Blu-ray Review: GLORIA

GLORIA was written and directed by John Cassavetes and stars Gena Rowlands, John Adames, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen, Lupe Garnica, Jessica Castillo and Tom Noonan. The score is by Bill Conti.

Writer-director John Cassavetes’ “most mainstream” film, Gloria (1980), is the story of the eponymous gangster’s moll (the stunning Gena Rowlands), forced to go on the run with a young boy, Phil (John Adames), who may or may not have information that the Mob deems vital. Along the way, the initial antagonism between woman and boy develops into grudging affection, and Gloria discovers reserves of inner strength to complement her tough-gal persona. Featuring a spectacularly beautiful orchestral/jazz score by Bill Conti, available on this Twilight Time release as an isolated track.

This 1980 dramatic crime thriller takes place in the Bronx and follows Gloria Swenson (Gena Rowlands), a former mobster’s girlfriend who’s tasked with protecting six-year old Phil (John Adames) when the mafia puts a hit out on his entire family. Long story short, the young boy’s father is an accountant for the mob but he’s also been working with the FBI and ends up getting exposed. Anyway, Gloria reluctantly takes Phil with her and the two go on the run in what becomes a slow bonding experience for both of them.

The thing about Gloria is that she doesn’t panic in this deadly situation and is able to make some smart moves that allows her to evade and counter the mobs moves once they begin their pursuit for her. What happens is, Gloria comes up with a plan to send Phil on a solo trip where she finally confronts her former boyfriend, who also happens to be the mob boss, to try and stop his mafia goons from their relentless mission. In the end, Phil is ultimately reunited with Gloria who’s now accepted her new role as this mother figure for the young boy.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Gloria by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any serious issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Gloria ended up being a really good watch and it’s a movie that featured Gena Rowlands in a strong female lead. There’s a feminist movement going on today that’s trying to bully its way for more female lead roles but if you look back there’s been plenty of movies over the years that have featured strong leads and performances by women and this 1980  drama is one of them. Maybe this movement just wants more. Anyway, not only is this movie a mob thriller but it’s also an emotional drama as we watch this woman slowly warm up to this young boy who she’s been tasked with protecting. Gena Rowlands gives a powerful performance as this tough as nails woman with close mob ties but she also shows a softer side when it comes to looking after this innocent life. John Cassavetes (Rowlands’ husband at the time) tells a great story here with his writing and directing and captures an impressive performance by the legendary actress as well as young John Adames. Gloria is now available on Blu-ray and has a Limited Edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 121 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an isolated music track and two theatrical trailers.

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer #1 (03:08)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer #2 (02:56)

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