The Shadow Box (1980 TV Movie)
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Stylistically, the film is crap, rubbish, TV garbageabsolutely no art, no artistic means, no subtlety, no modulationsno skill or craft whatsoeverit's brutally bad and primitive and clumsy. No scene is well made. No effort whatsoever was made to transfer the play from the stage on the screen. And this is annoying because it comes from a man that showed an unusual skill with the first movie he ever directed ("Rachel ").
It looks like Newman was completely out of inspiration when he made this film. The absence of any art is conspicuous.
The movie is involuntarily (I assume) and uselessly sexy, because Mrs. Woodward doesn't have a bra and one can see her _pokey nipples for most of her scenes.
Very little,if any,is told by Newman through cinematic means;here he doesn't really uses the resources of his art.The film is sloppy and clumsy and it sounds fake. It's whole conception was phony, and this results in the film looking morbid and exploitative and melodramatic in the worst way . Newman can't really be excused, because he is the author of one of the best American movies ever (" Rachel ");but is "Rachel " was exquisitely crafted and minutely conceived and artistic throughout, " SB" is just sloppy and strident.
I have seen 5 of the 6 movies that Newman directed; Rachel, Rachel (1968) ,his very first one,is,as I have already stated, a delicious masterpiece, impressive and exquisitely made; The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972) is averagealready not as good as the previous one;the psychological content is less well enunciated and delineated; The Glass Menagerie (1987) is very average; Harry & Son (1984) is average at best, and very unappealing,as if Newman was becoming Eastwood ;while The Shadow Box (1980) is mere slapdash. As a matter of fact, the psychological investigation is absent, is inexistent in this film.