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Faces (The John Cassavetes Collection) (DVD & Blu-ray) [1968]

3 customer reviews

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Faces (The John Cassavetes Collection) (DVD & Blu-ray) [1968] + A Woman Under the Influence (The John Cassavetes Collection) (DVD & Blu-ray) [1974] + Shadows (The John Cassavetes Collection) (DVD & Blu-ray) [1959]
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Product details

  • Actors: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Lynn Carlin
  • Directors: John Cassavetes
  • Format: CD+DVD, Dolby, PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 23 April 2012
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007A0FWW4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,287 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The John Cassavetes Collection

FACES (DVD and Blu-ray)
A film by John Cassavates

Chairman of the Board Richard (John Marley) and his wife Maria (Lynn Carlin) seek solace from their disintegrating marriage in the arms of other lovers in John Cassavetes' astonishingly powerful 1968 feature, Faces. Shooting in seering, high-contrast black and white 16mm, Cassavetes dissects the suffocating world of middle-class Los Angeles where hollow laughter and drunken frivolities mask loneliness and social alienation.

Nominated for three Oscars® - an unheard-of achievement for an independent film at the time - Faces employs a freewheeling, realistic approach, and showcases some of the finest performances ever seen in American cinema

Special Features

  • Presented in Both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Alternative opening sequence (DVD only, 21 mins)
  • Alternative opening sequence audio commentary (DVD only, 21 mins): Peter Bogdanovich and Al Ruban discuss an earlier cut of Faces
  • Seymour Cassel interviewed by Tom Charity (DVD only, 47 mins)
  • Illustrated booklet featuring interviews and new essays from Tom Charity and Al Ruban

US | 1968 | Black & white | English language with optional hard-of hearing subtitles | 130 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.66:1

Disc1: BD25 | 1080p | 24fps | PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit) Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

Region 2 PAL DVD
Region B Blu-ray

From Amazon.co.uk

A sensation when it was released in 1968, this John Cassavetes film earned Oscar nominations for actors Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin. Improvised and shot in an edgy, hand-held fashion, the film examines the disintegration of the marriage of a couple in the mid-life doldrums. Each seeks solace elsewhere: husband John Marley with prostitute Gena Rowlands, wife Carlin with a free spirit played by Cassel. But neither finds anything approaching the fulfilment they feel is missing from the marriage. Indeed, in Cassavetes' probe of raw emotions, these people discover that, just maybe, the problem lies not with their spouse but with themselves. You need to be a fan of Cassavetes's loose, actor-friendly style to appreciate this intriguing but sometimes rambling drama. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jori Pölkki on 16 Mar. 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Great, great acting and directing. Maybe the best Cassavetes I've seen and one of the best movies in 20th century.
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By Dom Vlad Malic on 24 Sept. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
brilliant.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful By F. V. L. Buliciri on 24 Jun. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I adore John Cassavetes. However, Faces is not one of my favourite Cassavetes films. In this film John Marley and Lynn Carlin play a couple who are going through a bad patch in their marriage and who seek excitement in the arms of others, Marley with prostitute Gena Rowlands and Carlin with groovy beatnik Seymour Cassel. The film's not bad in places as it shows how both parties fail to even find fulfillment in their affairs. Perhaps therefore the problem lies with themselves? The main problem with this film is that it goes on for far too long and you lose interest after a while as to whether Marley and Carlin will get back together. Anyway watch it and see what you think! Faces lacks the brilliance of other Cassavetes films!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Acceptable DVD of a classic film. 20 Oct. 1999
By Martin Doudoroff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Faces" carries the dubious distinction of being considered the first "breakthrough" independent American feature.
"Faces" is a John Cassavetes film. It is also categorically one of the two or three greatest masterpieces of American cinema. (This is neither just a personal opinion, nor an exaggeration. This film is essential.) What makes this film so special will be lost on many domestic viewers, unfortunately, who simply aren't prepared for the experience. Nearly everything about the film is subversive of conventional Hollywood filmmaking techniques, and this is frustrating for people who aren't ready for it. For example, the film never "tells" you anything about the characters: you have to patiently observe them throughout the film, just as if they were real other people in the room. Furthermore, in typical Cassavetes' style, the characters' behavior is extreme, which can be unsettling. Finally, the film is pretty grim. However, if you're ready for a new experience, and can approach the viewing experience with an open and tolerant mind, this film will BLOW YOU AWAY.
The DVD is nothing special; I'm just grateful to have the film. The transfer isn't particularly sharp, and was made off an inglorious print. Framing -- full frame -- seems fine; if I remember correctly, the original (16mm) is not widescreen, so nothing should be lost. (The odd cropping that appears throughout the film is intentional.) Highest recommendation.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
All the Lonely People 20 Nov. 2002
By Arch Llewellyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I've never seen a movie quite like this in my life! It's technically raw, the sound's bad and half the time I had no idea what was going on, but it builds to a brilliant portrait of four lonely lives. The bad jokes and laughter that eat up so much film time connect loose, rambunctious scenes that defy strict narrative logic--after a while it feels like you're watching this movie from the inside, right in the thick of the cigarettes and booze. As usual, Cassavetes shoots the '60s from unexpected angles: his focus is on the middle-aged middle managers and their fading suburban wives, stuck on the wrong side of the Sexual Revolution but still desperate to feel young and fulfilled. The movie doesn't make fun of them but brings you into their world, where disappointment, age and the pressures of conformity are finally getting the best of their vitality. Imagine "The Graduate" told from Mrs. Robinson's point of view. The powerful last scene ends in silence after a suicide attempt--no laughs, no routines. The death of a marriage or a new beginning? Cassavetes rarely matched this level of intensity. "Faces" is one of his very best.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Criterion Collection Delivers Tribute to an Independent Classic 10 Jun. 2010
By M. Warren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
John Cassavetes is widely regarded as the father of the Independent film, who believed that risking anything was the only way to go, who bluntly told Scorsese Boxcar Bertha "sucked" (Scorsese then turned and created Mean Streets), and treated his crew like family who he payed very little (or at all). Whether or not Cassavetes is THE father of the Independent film is up to the film historians to decide. Besides, John Cassavetes was not interested in making films to make history or be the strict anti-trend to the big budget nature of Hollywood. John Cassavetes was interested in making films that give us truths about our lives, and he did so greatly, in a very different and low budget kind of nature that made his work seem even more honest. John Cassavetes Face's is, among the rest of his work, the most well known of his films to enter the public domain, and for many reasons is probably the best Cassavetes work to start with, next to A Women Under the Influence (a very devastating work).

