A group of escaped convicts take over a suburban home to evade the ongoing police manhunt, making the lives of the family living there a nightmare. The longer the men stay there, the more ... See full summary »
A professional holdup man with scruples has a young ambitious partner who covets his wife and his life. When the holdup man goes to prison, the partner cuts loose, leaving a trail of deaths behind him.
Alberto De Martino
Well-made but inconsequential triangle drama, with Raymond Burr playing a brooding, resentful industrialist who may or may not be a terminal case -- resentments are directed primarily at wife Sara Shane, who was responsible for crippling him in a boating accident. (To correct another comment here, it is clearly a boating accident that crippled Burr, as revealed in a tense sequence on the water in which Burr nearly rams the boat carrying him, John Cassavettes, and Shane into some rocks.)
Cassavettes, a jazz pianist scraping out a living at a local watering hole, spends the bulk of the movie trying to untangle from Shane's web of sexual come-ons and neediness, something his character has difficulty with. Burr makes a complex villain/protagonist, filling in his angry cuckolded husband with numerous human qualities that earn audience sympathy. Unlike the claims of an earlier comment, the relationship between Shane and the loyal Cuban servant Valdes is not a mystery. Rather, unlike how current movies might handle such a plot device, the adultery of Shane is always implicit and not explicit. A suggestive and violent scene on the ocean beach reveals their relationship within the boundaries of 1957 censorship -- if this film were remade today, that scene would be excessively sexual and heavy.
The movie's ending is not atypical of programmer features of the era, as Cassavettes nods, returns to his piano -- as in "the show must go on" -- and soldiers on, finally shed of both Shane and the tawdriness that surrounded their relationship. The rushed finale suggests, for him, the best of all possible worlds.
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