Cinema: The $40,000 Method

Shadows (Gena; Lion International) was made by Actor John Cassavetes, a young Stanislavsky buff long known in show business as a watered-down Brando-on-the-rocks. After a brief boom in television and B movies, Cassavetes in 1956 set up his own actors' studio in Manhattan. There one night his group improvised a scene that suddenly "exploded with life." Cassavetes had a wild idea: Why not improvise a full-length movie?

With $40,000 plus Cassavetes' sensitive and indirect direction, the actors improvised a sincere, original, powerful film. Always crude, often trite, sometimes even phony, this rackety little race opera is nevertheless loaded, like a truck full...

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