Wednesday, July 22, 2015

1959 - SHADOWS - John Cassevettes first film

A film that is an acknowledged "classic" of the independent film movement.  This should strike fear into the hearts of any film lover.  Early independent film means, grainy black and white footage usually filmed in 16mm, poor editing and questionable acting from what is usually a nonprofessional cast.  Shadows has all of these things.

Shadows apparently existed in two versions.  The first was supposedly a meandering improvisation.  Cassevettes reworked this version and added scripted scenes and cut the running time down.  So Cassevettes's title card at the end of the film is somewhat misleading.

But this is a very remarkable piece of work.  Just the New York City atmosphere alone is worth viewing this film.  This film is positively drenched in the feel of late 50's New York.  The acting may be kind of rough but it certainly contributes to the authenticity of the film.

Shadows must have seemed like a real change of pace for critics and serious film goers when it was released.  1959 was the year of North by Northwest and Rio Bravo.  But is was also the year of commercial dreck like Pillow Talk, Operation Petticoat and The Shaggy Dog.

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