Gloria (1981)

PG | 127 mins | Drama | 1 October 1981

Director:

John Cassavetes

Writer:

John Cassavetes

Producer:

Sam Shaw

Cinematographer:

Fred Schuler

Production Designer:

Rene d`Auriac

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
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HISTORY

       A 21 Mar 1980 Var news item announced that the title of the film One Summer Night had been changed to Gloria .
       According to production notes at the AMPAS library, the film marked the sixth time actress Gena Rowlands had collaborated with her director/husband John Cassavetes.
A 30 Jun 1980 New York film review reported that Gloria was the first film in seventeen years that Cassavetes had made with a movie studio. Production notes stated that the filmmaker, along with eight talent scouts, spent five weeks searching for a boy, “ranging from age five to seven,” to play the part of 7-year-old Phil Dawn. After contacting talent agencies, visiting local playgrounds, the streets, Saturday club groups, schools, and after-hours programs, production staff narrowed their search to 400 candidates. Within five hours during an open call, Cassavetes interviewed more than “300 young boys” until John Adames was picked for the role and made his film debut.
       A 23 Jul 1980 HR news item reported that principal photography for the film began on 23 Jul in NYC.
       Production notes stated that the film was shot on location mostly in The Bronx, NY, on the Grand Concourse in the former Concourse Plaza Hotel on 161st Street, and NYC, in an apartment building on 800 Riverside Drive. At the hotel location, Cassavetes chose two suites on opposite ends of the fourth floor to use as "apartments for the Dawns and Gloria Swenson." At the time of filming, the hotel had been abandoned for four years. All of the decay, dirt, peeling walls, cracking plaster, and graffiti existed and ... More Less

       A 21 Mar 1980 Var news item announced that the title of the film One Summer Night had been changed to Gloria .
       According to production notes at the AMPAS library, the film marked the sixth time actress Gena Rowlands had collaborated with her director/husband John Cassavetes.
A 30 Jun 1980 New York film review reported that Gloria was the first film in seventeen years that Cassavetes had made with a movie studio. Production notes stated that the filmmaker, along with eight talent scouts, spent five weeks searching for a boy, “ranging from age five to seven,” to play the part of 7-year-old Phil Dawn. After contacting talent agencies, visiting local playgrounds, the streets, Saturday club groups, schools, and after-hours programs, production staff narrowed their search to 400 candidates. Within five hours during an open call, Cassavetes interviewed more than “300 young boys” until John Adames was picked for the role and made his film debut.
       A 23 Jul 1980 HR news item reported that principal photography for the film began on 23 Jul in NYC.
       Production notes stated that the film was shot on location mostly in The Bronx, NY, on the Grand Concourse in the former Concourse Plaza Hotel on 161st Street, and NYC, in an apartment building on 800 Riverside Drive. At the hotel location, Cassavetes chose two suites on opposite ends of the fourth floor to use as "apartments for the Dawns and Gloria Swenson." At the time of filming, the hotel had been abandoned for four years. All of the decay, dirt, peeling walls, cracking plaster, and graffiti existed and did not have to be created by the crew.
       Cassavetes chose three separate apartments located at 800 Riverside Drive to film Gloria’s sister’s place, a hotel room in Queens where Gloria and Phil take refuge, and Tony Tanzini’s offices. When dressing the sets, Cassavetes claimed he instructed the crew “in bad taste” until they understood the ambiance he wanted to capture on film.
       Additional locations Cassavetes used for filming included Times Square, and 86th and 104th Streets in NYC; Corona and Flushing, Queens; and Pittsburgh, PA. According to a 17 Oct 1980 HR news article, additional filming took place at 3 a.m. at the 42nd Street subway station with “several hundred extras, heat, humidity…” and no air conditioning.
       Production notes stated Cassavetes used a series of watercolors by the distinguished African American artist Romare Bearden as a backdrop for the film’s title sequence.
       A 9 Oct 1980 Columbia Pictures press release announced the film shared the “Golden Lion award for Best Picture” at the Venice Film Festival with Louis Malle’s Atlantic City (1981, see entry). Additionally, the Italian Network Commentators bestowed honors on several actors from the film: Gena Rowlands was named “Best Actress,” Julie Carmen was named “Best Supporting Actress,” and Basilio Franchina was named “Best Supporting Actor.”
       Most reviews to that time praised Cassavetes’ use of cinema-verité, the love story between the gangsters’ ex-girlfriend and the orphaned Puerto Rican boy and the show of grit and strength of “Gloria," Rowlands’ character. Some critics, such as Vincent Canby in the 10 Oct 1980 NYT opined that Adames’ performance paled next to Rowlands, while others, such as Mosk. in the 10 Sep 1980 Var were charmed by it.
       Gena Rowlands was nominated for an Academy Award in the category “Actress in a Leading Role.” The actress was also nominated for a Golden Globe in the category, “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.”

