Opening Night
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John Cassavetes' Opening Night stars Gena Rowlands (Mrs. Cassavetes) as end-of-tether Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon. She is about to open in a play written by her old friend Sarah Goode (Joan Blondell), but a series of pre-show setbacks and disasters threaten to destroy not only the production but Myrtle's sanity. The actress is especially rattled when one of her staunchest fans dies in an accident. In the face of bleak reality, just how important is the old "show must go on" ethic? Supporting Gena Rowlands are such veterans of the New York-Hollywood shuttle as Ben Gazzara,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Gena Rowlands turns in another virtuoso performance as the troubled actress. Cassavetes' highly personal work will please his coterie of enthusiasts, but for general audiences it will be viewed as shrill, puzzling, depressing and overlong."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"At once a lament to the ravages of age and an examination of those tiny foibles which separate reality from dramatic artifice, it's a baffling and intricate film which, although light on conventional pleasures, still manages to provoke and beguile."
‑ David Jenkins, Time Out
"The unpredictability of Rowlands' character brings one surprise after another to the narrative as the other characters scramble to accommodate or cajole her, and the surprises are often as funny as they are intensely dramatic."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"the film is almost suffocatingly long, even though its ideas about actors, acting and real life are among Cassavetes's most intriguing."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Woody Allen said that he could watch a Bergman movie and feel himself gripped as if by a thriller; that's how I felt watching this restored version of John Cassavetes's 1977 picture Opening Night"
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian [UK]
"John Cassavetes was unique in his visions and his films."
‑ Jeff Menell, Hollywood Reporter
"The scenes in which Myrtle consults first one and then another spiritualist are typical of Cassavetes's genius in filming madness."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"As per usual it features a superb cast, including the ever-present Gena Rowlands, who successfully improvise their way the film."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"As you might expect, coming from indie godfather John Cassavetes, 1977's Opening Night is something else, a weird, raw, ragged portrait of an actress on the verge of a"
‑ , Total Film
"The camerawork is instinctively fluid, the performances savage - this is one of the best films about theatre ever made."
‑ , Times [UK]
"Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Intriguing but enigmatic backstage theater melodrama with shades of All About Eve."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"As densely layered and difficult as anything else Cassavetes ever directed, as dense as any American film from the 1970s."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"The film of the week is 30 years old and hasn't aged a day. It's John Cassavetes's Opening Night, a truly mesmerising study of anxiety and identity crisis in theatreland."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"Opening Night is a truly grand unveiling of our innermost fears."
‑ Stella Papamichael, BBC
More reviews for Opening Night on Rotten Tomatoes