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Shadows (The Criterion Collection)
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Video interviews from 2004 with actress Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel
Rare silent 16 mm footage of John Cassavetes and Burt Lane s acting workshop
Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Gary Giddins and a reprinted essay by Cassavetes
Top Customer Reviews
There are several stories in the film, but perhaps the most interesting is that of Lelia (played by Lelia Goldoni). Living in a Manhattan apartment with her two brothers, she's somewhat naive of the world. At a party she meets Tony and they soon hit it off. Just as quickly, things start to sour between them. If it already isn't bad enough, all hell breaks loose, when Tony is unable to conceal his shock when he discovers that the olive complexioned Lelia is actually black.
In a Hollywood film, this scenario would have been thrown under the rug or handled in a stiff and artificial manner (like ISLAND IN THE SUN). Fortunately, we get a much more interesting and realistic view of the situation. Granted some of the dialog might be a bit on the nose at times, but when the improv works, it works fabulously.
One of the best scenes in the film involves Lelia on a date. Without revealing too much, her dialog is a killer. John Sayles couldn't have written it any crisper.
As the whole, the cast is very good. All of the major players have the same first names as their respective characters. Rupert Crosse (who later received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Reivers) is very funny in this film.Read more ›
One can see this even from his very first film, 1959's Shadows, filmed with a 16mm handheld camera, on a shoe string budget of about $40,000, in Manhattan, with Cassavetes' acting workshop repertory company, and touted as an improvisatory film. The story is rather simple, as it follows the lives of three black sibling Manhattanites- Benny (Ben Carruthers)- a trumpeter and no account, Hugh (Hugh Hurd)- a washed up singer, and Lelia (Lelia Goldoni)- the younger sister of both. The film's three main arcs deal with Hugh's failures as a nightclub crooner, and his friendship with his manager Rupert (Rupert Crosse); Benny's perambulations in an about Manhattan with his two no account pals; and Lelia's lovelife- first with a white boy Tony (Anthony Ray), who does not realize light-skinned Lelia's race, even after bedding her; then with stiff and proper Davey (Davey Jones), who may be a misogynist.
In the first arc, nothing much happens, except dark-skinned Hugh gets to pontificate on how degraded he feels to be singing in low class nightclubs, and opening shows for girly acts.Read more ›
Like the others in this Pioneer series, the DVD is merely adequate: it presents the picture and sound. As in the others, Ray Carney provides a short analytic essay in the insert that is useful to anyone not already familiar with Cassavetes' art. We're lucky to have this film available in any form. Highly recommended.
[Incidentally, whatever other Amazon reviewer it was that thinks they found a racist agenda to this film completely missed the boat. However, racism is faced by the characters and plays an overt role in the narrative, and significantly, comprises much of the oldest material in the film. The original project was for an unrealized film ABOUT racism; the material added later was not, and the complexities of the resulting combination make the film what it is.]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was the first film I saw which was directed by Mr. Cassavetes. The group of improvisation actors were wonderful. Read morePublished 18 months ago by D. H. Vall
A movie made as more of an experiment or OJT session for Cassavetes than as a film for actual release. Became a favorite of European and college cognoscenti in the 60's. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Grisha
This film is a diamond in the rough, but it has an authenticity to it that is palpable. It's a story of a 1950's interracial romance, but it really transcends that era and speaks... Read morePublished 23 months ago by J. W. Grace
This movie was suggested to me for a paper I needed to do for a film class. This is a restored version and some footage was undoubtedly lost hence it's choppiness but I loved the... Read morePublished on October 11, 2013 by Ibby
It is a landmark transformational independent film that has not passed the test of time. By todays standards, Shadows is not interesting.Published on May 14, 2013 by Lindsay Johnson
Great movie. I am thrilled to possess a signed copy by Lelia Goldoni....Cassavetes is like the finest...Faces remains one of my top five movies ever. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by bill w
I recently become a fan of The Criterion Collection. They have such vast and complex movies both old and new. I was quite elated when Hulu began offering these movies to watch. Read morePublished on October 14, 2012 by Holy Conscious
1950's observation of race relations, dating, and city life in general. Cassavetes already showed a rare gift for letting characters be more real life than standard movie heroes... Read morePublished on June 19, 2012 by mr. contrarian