The Savage Eye (1959)


The Savage Eye is an experimental hybrid between fiction and documentary, portraying urban life as both a nightmare and a release. The poetic text sometimes contrasts with intriguing, neutral footage. When it was released in 1960, The Savage Eye was seen as an important example of cinema verité. Filmmakers Sidney Meyers, Ben Maddow and Joseph Strick worked on the film for a full four years in their free time. There’s an important role for music, performed by a brass ensemble and composed by Leonard Rosenman, who went on to write scores for films such as Barry Lyndon (1975) and Sybil (1976).

Directors: Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, Joseph Strick.
Writers: Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, Joseph Strick.
Stars: Barbara Baxley, Gary Merrill, Herschel Bernardi, Jean Hidey, Elizabeth Zemach.
Cinematographers: Jack Couffer (photographer), Helen Levitt (photographer), Haskell Wexler (photographer).
Composer: Leonard Rosenman.

1960 BAFTA Awards – Winner of the Robert Flaherty Documentary Award.

Subtitles are available for this movie, to enable them on the video player click on the cogwheel, select the last option (субтитры), then choose between English, French or Spanish.


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  1. Jonathan Shapiro
    December 29, 2022

    Joseph Strick was a wonderful filmmaker. Road Movie (1974) is a neglected classic in need of rediscovery

  2. Allan Morris
    February 3, 2023

    Haskell Wexler’s camera work makes this worth watching. A pretentious narration is intrusive but the visuals of Los Angeles people seemingly unaware of being filmed is what is compelling. The sequence of the healing service did not present the usual stereotypes and in fact, was quite touching.

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