The Savage Eye

Watch The Savage Eye

  • 1959
  • 1 hr 8 min
  • 6.9  (329)

The Savage Eye is a unique and fascinating film that was released in 1959. Directed by Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, and Joseph Strick, the movie is a blend of documentary-style footage and fictional narrative that explores the struggles and desires of several women living in Los Angeles. The film's opening sequence is a montage of images that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. We see shots of crowded streets, neon signs, and bustling city life, as a voiceover narration intones, "This is not a story. This is a journey through a terrifying place, a journey that will lead to the discovery of hidden selves."

The narrative follows a woman named Judith (Barbara Baxley), a divorced mother who has moved to Los Angeles to start a new life. Judith is introduced to the audience through a series of candid, black-and-white shots of her life in New York, before she packs up and heads to California. Once there, she takes on various jobs to survive, including a stint as a switchboard operator, and a job in a department store.

As she navigates her new environment, the film provides vignettes of other women, all of whom are struggling with their own personal issues. There's a young woman who is trying to escape from her oppressive husband, a struggling actress who is constantly reminded of her fading beauty, and a woman who has an affair with a married man. All of these characters are portrayed with sensitivity and depth, and the film explores their lives with remarkable nuance.

Interspersed with these stories are documentary-style footage of Los Angeles itself. The filmmakers highlight the city's stark contrast between opulence and poverty, showcasing both the glittering mansions of Hollywood and the run-down, crime-ridden streets of the inner city. The footage is edited in a way that emphasizes the city's overwhelming, chaotic energy.

Despite the film's non-linear structure, the narrative ultimately coalesces around Judith, who becomes the central figure around which the other women's stories revolve. Through her eyes, the audience experiences the loneliness and disorientation of navigating a new city, and the sense of isolation that comes with a life in which meaningful connections are hard to come by.

The Savage Eye is a remarkable film that successfully integrates fiction and documentary, creating a hybrid that is both evocative and thought-provoking. The film's imagery is haunting and beautiful, while its examination of female desire and the challenges of city life remains just as relevant today as it was in 1959.

The movie boasts a talented cast that includes Gary Merrill, Herschel Bernardi, and Barbara Baxley, who gives a heartbreaking performance as Judith. As a whole, the film is a reminder of the power of cinema to both document and create new worlds, and it remains a poignant exploration of the human experience.

The Savage Eye
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 8 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (329)