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Dec 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm

John Cassavetes Tribute: I’m Almost Not Crazy & Johnny Staccato

With Brandon Harris and Cullen Gallagher

Half a century has passed since John Cassavetes made his feature film debut with Shadows in 1959, and his influence is more widespread and acknowledged than ever before. Part three of UnionDocs’ series Docs on Auteurs honors his life in cinema with the presentation of two rare works that span the length of his career. Cassavetes would be turning 80 years old this December had he not passed away at the age of 59 in 1989. Celebrate the artist’s legacy with these two rare works, neither of which is currently commercially available on video.

This screening was curated with Cullen Gallagher, film and literary critic, who is a regular contributor for The L Magazine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, as well as other publications.

Special thanks to Michael Ventura, Jane Klain, and NBC Universal.


I’m Almost Not Crazy by Michael Ventura

60 min., 1984

Michael Ventura’s documentary I’m Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes – the Man and His Work (1984, 60 min), was shot on the set of Cassavetes’ penultimate film, Love Streams (1984). Made while the director was ill and uncertain whether he would be able to complete another film, Love Streams was a self-conscious meditation on death, as well as a farewell to cinema. Alternating behind-the-scenes glimpses at the production process with insightful conversations with Cassavetes and his life-long collaborators (such as wife Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel), Ventura’s film offers an intimate look at one of the most personal and unique filmmakers in cinema history.

A rare and invaluable chronicle of their hero doing and talking about what he loved best: filmmaking. Those who don’t should gain new respect for the man, his methods, his passion, and his absolute commitment to his own unique vision of the human comedy.

– TV Guide

Reveals one of the U.S. cinema’s great rebels, precious iconoclasts and essential film makers.

– Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times

Johnny Staccato (Solomon) by John Cassavetes

25 min., 1959

I’m Almost Not Crazy will be preceded by one of Cassavetes’ earliest directorial works, “Solomon” (1960, 23 min), an episode of the television series Johnny Staccato that starred Cassavetes as a Greenwich Village jazz pianist/private detective. Film noir legend Elisha Cook, Jr. (The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep) and Cloris Leachman (Kiss Me Deadly and The Last Picture Show) co-star in this gem from the Golden Age of Television about a hot-shot lawyer who needs Johnny Staccato’s help to prove his client’s innocence.

57 min


Dec 5, 2009
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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