Starring: John Cassavetes, Billy Dee Williams and Gibran Brown
Cinematic release, 1983
Video release, 2000
purists will probably sneer at me for this, but I'm no film
purist, I just like what I like. John Cassavetes was one of my
all-time favourite actors and I prefer to see him in other
people's films rather than his own. So there.
also a marvelous director, the required stuff of university film
classes everywhere. And many such students of film would scold
me and say that he only acted in other directors' films as a
necessary evil to make money for his own productions. And that's
true, his films (Faces, Shadows, Husbands, Mikey and Nicky, A
Woman Under The Influence, et al) were financed by his acting in
more mainstream films. But I've always found his own films very
difficult to sit through—not because they are boring or badly
made, but because they are so disturbing and claustrophobic. But
when he was in other, less intense films, I could really enjoy
him for the genius he was. And these other directors' films
aren't so bad; Rosemary's Baby, Who's Life Is It Anyway,
Tempest, The Dirty Dozen. These are not films to sneer at. Which
brings me to Marvin & Tige, another one of those films he
took on to pay the bills, so to speak.
Jackson (Gibran Brown) is an 11 year old African-American kid
who's been through the mill. Growing up devastatingly poor with
no father, his mother too depressed to care for him adequately,
Tige is forced to steal food to survive. When his mother dies,
he decides he's had enough and gives up on life. On the edge of
a suicide attempt Tige happens to meet Marvin Stewart (Cassavetes),
a lonely man who's also lost so much that he's turned his back
on society years ago. Marvin takes Tige in and shares what
little he has with the boy and despite their racial and cultural
differences, they grow to love and need each other.
Marvin decides he wants to legally adopt Tige, he's told he must
find out what has happened to Tige's father (Billy Dee Williams)
before any steps can be taken. When he finds him the real pain
begins in deciding what's right for Tige.
saw this movie years ago. I taped it off cable and whenever I
wanted a good cry I'd dust it off. So be warned, tears abound!
It's great to finally be able to get it on a nice new video
cassette, released just last year.
film was shot in Atlanta in the early '80s. I was born there but
I never got to live there, but it's an interesting city that
I've always liked to visit. One of the many cool things about
this film is that even though it's set in the famous southern
city, no-one was told to put on fake southern accents and affect
a crazy southern demeanor. Everyone's just regular. That's a
the film is sweet and moving. Nothing controversial to debate
here, Marvin is an unforgettable character always living by his
own strict moral code, despite the fact that he may or may not
be an alcoholic on the skids. He will not tolerate stealing or
violence in any way, and that stirs up some uneasy moments with
Tige as they get to know each other.
can rent it where you live, prepare the tissues. If you catch it
on cable, don't miss it. You're in for a treat.
The above material is considered the property
If you wish to use this article, in part or whole, please contact
for her permission.