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Out of the Shadows
February 21, 2004 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Out of the shadows. John Cassavetes' dumped and reshot much of the first version of his film 'Shadows'. Critics who were able to compare it to the second 'more Hollywood' version thought it was a very bad mistake, that by censoring the original he was depriving the world of the modern classic and something which could have influenced film makers for years. It disappeared into legend. There was only one surviving print and Cassavetes himself didn't even know where that went. Ray Carney spent decades obessively searching for it, even though he suspected it to be an impossible task. Then he heard that someone might have left it in a box in a subway in the 60s because it wasn't the porn film they had been expecting ...
posted by feelinglistless (12 comments total)

 
Interesting article. The quixotic quest for the missing film strikes me as sort of a real life equivalent to Auster's Book of Illusions, eh?
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:38 PM on February 21, 2004


Wow. Quite incredible. I'm struck by just how wonderfully obsessive this guy is - spending hours and hours piecing together clues from the second version about when different scenes were filmed, doing the interviews and research for so many years to find this thing. Totally compulsive, but it's great that somebody cares this much.
posted by Dasein at 1:49 PM on February 21, 2004


Carney's excitement over finding Shadows version 0.1 should be set above the typical arcana of film studies, not just because of the sleuthing involved but because his writing on Cassavetes' work is really good. There's plenty of it at his Cassavetes site, also linked from the Guardian piece.
posted by liam at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2004


Notice how he refused to comment on whether the first version of Shadows met the expectations of being much better than the second version. I, for one, am disappointed, that he withheld judgement.
posted by gregb1007 at 4:27 PM on February 21, 2004


You have to admire that level of obsession.
posted by dejah420 at 7:55 PM on February 21, 2004


Notice how he refused to comment on whether the first version of Shadows met the expectations of being much better than the second version.

It would be a crushing disappoinment if, after a lifetime of hunting for the holy grail, you found it and it turned out to be a McDonalds' Happy Meal cup, perhaps.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on February 21, 2004


mysoginist?
posted by shoepal at 8:37 PM on February 21, 2004


let me be the first, then, to mention that the released version of shadows is absolutely no slouch. it's still a vibrant, often euphoric film, classic cassavettes if you will. while i understand the ideological reasoning behind wanting to find the "first, rawest version" of shadows, it bears mentioning that it's not as if the version everybody has seen is somehow a lesser film than it should be. i for one don't think it compares to, say, 'faces', but ... whatever, you know what i mean. just for the record and all.
posted by oog at 8:40 PM on February 21, 2004


If you think that's incredible, you should check out the "restoration" of Lon Chaney's London After Midnight made completely with publicity stills. There are similar versions of Murnau's Four Devils and the full-length version of von Stroheim's Greed. TCM shows 'em every once in a while.
posted by hyperizer at 9:26 PM on February 21, 2004


Great article! I'm completely disappointed that he didn't review the first film, though. I was so looking forward to it!
posted by Hildegarde at 9:36 PM on February 21, 2004


I want to see the longer version of Faces, yo! I never really liked Shadows that much; maybe I'd like this one more.

And what about the long-lost musical version of Woman Under the Influence? (/joke)

Also, shoepal, your link is 404. Care to make a point instead?

Viva Cassavetes!
posted by squirrel at 10:48 AM on February 22, 2004


It would be a crushing disappoinment if, after a lifetime of hunting for the holy grail, you found it and it turned out to be a McDonalds' Happy Meal cup, perhaps.

My favorite Halan Ellison short story is "Grail" and it tells a story very similar.
posted by Cyrano at 11:50 AM on February 22, 2004


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