John Cassavetes

Shadows

Shadows

John Cassavetes’s directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light- skinned black woman, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man. The relationship is put in jeopardy when Tony meets Lelia’s darker-skinned jazz singer brother, Hugh (Hugh Hurd), and discovers that her racial heritage is not what he thought it was. Shot on location in Manhattan with a mostly nonprofessional cast and crew, Shadows is a penetrating work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement.

Film Info

  • John Cassavetes
  • United States
  • 1959
  • 82 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #251

Special Features

  • New, high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • A Constant Forge: The Life and Art of John Cassavetes (2000), a 200-minute documentary by Charles Kiselyak (Blu-ray)
  • New interviews with actress Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel
  • Silent footage from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, from which Shadows emerged
  • Restoration demonstration
  • Stills and poster galleries
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1961 article by Cassavetes (DVD release)

New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

John Cassavetes: Five Films

John Cassavetes: Five Films

Blu-Ray Box Set

5 Discs

$99.96

Special Features

  • New, high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • A Constant Forge: The Life and Art of John Cassavetes (2000), a 200-minute documentary by Charles Kiselyak (Blu-ray)
  • New interviews with actress Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel
  • Silent footage from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, from which Shadows emerged
  • Restoration demonstration
  • Stills and poster galleries
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1961 article by Cassavetes (DVD release)

New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang

Shadows
Cast
Ben Carruthers
Ben
Lelia Goldoni
Leila
Hugh Hurd
Hugh
Anthony Ray
Tony
Dennis Sallas
Dennis
Tom Allen
Tom
David Pokitillow
David
Rupert Crosse
Rupert
Credits
Director
John Cassavetes
Producer
Maurice McEndree
Associate producer
Seymour Cassel
Saxophone solos
Shafi Hadi
Additional music
Charles Mingus
Cameraman
Erich Kollmar
Lighting
David Simon
Lighting assistant
Cliff Carnell
Camera assistant
Al Ruban
Supervising editor
Len Appelson
Editor
Maurice McEndree
Sets
Randy Liles
Sets
Bob Reeh

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Explore

John Cassavetes

Director

John Cassavetes’ emotionally naked human dramas are benchmarks of American independent cinema. Having started out in New York as an actor, Cassavetes brought to his directorial efforts the same kinetic, heightened realism that marked his film and theater roles—a wily danger, the sense that at any moment things could explode from the inside. Shadows (1959), the first film he directed, self-financed for a mere $40,000, didn’t find much of an audience upon its small initial release, but it garnered Cassavetes some notice from critics (including a Venice Film Festival Critics Prize)—as well as studios, resulting in a couple of impersonal projects in the 1960s (Too Late Blues, A Child Is Waiting). He dove back into personal filmmaking later in the decade with the devastating domestic drama Faces (1968). Though hardly a crowd-pleaser, that film—made, like Shadows, wholly independently—was an art-house success, resulting in three Oscar nominations. From that point on, Cassavetes was synonymous with uncompromising, anti-studio American fare, working with a rotating cast of brilliant actors like Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel, and, of course, his wife, Gena Rowlands, to touch raw nerves with such films as A Woman Under the Influence (1974), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), and Opening Night (1976). Cassavetes died in 1989.