Best Movies by Farr
Opening Night Poster
Released Runtime Category
1977 144 Drama
Director Language
John Cassavetes English
John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Joan Blondell, Laura Johnson

Opening Night

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What's it About

Myrtle Gordon (Rowlands) is starring in “The Second Woman” on stage. The play is finishing out-of-town previews when a young fan (Johnson) is accidentally killed while waiting to greet her. Already struggling with alcoholism, Myrtle becomes more and more unhinged, taking out all her angst on her co-star (Cassavetes) and loyal director (Gazzara).  As she loses her tenuous grip on sanity, the play, about a woman dealing with loneliness and aging, takes on weighty significance. Can Myrtle make it to opening night?

Why we love it

Cassavetes’s real-life spouse Rowlands tackles a highly demanding role, playing a woman rapidly approaching a total breakdown.  Having her actual husband play her on-stage husband reflects the director’s penchant for blending reality and make-believe in his work. Blondell, who represents the later stage of womanhood, brings her storied resume to the role of the aging playwright, while Johnson, who resembles a younger Rowlands, represents the star’s lost youth and beauty. It’s no surprise that Rowlands won best actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her incredible performance. Get house seats for this “Opening Night.”

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"