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HISTORY

The Savage Eye was registered twice for copyright by City Film Corp., on 23 Jun 1959 under the number LU3155, and on 26 Nov 1959 under the number LP18981. The onscreen credit for the writers and directors reads: “A Film by Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers and Joseph Strick.” Contemporary reviews and articles on The Savage Eye conflict over the writing and directing credits, in some cases listing Maddow as the sole screenwriter, in other cases crediting Maddow, Meyers and Strick. The NYT review lists Strick as the sole producer. All three are given directorial credit in contemporary sources, except LAMirror-News , which lists Meyers as the sole director. Time credits Meyer as the film's editor. There is also an inconsistency in the reviews over production and distribution company credits. The Var review lists the film as an Edward Harrison release.
       According to reviews and news items, The Savage Eye took four years to photograph in and around Los Angeles. The film is presented in a semi-documentary style, with no direct dialogue, but voice-overs by actress Barbara Baxley, as "Judith McGuire" and her "conscience," voiced by actor Gary Merrill, whose character is listed onscreen as “The Poet.” Although reviews noted that "Kirtz," the character played by Herschel Bernardi, is married, he is never referred to as married in the film, nor is he referred to by name. Instead, Judith merely thinks of him as her "date."
       The film garnered attention during its Aug 1959 premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it won the festival’s top award ... More Less

The Savage Eye was registered twice for copyright by City Film Corp., on 23 Jun 1959 under the number LU3155, and on 26 Nov 1959 under the number LP18981. The onscreen credit for the writers and directors reads: “A Film by Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers and Joseph Strick.” Contemporary reviews and articles on The Savage Eye conflict over the writing and directing credits, in some cases listing Maddow as the sole screenwriter, in other cases crediting Maddow, Meyers and Strick. The NYT review lists Strick as the sole producer. All three are given directorial credit in contemporary sources, except LAMirror-News , which lists Meyers as the sole director. Time credits Meyer as the film's editor. There is also an inconsistency in the reviews over production and distribution company credits. The Var review lists the film as an Edward Harrison release.
       According to reviews and news items, The Savage Eye took four years to photograph in and around Los Angeles. The film is presented in a semi-documentary style, with no direct dialogue, but voice-overs by actress Barbara Baxley, as "Judith McGuire" and her "conscience," voiced by actor Gary Merrill, whose character is listed onscreen as “The Poet.” Although reviews noted that "Kirtz," the character played by Herschel Bernardi, is married, he is never referred to as married in the film, nor is he referred to by name. Instead, Judith merely thinks of him as her "date."
       The film garnered attention during its Aug 1959 premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it won the festival’s top award and was applauded for its stark realism. Critics at the festival described The Savage Eye as “startling,” “disturbing” and “a challenge to conscience.” The film then showed out of competition at the Venice Film Festival in Sep 1959 and received a special award of merit. The Var festival critic called the film “fascinating and uncompromising.”
       Among the many places and situations presented in the film is an uncensored depiction of an actual burlesque show that includes footage of a topless dancer. Later in the film, when Judith admits to having a fixation on cleaning in an attempt to rid herself of “a sin that won’t wash off,” her conscience says: “Ah, masturbation.” This may have been the first time the term was spoken in a theatrically released entertainment feature. Due to these candid sequences, The Savage Eye faced censorship issues when it played in New York, where censors insisted on deleting several words and one scene from the film. A 5 Apr 1961 HR item indicated that a Chicago censor board demanded further cuts in addition to those made in New York. The releasing company, Trans-Lux Corp., refused to make the deletions and appealed, according to law, to Mayor Richard Daley, who reversed the decisions on all cuts. The Savage Eye was then shown in its entirety in Chicago. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Aug 1960.
---
Filmfacts
12 Aug 1960
pp. 167-68.
Hollywood Citizen-News
1 Sep 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1959
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 1960
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1961
p. 1, 4.
LAMirror-News
27 Jul 1960.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Sep 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Jul 60
p. 788.
New York Times
23 Aug 1959.
---
New York Times
7 Jun 60
p. 27.
Time
23 May 1960.
---
Variety
16 Sep 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Kingsley International Presentation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
Contr photog
Contr photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Clarinet
Bass clarinet
Bassoon
Trumpet
Trumpet
Trombone
Percussion
Percussion
Piano
Violin
Double bass
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Tech consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1960
Premiere Information:
World premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival: 26 August 1959
New York opening: 6 June 1960
Copyright Claimants:
City Film Corp. City Film Corp.
Copyright Dates:
23 June 1959 29 November 1959
Copyright Numbers:
LU3155 LP18981
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67-68
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Consumed with bitterness and anger over a failed marriage, recent divorcée Judith McGuire flies into a large city to reconsider her life. In a running interior “discussion” with her conscience, Judith harshly dismisses the relationships of others around her, then caustically acknowledges that she remains completely alone, as through miscarriage and abortion she never had a child. After settling into a modest apartment, Judith lives on bi-monthly alimony checks and for the first few days, remains indoors, seeing no one but the landlady and her cat, hoping vainly to hear from her former husband, Fred. Judith finally ventures out and joins the throngs who struggle to remake themselves through beauty treatments, fanatical exercise and shopping for unnecessary, frivolous items. For a time Judith finds solace in playing cards and gambling. Still brimming with resentment, Judith notes how people congregate everywhere, yet remain alone. She observes how the subsequent loneliness often causes many people to lavish excessive, unnatural attention on a myriad of pets. After coming upon a car accident and its victims, Judith realizes she wants to forgive her husband for his infidelity and her conscience urges her to contact him. Upon telephoning Fred, Judith learns with dismay that he is happy and intends to remarry. In response, an angry Judith begins dating and goes to a roller-skating derby and a wrestling match where the crowds enthusiastically applaud the brutality. One night, Judith accompanies her date to a burlesque club and both pities and admires the women who transform themselves into male fantasies for money. After a New Year’s Eve party, Judith takes her date to her ... +


