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Shadows (BFI Film Classics) Paperback – 1 May 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute; 2001 edition (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851708358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851708355
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 0.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Inside Flap

"Ray Carney is a tireless researcher who probably knows more about the shooting of "Shadows" than any other living being, including Cassavetes when he was alive, since Carney, after all, has the added input of ten or more of the film's participants who remember their own unique versions of the reality we all shared."--Maurice McEndree, producer and editor of "Shadows"
"Bravo! Cassavetes is fortunate to have such a diligent champion. I am absolutely dumbfounded by the depth of the research into this film. The appendix is a definitive piece of scholarly detective work. The Robert Aurthur revelation is another bombshell and only leaves me wanting to know more. The book movingly captures the excitement and dynamic Cassavetes discovered in filmmaking; and the perseverance and struggle of getting it up there on the screen."--Tom Charity, Film Editor, "Time Out magazine"

From the Back Cover

John Cassavetes' "Shadows" is generally regarded as the start of the independent feature movement in America. Made for $40,000 with a nonprofessional cast and crew and borrowed equipment, the film caused a sensation on its London release in 1960. The film traces the lives of three siblings in an African-American family: Hugh, a struggling jazz singer, attempting to obtain a job and hold onto his dignity; Ben, a Beat drifter who goes from one fight and girlfriend to another; and Lelia, who has a brief love affair with a white boy who turns on her when he discovers her race. In a delicate, semi-comic drama of self-discovery, the main characters are forced to explore who they are and what really matters in their lives. "Shadows" ends with the title card 'The film you have just seen was an improvisation, ' and for decades was hailed as a masterpiece of spontaneity, but shortly before Cassavetes' death, he confessed to Ray Carney something he had never before revealed - that much of the film was scripted. He told him that it was shot twice and that the scenes in the second version were written by him and Robert Alan Aurthur, a professional Hollywood screenwriter. For Carney, it was Cassavetes' Rosebud. He spent ten years tracking down the surviving members of the cast and crew, and piecing together the true story of the making of the film. Carney takes the reader behind the scenes to follow every step in the making of the movie - chronicling the hopes and dreams, the struggles and frustrations, and the ultimate triumph of the collaboration that resulted in one of the seminal masterworks of American independent filmmaking. Highlights of the presentation are more than 30illustrations (including the only existing photographs of the dramatic workshop Cassavetes ran in the late fifties and of the stage on which much of "Shadows" was shot, and a still showing a scene from the 'lost' first version of the film); and statements by many of the film's actors and crew members detailing previously unknown events during its creation. One of the most interesting and original aspects of the book is an nine-page Appendix that 'reconstructs' much of the lost first version of the film for the first time. The Appendix points out more than 100 previously unrecognized differences between the 1957 and 1959 shoots, all of which are identified in detail both by the scene and the time at which they occur in the current print of the movie (so that they may be easily located on videotape or DVD by anyone viewing the film). By comparing the two versions, the Appendix allows the reader to eavesdrop on Cassavetes' process of revision and watch his mind at work as he re-thought, re-shot, re-edited his movie. None of this information, which Carney spent more than five years compiling, has ever appeared in print before (and, as the presentation reveals, the few studies that have attempted to deal with this issue prior to this are proved to have been completely mistaken in their assumptions). The comparison of the versions and the treatment of Cassavetes' revisionary process is definitive and final, for all time.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsShadows
on 30 August 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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