IMDb > Shadows (1959)
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Shadows (1959) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 12 | slideshow) Videos
Shadows -- Clip: House party with credits


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John Cassavetes (written by)
View company contact information for Shadows on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 October 1960 (UK) See more »
Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Enchanting time capsule of late '50s New York See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Ben Carruthers ... Ben

Lelia Goldoni ... Lelia
Hugh Hurd ... Hugh
Anthony Ray ... Tony
Dennis Sallas ... Dennis

Tom Reese ... Tom (as Tom Allen)
David Pokitillow ... David
Rupert Crosse ... Rupert
David Jones ... Davey (as Davey Jones)
Pir Marini ... Pir the Piano Player
Victoria Vargas ... Vickie
Jack Ackerman ... Jack, Director of Dance Studio
Jacqueline Walcott ... Jacqueline
Cliff Carnell
Jay Crecco
Ronald Maccone
Bob Reeh
Joyce Miles ... Girl in Restaurant
Nancy Deale ... Girl in Restaurant
Gigi Brooks ... Girl in Restaurant

Lynn Hamilton ... Girl at Party
Marilyn Clark ... Girl at Party
Joanne Sages ... Girl at Party
Jed McGarvey ... Girl at Party

Greta Thyssen ... Girl at Party (as Greta Thysen)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

John Cassavetes ... Pedestrian (uncredited)

Seymour Cassel ... (uncredited)
Arlene Corwin ... Girl at party (uncredited)

Bobby Darin ... Man Wearing Sun Glasses, Dancing and Later Chewing Gum at Rehearsal (uncredited)
Ellen Paulos ... Woman (uncredited)

Gena Rowlands ... Woman in Nightclub Audience (uncredited)
Jean Shepherd ... Man at Party (uncredited)

Mel Stewart ... Man at Party (uncredited)

Directed by
John Cassavetes 
Writing credits
John Cassavetes (written by)

Produced by
Seymour Cassel .... associate producer
Maurice McEndree .... producer
Cinematography by
Erich Kollmar 
Film Editing by
John Cassavetes 
Maurice McEndree 
Production Design by
Randy Liles 
Bob Reeh 
Production Management
Wray Bevins .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Giglio .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jay Crecco .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Cliff Carnell .... lighting assistant
Al Ruban .... camera assistant
David Simon .... lighting technician
Editorial Department
Len Appelson .... supervising editor
Music Department
Shafi Hadi .... musician: saxophone solos
Charles Mingus .... composer: additional music
Charles Mingus .... musician: additional music
Other crew
Maxine Arnold .... production staff (as Maxine Arnolds)
Anne Draper .... production staff
Mary Anne Ehle .... production staff
Judy Kaufman .... production staff
Ellen Paulos .... production staff
Leslie Reed .... production staff

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
81 min | UK:87 min | USA:87 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Finland:K-16 | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) (1992) | USA:PG (1991)

Did You Know?

John Cassavetes screened the movie in 1957 and 1958, but because of poor response he went back and re-shot about half of the film in 1959. The first version of the film was believed to be lost for almost 50 years. In the mid-1980s Prof. Ray Carney began his search for the film after talking to Cassavetes about the first version. Carney searched almost everywhere but was led to dead ends for 20 years. Finally, in 2002, he was contacted by a woman who said her father, a junk dealer, had a cardboard box with a film called "Shadows". It turned out to be the first version and not the second one. The print was in pristine condition.See more »
Tony:I need the key for 042!
David:You can't get it, Elaine's not in.
Rupert:Where is she?
David:She's dealing with the raccoons, man.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957)See more »
BeautifulSee more »


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36 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Enchanting time capsule of late '50s New York, 28 October 2006
Author: Camera Obscura from The Dutch Mountains

Shot on a minimal budget of $40,000 with a skeleton six person crew, SHADOWS offers an observation of the tensions and lives of three siblings in an African-American family in which two of the three siblings, Ben (Ben Carruthers) and Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), are light-skinned and able to pass for white. Cassavetes demanded that the actors retain their real names to reflect the actual conflicts within the group but saw the film as being concerned with human problems as opposed imply to racial ones. Cassavetes shot the film in ten minute takes and jagged editing, a reaction against 'seamless' Hollywood production values. Cassavetes main inspiration - at least in the cinematic style the film was shot - were the Italian neo-realists whilst also professing admiration for Welles' pioneering spirit. The use of amateurs and improvisation might resemble some of the Italian neo-realist directors, but with his bebop score by Charles Mingus ans Shafi Hadi, the film feels very different, very American, unlike anything made before really.

The song with the feathered girls, "I feel like a lolly-pop" (or something) feels like light years back to me, ancient history. But no matter how dated it might look, it still makes a delightful time capsule of late Fifties New York today. I think it's this is one of the first films made aspiring filmmakers realize they could shoot an independent film, without Hollywood, improvised and without a real budget. Seymour Cassel, who acted and was involved in SHADOWS, claims it was Jules Dassin's THE NAKED CITY (1948) that was the first and inspired them all, but I think this was the one that really opened the eyes of aspiring independent American filmmakers.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10

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