The 50 Best New York City Movies

23. Shadows (1959)

Director: John Cassavetes
Leading Actors: Ben Carruthers, Leila Goldoni, Hugh Hurd, Anthony Ray
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: Midtown, Lower East Side

Shadows follows a black family in the '50s as they encounter racism, subtle and blatant, among the "forward-thinking" jazz set in New York. Ben manages to fit into both white and black social groups and feels frustration from both. His brother Hugh struggles to find respect as a singer in the club scene where he makes decent money, but no one seems too interested in his talents. Leila, their sister, is a beautiful young girl who wants so badly to be in love that she allows herself to become involved with a racist who doesn't realize she's black. The family's hurt plays against the wall-to-wall jazz score that mimics the improvised dialogue and frenetic editing. —GT

"Gritty Realism"

blog comments powered by Disqus