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by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Sep 13, 2018

"Gloria" is so many wonderful things all wrapped up in one. It's an excitingly paced on-the-run-from-the-mob movie, a knee-slapping comedy, a hard-hitting drama, and a heartwarming yarn. This 1980 John Cassavetes film is arguably the director's most mainstream and straightforward work, but it still sizzles with the kinetic, character-driven energy that fueled his filmography right from the get-go, dating back to the freeform cinematic jazz exercises and performative improvisation of his debut 1959 film, "Shadows."

On the contrary, "Gloria" is strongly scripted - but, my, what a script it is (penned by Cassavetes himself) - and powerfully acted, the centerpiece players being the titular Gloria (a magnificent Gena Rowlands) and a young boy named Phil (John Adames, in an adorable, yet heartbreaking, performance that is emotionally wise beyond the actor's years).

Phil is on the run with Gloria after his family is marked and subsequently slaughtered by a group of gangsters seeking the patriarch's money book. Phil is given the book before he departs, leaving the mob on his tail and Gloria's. The twist? Gloria's with the mob, but the damn kid manages to capture this grizzled tough gal's heart.

A story like this is destined for cheesiness and schmaltz, but Cassavetes handles the material with such grace and confidence that it feels renewed despite the clich├ęs. It's truly a fantastic film.

New to Twilight Time Movie on a limited edition release of only 3,000 units, this stunning high-definition release of "Gloria" includes the film's original theatrical trailers and an isolated music track featuring Bill Conti's remarkable, jazz-driven score.



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