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When you consider that the big movies of 1960 were films such as Elmer Gantry and The Alamo, it's hard to imagine what people made of this, John Cassavetes's first independent feature. Improvised by the cast, shot in black and white, it looked like no other film of its time. Cassavetes, seeking to both deal with social issues and create a new kind of cinema, told a story about a family of black siblings in Manhattan trying to make ends meet. But one brother falls in with bad company, while the sister, who is trying to pass for white, gets involved in an interracial romance that ultimately crumbles when the white man she falls for discovers her true identity. Though it meanders at times, it features the kind of spontaneous emotion Cassavetes most wanted to elicit in his films.

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FLV1204 Shadows VHS (1960/John Cassavetes) $7.99