      The following acknowledgment appears in the end credits: “The Producer wishes to thank the New York City Mayor’s office for Motion Picture Production and the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1980
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1980
p. 37.
New York
30 Jun 1980
p.55.
New York Times
1 Oct 1980
p. 19.
Variety
21 Mar 1980.
---
Variety
10 Sep 1980
p. 30.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A John Cassavetes Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2nd asst cam
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
Still photog
Aerial photog
Processing
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Chargeman scenic
Prop master
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Rowlands clothes by
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus score mixer
Saxophone
Guitar
SOUND
Sd eff, Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
Sd eff, Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Paintings
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod office coord
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Asst to John Cassavetes
Field man
DGA trainee
Transportation capt
Dial coach
Auditor
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
One Summer Night
Release Date:
1 October 1981
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 October 1980 at Cinema I in Spanish Harlem
Los Angeles opening: 24 October 1980 at Cinerama Dome
Production Date:
begin 23 July 1980 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 October 1980
Copyright Number:
PA87532
Physical Properties:
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by MGM
Duration(in mins):
127
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26049
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Jeri Dawn drags her grocery cart into her Bronx, New York, apartment, and greets her children, while Jack, her husband, says there’s no time for dinner. Downstairs, three gangsters converge in the apartment building lobby. Jeri senses something is about to happen and tells her children and her mother to pack because they must leave immediately. When the doorbell rings, Jack peers through the keyhole and sees Jeri’s girlfriend, Gloria Swenson, who wants to borrow some coffee. Once Gloria is inside, Jeri explains to Gloria that Jack, an accountant for the Mafia, embezzled money and is an informant for the FBI. Now, the Mafia is after their family. Jeri asks Gloria to watch her children while the rest of the family hides. Jack gives Phil, his son, a ledger to safeguard and tells him it is the key to his future. The boy reluctantly hides in Gloria’s apartment. Phil uses Gloria’s phone to speak to his family to find out if they are still OK. When Gloria gets on the phone, Jack gives her some instructions. Meanwhile, gangsters descend on the Dawn apartment and gunshots reverberate in the hallway. When Gloria realizes Phil’s family has been killed, she packs a suitcase, and grabs Phil. Later, Phil picks up a newspaper and sees his picture on the front page with murder splashed across the headline. Once Gloria hears about the Dawn family murders on TV, she grabs her suitcase, but Phil doesn’t want to go with her. While they sit on the staircase, gangsters arrive looking for Gloria. The building is surrounded, but Gloria and Phil sneak out a side entrance. Gloria tells Phil she’s ... +


