In 2015, the BBC named Love Streams the 63rd greatest American movie ever made.
What is it doing on our site?
What is it doing coming from Cannon?
Well, according to Austin Trunick’s The Cannon Film Guide Volume 1: 1980-1984, there was some mutual admiration between Cassavetes and Cannon. Menahem Golan may have made his money with and breakdancing, but he aspired to greater cinematic heights. Meanwhile, Cassavetes was an artist who didn’t want anyone to interfere with his vision, which often had nothing to do with box office.
Somehow, the two came together and agreed to make this movie.
Cannon would get the art cred they wanted.
Cassavetes would get to make a movie his way with a $2 million dollar budget, more than he’d enjoyed for several movies.
Unlike so many of Cannon’s two weeks and done movies, Cassavetes got 13 weeks to film Love Streams and it’s mostly in one location, the home he shared with wife Gena Rowlands. He also stars in it as writer Robert Harmon, who constantly adds new women to his harem and is often writing them checks.
Gena is is his sister Sarah who can also never find permanent love. If anything, she loves so much that she’s pushed away her husband (Seymour Cassel) and begins to collect animals who will at least love her unconditionally.
Robert also has a son Albie, who he teaches to drink and allows to hang out with the showgirls that he lives with. That can’t and won’t last, as the boy goes back to his mother and our protagonist gets beaten by the boy’s stepfather.
Even the brother and sister relationship can’t last long, as Sarah’s hallucinations begin to take over her mind and she runs into a rainstorm, leaving Robert to laugh like a maniac on the couch before realizing that a naked man is sitting next to him, a man who turns out to be his dog. And that’s the ending!
Cassavetes was told that he was going to die from cancer before he made this. He lived for five more years, but he also made the movie like a man knowing he was going to die and not caring what anyone else wanted. Continuity be damned, Cannon’s short running time be damned, this was his movie.
It never played theaters in the U.S. and the MGM VHS release cut about twenty minutes. Luckily, we live in a world where the Criterion Collection can release things uncut and we can see what the director truly wanted to show the world.
Learn more about this movie in Austin Trunick’s The Cannon Film Guide Volume 1: 1980-1984.