50 Greatest Indy’s | 43. Shadows (1959)

John Cassavettes’ film about race in New York City in the late fifities is a fantastic snapshot of American life.  This film combines everything about old New York that shaped it to what it is today.  Wether it be the music, the attitudes, or the tension between races, this movie captures New York unlike any movie I’ve seen.


This movie’s plot is completely improvisational.  There have been several films that have done that lately, but this was the first time something like this was done.  It was a groundbreaking film and the start of independent film making in America.  The guerrila filming made it easy to picture yourself in the settings and I loved it.

Parts of this film were destroyed and lost so there are some rough moments.  This film is not perfect and the plot was simply okay. It had a good idea, but it didn’t build as quickly as it should and everyone seemed lost.  I probably wouldn’t watch this again, but I’m glad I did in the first place.  At 80 minutes, it felt like 120, but it was a revolutionary film and it gets a pass.


Shadows: 6.2


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