Consumed with bitterness and anger over a failed marriage, recent divorcée Judith McGuire flies into a large city to reconsider her life. In a running interior “discussion” with her conscience, Judith harshly dismisses the relationships of others around her, then caustically acknowledges that she remains completely alone, as through miscarriage and abortion she never had a child. After settling into a modest apartment, Judith lives on bi-monthly alimony checks and for the first few days, remains indoors, seeing no one but the landlady and her cat, hoping vainly to hear from her former husband, Fred. Judith finally ventures out and joins the throngs who struggle to remake themselves through beauty treatments, fanatical exercise and shopping for unnecessary, frivolous items. For a time Judith finds solace in playing cards and gambling. Still brimming with resentment, Judith notes how people congregate everywhere, yet remain alone. She observes how the subsequent loneliness often causes many people to lavish excessive, unnatural attention on a myriad of pets. After coming upon a car accident and its victims, Judith realizes she wants to forgive her husband for his infidelity and her conscience urges her to contact him. Upon telephoning Fred, Judith learns with dismay that he is happy and intends to remarry. In response, an angry Judith begins dating and goes to a roller-skating derby and a wrestling match where the crowds enthusiastically applaud the brutality. One night, Judith accompanies her date to a burlesque club and both pities and admires the women who transform themselves into male fantasies for money. After a New Year’s Eve party, Judith takes her date to her apartment but remains unmoved by their night together. Goaded by her conscience to cease her self-pitying and reach for life, Judith can only see desperation around her in the homeless, the poor, the elderly and the laborers. She observes that so many people long for sensation and take various roads to satisfactions that seem to lead nowhere. Depressed by her own unsatisfied, lonely desires, Judith attends a religious faith-healing session, during which a minister lays hands on numerous women who fall into raptures. Overcome by a strong feeling of despair at this empty excess, Judith speeds along the freeway and, losing control of her car, crashes. Seriously injured, Judith is transported to the hospital where, during her recovery under the ministrations of a sincere nurse, she begins to relate to humanity again upon observing the numerous people who donate blood for her. In a dream, Judith follows the kind nurse outside where she sees dancers and drag queens and various other social outsiders all embracing their differences and finding happiness. Judith tells her conscience she has decided to “say no to nothingness,” and rejoin the living. Upon being released from the hospital, Judith sees a young couple on a beach and is content to realize she has opened herself up to love again. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.