Gloria (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: David Steigman
  • Review Date: Oct 05, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Gloria (Blu-ray Review)


John Cassavetes

Release Date(s)

1980 (August 21, 2018)


Columbia Pictures (Twilight Time)
  • Film/Program Grade: C
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: D


There are plenty of movies that are often overlooked or simply under the radar, not getting much notice these days. The 1980 crime drama Gloria, written and directed by John Cassavetes, is certainly one of them. Gena Rowlands stars as the title character of Gloria, the ex-girlfriend of a gangster. She reluctantly helps a young boy named Phil (John Adames), whose family has just been killed by mobsters. Before Phil’s father (Buck Henry) could report them all to the F.B.I., they kill him and are soon on the hunt for Phil and a stolen book containing some incriminating information. Not wanting to see Phil murdered, Gloria goes on the run with Phil, trying to keep him alive and find a way out of this precarious situation.

At the request of Columbia Pictures (and his wife taking on the title role), Cassavetes was more or less coaxed into directing Gloria, which is one of eleven films they made together. He does his usual excellent job, keeping the suspense and tension mounting throughout. Rowlands hands in another stellar performance, which earned her both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. There’s a great deal of chemistry between her and child actor John Adames, but unfortunately, his line delivery leaves much to be desired. Despite that, Gloria is a well-done thriller with terrific cinematography by Fred Schuler, who displays both the best and the worst parts of New York.

Gloria debuts on Blu-ray courtesy of Twilight Time and looks beautiful in high definition. Colors appear sharp and robust with skin tones that are balanced and accurate. There’s also a vast amount of detail and texturing to both interiors and exteriors, while close-ups reveal plenty of facial depth. In the audio department, an English mono DTS-HD track has been utilized. It’s pretty strong, particularly Bill Conti’s score. No dropouts or other audio issues were detected either. Optional subtitles in English SDH are provided and the supplemental materials include an isolated music track, two theatrical trailers, a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue, and an 8-page insert booklet written by Julie Kirgo, in which she provides her usual splendid insight.

While not an all-time classic, Gloria should be on the top of everyone’s lists for must-see thrillers, particularly one made by a pioneer in independent filmmaking. It really should be considered essential viewing and Twilight Time’s presentation of it is a great one.

- David Steigman