Shot in Cassavetes' trademark documentary style filmmaking, the no BS approach to filming makes Faces even more realistic to watch. It is shot in high contrast black and white, and it look as low budget and unpolished as any other very low budget film. Don't be too surprised though, Faces is no banal third rate student film work. Cassavetes Oscar-nominated script effortlessly delves into the lives of these empty people and what makes them act the way they are. It is not a sloppy film either, as Cassavetes's camera work is actually quite inventive, and feels done right without making a big hoopla over how it is being used.

Much of Faces will not be explained in this review, and I think part of this is that this film raises tough questions about our lives, many of them that are arguably subjective out of the objective. Rest assured if you are looking for a film that will raise questions about the boring lives that some of us have the potential to lead, then watch this film. For even more insight into the film, I also recommend Cassavetes on Cassavetes, which is written by the leading scholar on Cassavetes, Ray Carney, who applies his own "Pragmatic Anesthetic" to the film.

Although previously sold in a bare bones DVD with no special features, the good folks at Criterion Collection will make sure that Cassavetes' works will be given the treatment they deserve. Although sometimes Criterion Collection doesn't quite stock up on special features, this two disc set on Faces packs quite a lot of interesting features along with the film (which is a substantial length at over two hours). You are getting your money's worth with this set, which includes insightful making into the film, an alternative opening, as well as an insightful documentary about the man himself. Since this is a great starting point, the inclusion of a introduction to Cassavetes himself is a very great addition. This is the DVD to start with if you are looking into Cassavetes. Thanks Criterion Collection!

