Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Faces (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Faces (1968)

In writer/director John Cassavetes' stark and grainy looking, amateurish, ragged marriage drama (made with a hand-held camera in 16mm) about infidelity - a highly-influential, low-budget independent cinema verite film; it was an emotionally-intense work about all the resultant and tragic repercussions of a disintegrating, dead-end 14 year marriage and the struggle to find love:

  • the plot was told as an improvisational character study and "film within a film" with a highly individualistic style (including unscripted and often inaudible dialogue during conversations, and a seemingly-endless series of amorphous scenes with unpredictable climaxes)
  • the extended sequence of divorcing, weary, middle-aged and drunken Richard "Dickie" Forst (John Marley) and his friend Freddie (Fred Draper) who were carousing with younger, high-class prostitute Jeannie Rapp (Gena Rowlands - Cassavetes' wife), the lead character, who they had just met in a bar; at her house after Dickie was dancing and singing "I Dream of Jeannie (With the Light Brown Hair)" with her, Freddie suddenly and jealously asked Jeannie how much she charged for a trick: "By the way, Jeannie, whaddya charge?"; his question immediately spoiled the mood, and although Jeannie went over and hugged him ("Oh no, Freddie, don't spoil it, Freddie, please"), he defended himself: "Spoil what? Honey, I'm game for anything. I just wanna know how much you charge. It's legitimate, isn't it? I know I have to pay. I'm not too schooled in these things, but I know that somewhere along the line, your little hand is gonna find its way to my pocket. You're shocked, aren't ya, old Dickie, old pal? What do you think she is? You think she's some clean towel that's never been used? My God, Dickie, you think you don't pay? How many times a week does Maria ask you for some money? Money, Charlie, is a necessity, and don't you think that you don't work for it and pay for it. My God, what, what is this? He thinks I'm insulting you. I'm offering you. Hell, look, what's the matter? If I went to one of those fancy restaurants, I'd probably tip the headwaiter, the waiter, the busboy, and a hundred bucks goes flyin' down the drain -- and I couldn't have any more fun than I could with Jeannie here"; Dickie became incensed, but he was calmed down by Jeannie, who also called out the "very sad" Freddie for being crude: "... you're a man who doesn't say what you mean very well. What you meant was this was a wonderful evening, and you enjoy my house and you like me. But like you said, you're crude"; Freddie apologized and said he was "only trying to be funny" - and soon left
  • meanwhile during Dickie's affair with call-girl escort Jeannie, his divorcing wife Maria Forst (Lynn Carlin) was having a girls' night out at the Whiskey A Go-Go with three of her married, discontented female friends, where the group was seduced by uninhibited, flirtatious playboy-hustler Chet (Seymour Cassel) from Detroit; after they left the go-go club with Chet, they returned to Maria's home
  • Chet's bold assertions during an alcohol-fueled night with the nervously-laughing women at the Forst home that his basic goal in life was sex: "You have a few belts and go up to some chick's pad and make it, baby...Just make it, baby. You out-and-out lay down and..."
  • later, as Chet encouraged one of Maria's uptight friends, Louise Draper (Joanne Moore Jordan), to dance with him, he suddenly stated: "I think we're makin' fools of ourselves...I'm not criticizing; I'm just saying"; Louise took immediate personal offense: "I'm making a fool of myself?...Well, who are you to criticize me?...Well, you don't have to tell me I'm making a fool of myself. Look, I know how to dance, my way. I don't need you to tell me about it. I come from a musical background. I take care of a family of five. I have a college degree, and I don't need you to tell me I'm making a fool of myself...Don't touch me!" - and after slapping Chet, she angrily departed
  • in the next powerful sequence, Maria's pathetic, drunken and desperate, fat-faced, married friend Florence (Dorothy Gulliver) delivered a statement to Maria that dancing made her feel young: ("Oh, come on. Don't be tired. The evening's young, you know. You know, these dances, these wild crazy dances -- I think they've succeeded where science failed. 'Cause you know, I can go to a beauty parlor and sit there for hours having my hair done and my nails polished, but I don't feel any younger. I might look it. These dances, these wild crazy dances -- they do something to me inside. Well, to hell with Louie. Because, you know, one of these days I'm gonna croak. And I'm gonna flop down on the ground, and some goddamn preacher's gonna preach a goddamn sermon over my goddamn body!"); she ran over to Chet, flung herself at him, asked him for a dance, and when she fell on top of him and kept slobbering over him, she finally asked: "Would you kiss me?", he obligingly kissed her full on the mouth; afterwards, Chet agreed to drive Florence home, using Maria's car
Florence and Chet's Kiss in Forst Home
  • the tragic repercussions of the characters -- Maria had a one-night sexual stand with Chet, but afterwards the next morning, he found her on the floor of the bathroom where she had taken an overdose of sleeping pills; after calling the emergency squad, he attempted to keep her awake: "You gotta stay awake. Please. I don't want you to die. Please, lady. You gotta stay awake"; after he was able to revive her with some slaps, he apologized: "I didn't want to hit ya, but don't go to sleep on me. Oh! Come on, now. Cry. That's it. That's life, honey. Tears, tears of happiness, man. Just do it. Come on, now. Ohh...I caused you a lot of pain and a lot of grief and, and I almost killed ya. And I prayed, man. Oh, God, I prayed to God. I said, 'God, please, dear God, don't let anything happen to her, 'cause I love her so much, and I'll do anything you say, God.' And, man, I don't even believe in him, you know"
  • in the final devastating sequence, Dickie returned home from Jeannie - forcing Chet to flee out the window and onto the roof; Dickie turned to Maria and judged her with insults about being an adulteress: "I thought you just had problems. That's wonderful. That's, uh, something new. A noble adulteress...Rejected for the thousandth time in 14 years...All I have to do is find that 10-year-old rapist and kill him...You don't need me, you don't need any man...You get laid once and everything is solved! Get all the soldiers in Vietnam laid and the whole Middle East problem is solved! You want violence, huh? You want me to be violent? Is that it? You want me to slap you across the face every time you open your mouth?" - she responded by slapping him twice: "I hate my life. I just don't love you!"; as they sat in numbed silence at the top and bottom of the hallway staircase, they both smoked a cigarette, shared a lighter, and started coughing - the film ended with the ironic, accompanying Charlie Smalls song: Never Felt Like This Before
Maria and Dickie Face Off

"Dickie" Forst Dancing with Prostitute Jeannie

Freddie's (Fred Draper) Crude Comment to Jeannie: "Whaddya charge?"

Jeannie Rapp
(Gena Rowlands)

Jeannie Hugging Freddie: "Freddie, don't spoil it"

Dickie, Jeannie, and Freddie

Playboy-Hustler Chet With Middle-Aged Women, Including Dickie's Divorcing Wife Maria

Maria's Friend Louise Draper

Another Friend: Florence

Maria's Overdose After One-Night Stand with Chet

Maria Recovering with Chet


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