Jeri Dawn drags her grocery cart into her Bronx, New York, apartment, and greets her children, while Jack, her husband, says there’s no time for dinner. Downstairs, three gangsters converge in the apartment building lobby. Jeri senses something is about to happen and tells her children and her mother to pack because they must leave immediately. When the doorbell rings, Jack peers through the keyhole and sees Jeri’s girlfriend, Gloria Swenson, who wants to borrow some coffee. Once Gloria is inside, Jeri explains to Gloria that Jack, an accountant for the Mafia, embezzled money and is an informant for the FBI. Now, the Mafia is after their family. Jeri asks Gloria to watch her children while the rest of the family hides. Jack gives Phil, his son, a ledger to safeguard and tells him it is the key to his future. The boy reluctantly hides in Gloria’s apartment. Phil uses Gloria’s phone to speak to his family to find out if they are still OK. When Gloria gets on the phone, Jack gives her some instructions. Meanwhile, gangsters descend on the Dawn apartment and gunshots reverberate in the hallway. When Gloria realizes Phil’s family has been killed, she packs a suitcase, and grabs Phil. Later, Phil picks up a newspaper and sees his picture on the front page with murder splashed across the headline. Once Gloria hears about the Dawn family murders on TV, she grabs her suitcase, but Phil doesn’t want to go with her. While they sit on the staircase, gangsters arrive looking for Gloria. The building is surrounded, but Gloria and Phil sneak out a side entrance. Gloria tells Phil she’s been in jail, knows the gangsters, and urges Phil to run away, but he clings to her. After a few minutes, a car full of thugs finds them. Frank, the head gangster, tells Gloria to get lost because it’s just the boy and the ledger they want. Gloria tells them Phil doesn’t know anything and can’t speak English. She pulls out a gun and shoots the men in the car. As they drive off, their car crashes. While Gloria frantically hails a cab, Phil apologizes to her for causing trouble. When the cab stops, Gloria tells Phil to wait on the street while she goes to her bank to withdraw all her money. On a bus, a gangster tells Gloria that she is interfering with business and that she is in over her head. Gloria grabs Phil and they take off, finding refuge in a Queens, New York, flophouse. Gloria wants Phil to burn his father’s ledger, but he refuses. She says she’s going to take him to Pittsburgh, but first they visit a cemetery. Gloria instructs Phil to pick a random headstone and pretend to say goodbye to his family. Later, Phil says he wants to go home and be with his friends, but Gloria tells Phil she is the only home he has now. In a coffee shop, Gloria asks Phil for the ledger, then, walks to a table filled with gangsters to make a deal, using the ledger as a bargaining chip. Gloria gets angry when the gangsters tell her they don’t have the authority to make a deal. She pulls out her gun and forces them to deposit all their money in her purse. Then the gangsters leave quietly through the front door, while Phil and Gloria escape through the back, and hide in another apartment. The next day, when Gloria tells Phil she thinks he would be better off in a boarding school, Phil says it is time for him to find some new friends and a new family and part ways. Gloria is skeptical, but walks into a nearby bar without Phil. Inside, she cannot relax and hurries out looking for him. Riding in a cab, Gloria spots Phil and a friend on a stoop, but when she calls out to them, the boys run away. Two gangsters grab the boys. Gloria disarms them before they can kidnap Phil, then she and Phil escape to a subway station before the gangsters catch up. When Gloria changes from a local to an express train, the crowd traps Phil before he can follow her. Through the door, Gloria tells him to get off at 42nd Street. When Gloria gets on the next train, two thugs surround her. They punch Gloria and knock her to the floor, but she rises with her gun in hand. She escapes, meets up with Phil and takes him to a hotel in New Jersey, but her nerves are frayed. While Phil hangs Gloria’s clothes in the bathroom to dry in the bathroom, she laments that “you can’t beat the system.” Phil urges her to try and hugs her. When she buys breakfast-to-go from a diner, Sill, another gangster, ambushes her, but she escapes and returns to the hotel room. She tells Phil it is time to call Tony Tanzini, her former boyfriend and head of the mob, to make a deal and give him the ledger. Then, Gloria gives Phil some money and instructions on what to do in case she doesn’t return in three and a half hours. “I love you to death,” Phil tells Gloria as she leaves. Tony asks Gloria where Phil is. She tells him that the boy is on a boat to South America. Then, Gloria hands over the ledger and shoots her way out of Tony’s apartment. Phil buys a train ticket to Pittsburgh. Once there, he takes a cab to Carson Memorial Cemetery and, believing Gloria to be dead, stops in front of a headstone to say goodbye and say hello to his family. As he talks, a limousine pulls up and a gray-haired woman emerges. She yells out, “Aren’t you going to kiss your grandmother?” Phil recognizes Gloria in disguise and runs to her. They hug and Gloria kisses Phil. He pulls off her gray wig and throws it on the ground. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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