From writer / director John Cassavetes whose wife and muse Rowlands delivers a rock solid badass performance in the film, Gloria feels like the original female-driven action film, and it holds up remarkably well.
A six-year old kid’s family is murdered by the mob, and he finds an unlikely protector: A tough moll who has no idea how to deal with a child.
Just before the mob sends a squad of killers to execute an entire family in an apartment and retrieve a “black book” of names, the family’s six-year old son Phil (John Adames) is entrusted to a neighbor named Gloria (Gena Rowlands) who agrees, but only under duress. In minutes, the entire family is murdered, and Gloria – who has connections to the mob – finds herself on the run with a single suitcase and her purse … and Phil, who doesn’t understand what’s happening. When the mob realizes that Gloria has the kid – and the book – they come for her, but she’s no pushover; she’s got a gun and she doesn’t hesitate to use it, killing anyone who threatens her or the kid. Over the next few days and nights the two of them become an unlikely pair, making narrow escapes, sleeping in flophouses, using every means of transportation, but mob hitmen are always two seconds behind their trail, but every single time Gloria’s resourcefulness and survival skills kick in and she gets the better of them. When she ends up taking a meeting with the mob, she must leave the boy behind to protect him, but the meeting could go either way – with her death, or with her making one final daring escape with her life.
From writer / director John Cassavetes whose wife and muse Rowlands delivers a rock solid badass performance in the film, Gloria feels like the original female-driven action film, and it holds up remarkably well. When she pulls out her gun on a New York street and guns down four mob enforcers in their car, causing a big accident in front of witnesses, you know the movie is headed in a great direction. The movie delivers on a number of levels, and Bill Conti’s excellent score keeps the tension tight and unpredictable, and always on the cinematic side. Remade almost 20 years later with Sharon Stone, but this is where it’s at.
Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray edition of Gloria looks and sounds quite good in high definition, and since the previous Blu-ray edition from Twilight Time is out of print, this is a nice place to add it to your collection. Two theatrical trailers are included on the disc, and a slipcover.