject: The way Gena treats you and your work: the first version of Shadows and more.....

Dear RC:

It's almost beyond belief that Gena Rowlands would not be grateful for all you have done to bring her husband's work to tens of thousands of viewers it would not have had without you. That she would resist or legally attempt to suppress your commentary on the Criterion disks or your discoveries about his life and work, and that she would attempt to confiscate the first version of Shadows (rather than going down on her knees to thank you for the effort you had put in to locate the print). What a great loss - for you and for the world. She must be really vindictive toward John about something in their marriage to be so vicious about keeping your work (and his) from reaching the public eye. She's effectively killing him, since she obviously must know that he sat down and talked to you about his life and work, and gave you information that led you to other discoveries, voluntarily, precisely so you could write about him and them. Very strange. Very weird. If she had loved him, you'd think she'd want his memory to be honored. Which is by telling the truth. And by celebrating your efforts to preserve his manuscripts, his words, the different versions of his work. There is no way I can think of that she could profit by the stance she is taking. I just don't get it.

Margaret, your "distance learning" student in St. Louis

RC replies:

You'll get no argument from me. I agree about how weird she is acting. I've given a lot of thought to it. Obviously. And all I can come up with as an explanation for the persecution she is putting me through (and read Dickens' Bleak House if you don't know what I mean by persecution) is that she just can't understand the measure of my selflessness and devotion to the memory of her husband and his work. All I can imagine is that she thinks I'm "in it for the money." Or that I'm doing everything I do to "make a buck off his name." After long, soul-searching thought, I'm convinced that's what she must think. That that's all she understands. It's the only explanation for the weirdness. After all, that's the only reason someone in LA or Hollywood would write a book about a filmmaker. That's the only reason someone in Hollywood or Los Angeles would set up a web site to promote a filmmaker. For money. For profit. For fame.

She has no idea that I lose ten or twenty or thirty thousand dollars every time I take on a project about her husband. That I lose that much money every year I continue to maintain this site. And that I do it again and again. Voluntarily. That I, in fact, CHOOSE to do it. In other words, that I am NOT in it for the money. That I am in it for ENTIRELY other reasons.

The thing I'm sure she just can't get her brain around is that I'm a scholar, that I'm in love with knowledge and art and communicating these things to others. I'm sure she has never met a REAL scholar--someone who is not in it for money or fame or glory or press coverage. She just can't understand that I am doing everything I do for other reasons. I don't think she waives her acting fees or pays thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to act when she believes in the value of a film project, so she probably can't even imagine doing something for free--or for a financial loss--this way. For love of the subject. To discover. To learn. To communicate the discoveries and learning to other people.

Of course, the irony is that this is the reason her husband made movies; but her treatment of me, her legal battles with me, show that she never understood him or his way of thinking either. So yes, you'll get no argument from me: Rowlands's behavior is, in my value system, very strange, very weird. It's actually insane from my perspective. (But so much of the world is insane in this way that her addition to it hardly matters.) Yes, it is demoralizing, it is crushing to have to deal with someone who has that way of thinking, that view of life. But I won't change. I can't change. All I can do and be is what I have done and what I still am.

But, boy, it is an education for me in how different Rowlands is from the roles she played in her husband's work, how different she is from her public image. But as I always say: Live and learn.

Thanks for your sympathetic comments and kind words.

--R.C.


The pages in this section of Ray Carney's www.Cassavetes.com site contain letters written to Prof. Carney from artists about the Shadows, Faces, Criterion, and Kiselyak situations. The letters written to Prof. Carney are in black; his responses and comments are in blue. The letters on this page are only a small sample of the ones he has received pertaining to these issues. Note that another large section of the site, "The Mailbag," contains many more letters about other matters. To go to "The Mailbag" click here.

To learn more about the events these letters are commenting on, consult the links in the top menu of any of the pages in this section, which tell the story of Carney's discoveries of a new print of John Cassavetes' Faces, his discovery of a print of the long-lost first version of Shadows, his work on the Criterion DVD box set of Cassavetes' films, and his work as the scholarly advisor on a documentary film about Cassavetes.

To read specifically about Gena Rowlands's response to Prof. Carney's discovery of the new Faces print, click here. To read specifically about Rowlands's response to Prof. Carney's discovery of the first version of Shadows, click here.

To read a chronological listing of events between 1979 and the present connected with Ray Carney's search for, discovery of, and presentation of new material by or about John Cassavetes, and the attempts of Gena Rowlands's and Al Ruban's to deny, suppress, or confiscate Prof. Carney's finds, click here.

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Text Copyright 2005 by Ray Carney. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without written permission of the author.