“Look, T — I’m trouble!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
When he finally encounters the man whose name he’s been told to give as a contact (Warden’s “Charlie Malick”), we can tell that Cassavetes has a rough history which we’ll presumably learn more about:
We’re especially kept in suspense when Cassavetes befriends Poitier, and ends up being taken under his wing:
In a most refreshing change of pace (at least for films of this era), Poitier and Cassavetes develop a meaningful cross-racial friendship, with Poitier listening closely as Cassavetes gradually shares details about his past.
Soon Poitier is encouraging Cassavetes to take risks with dating, and introduces him to a friend of his wife’s (Maguire):
Things take a dark turn, however, when Warden — a pathological bully — decides to push an issue to its limits, at which point Cassavates must make a challenging decision. To that end, many have pointed out the similarities between this film and On the Waterfront (1954), with both taking place on the docks of New York and featuring a protagonist who must decide whether to “squeal” or not — however, they are different enough to watch and consider on their own merits, and this one, too, remains worth a look.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: