Husbands | 1970
The cinema of John Cassavetes seems so quintessentially American that it comes as a bit of a shock to see his characters turning up in dear old Blighty.
Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara and Cassavetes himself are the three middle-ages mates shaken up by the death of a friend who scoot off to Europe – to London, in fact – for a manly bout of drinking, gambling, womanising and bonding. You either love or hate the jazzy, freeform, improvisational style.
The entrance to the London ‘hotel’ in which the three stay – and outside which it seems to rain continuously – is that of the Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London WC2. Originally built as a Masonic hall – to accommodate meetings and dinners of Freemasons – the Connaught isn't a hotel but a suite of function rooms for hire. Much-used location, the Freemasons’ Hall stands alongside.
The casino at which the three play craps and, with varying degrees of success, hit on women, was the Sportsman Club, which stood at 3 Tottenham Court Road, the site for many years occupied by the Virgin Megastore, now a Primark store. The casino itself relocated, first to Bryanston Street, now to 16 Old Quebec Street, Marble Arch, London W1H 7AF.