A gusty and insightful look into the emptiness of the married middle age suburban demographic, Faces gets my high recommendation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Cassavetes film is brutally honest and realistic 6 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The state of independent film today, it is safe to say, would be radically different if it weren't for the pioneering art of John Cassavetes. His unapologetically realist style, coupled with intimate cooperation with his actors and his understanding of the emotional power of improvisation, has earned him the oft-applied title: Father of Independent Film. In Faces, the most mainstream-appreciated of his work, John Marley and Lynn Carlin are a middle-aged couple of swingers, trying to fill the gaps in their emotional relationship by having spontaneous trysts with socially peripheral characters--Marley with Gena Rowlands (a prostitute) and Carlin with Seymour Cassel (a beatnik). However, they find that they cannot be as casual as they wish, and end up tangled in all new romantic involvements with their lovers, which only serves to augment the emptiness they feel in their marriage. Cassavetes' ultra-realist camera style, alternatingly far-off/detached and then extremely close to the actors' faces (hence the title) reflects the characters' emotional states and yet, at the same time, is objectively distant--a style that has been aped recently in many indie features. John Cassavetes' son Nicholas has begun making his own movies (Unhook The Stars and She's So Lovely--written by his late father) and seems to be on the road to his own well-deserved success.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 11 Sept. 2008
By Cosmoetica - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Faces, by John Cassavetes, is a 1968 film generally credited as being the first popular independent film in America to make an impact in the public consciousness. But, it is more than that. It is a film that totally subverted the dominant themes and forms of Hollywood cinema, at the time, showed that `adult' films, truly adult, not a euphemism for pornography, could have mass appeal, and paved the way for the great auteur decade of American filmmaking that was the 1970s. That things have regressed severely, since then, only shows how much a young Cassavetes is needed these days.
But, it was totally different from the European auteur films of the 1960s, in that it eschewed symbolism, framing, and Post-Modern techniques of storytelling. Faces is a raw film that is laced with searing, realistic dialogue, and gives the impression that the viewer is truly eavesdropping on the private lives of people who could be them, for there are no Hollywood goddesses nor buff Adonises to be found in any scenes. And, unlike a master like Ingmar Bergman, who also focused on the inner emotional and psychological lives of individuals, Cassavetes' characters are not philosophizing nor posing in neatly framed boxes. This is not so much a criticism of the European poetic approach to film, merely to state that Cassavetes' style was far more revolutionary, and felt like actual cinema verité. In that sense, while one can argue ceaselessly over the relative excellence of certain directors, it is impossible to deny Cassavetes' importance in the pantheon of film's first century.
Nor can one deny Faces' importance, at least as a landmark, if not having lasting influence in Hollywood's Lowest Common Denominator output. The film follows the demise of the fourteen year marriage of Richard and Maria Forst (John Marley and Lynn Carlin), two LA suburban children of the post-World War Two boom, at the height of American affluence, just before Vietnam, Watergate, and the 1970s allowed the Conservative movement of the 1980s send standards of living into a spiral that has yet to stem. Why are they breaking up? We are never directly told. He's the head of a large company, and she a bored housewife, and while they still have things in common, and enjoy each other- as shown in a terrific scene of the couple in bed, laughing their heads off over lame jokes Richard tells, their marriage has just died. Neither could probably pinpoint where, much less why. But, the fact that they are still chuckling over the most inane jokes, just to please one another, says it all about most relationships- that they almost all end up as zombies. That's what makes this film so real, potent, and discomfiting. Contrast this to the Hollywood paradigm of the mid-1960s, Doris Day comedies, when the film was first started, and the difference is stark....But, the real stars of this film are the writing and acting. Cassavetes reaches Chekhovian heights of drama, admixed with Tennessee Williams' poetic realism, in his Oscar nominated Best Original Screenplay. It is truly among the greatest screenplays ever written, even if, as rumored, there was much improvisation in the dialogue. Here, for one of the few times on screen or stage, one gets to see the actor as creator, not merely collaborator. Lynn Carlin, in her first film role, is authentic as the clueless abandoned wife, and got an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Seymour Cassel, as he lover, is also fantastic, as a gigolo with a soft side, and also got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Gena Rowlands, as the prostitute, is neither victim nor saint, just a real person struggling with real problems, and gives her usual great performance, as one of the great actresses of all time in film. But, this film is dominated, from start to finish, by the towering performance of John Marley. How many of us have worked for a son of a bitch like him? How many women know a bastard like him? How many men reading this are a Richard Forst? The supporting actors- Fred Draper as Richard's drunken pal Freddie, Val Avery as the drunken Jim McCarthy, Dorothy Gulliver as Florence, the old lady Chet deigns to kiss, when she drunkenly pleads for affection- are uniformly terrific, as well.
The title of the film is based upon the notion that we all act in ways that are mere role playing for others, mere faces, and this has never been more true than in this film. A more apt title, though, might have been Personae, but since Bergman's singular Persona had recently been released, to great acclaim, this title suffices. No scene better and more aptly depicts why it suffices than in the terrific, nearly twenty minute opening scene, after the title sequence, which hints at the fact that, as Bergman was doing in that era, this film may all be a film some of the characters are watching, as a presentation to Forst as `the Dolce Vita of the commercial field.' That this meta-narrative aspect has not been commented on by many critics I find curious, but understandable, since no more than two or three minutes into the nearly twenty minutes that follow, we are given a bravura performance of drunkenness never before equaled, for its realism, onscreen. The strengths of this film are so many and so potent that things that in other films that would be weaknesses, such as fashions and dated slang, become strengths for this film has not dated. Its characters are as fresh as they were four decades ago, even if the film, itself, serves as a time capsule of the 1960s, yet one that is timeless.
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