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Short Eyes
Short Eyes
Actors: Bruce Davison, José Pérez, Nathan George, Don Blakely, Tony DiBenedetto
Director: Robert M. Young
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 40min

A look at the life in the tombs manhattans infamous detention center where tensions erupt when a white prisoner accused of child molestation joins their ranks. Studio: Genius Products Inc Release Date: 06/19/2007 Run ti...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Bruce Davison, José Pérez, Nathan George, Don Blakely, Tony DiBenedetto
Director: Robert M. Young
Creators: Miguel Pinero, Peter Sova, Robert M. Young, Edward Beyer, Lewis Harris
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 08/12/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 05/16/1988
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Short eyes has true vision
Michael | New Jersey | 04/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Miguel Pinero is the most underated playwright of modern American theater. His play short eyes shows us the ugly underbelly of American society through the eyes of convicts. It is a play filled with ethnic anomosity racial rivalaries and a rigid moral code which allows no devation. Truly this film version of the stage play is worth looking at. Bruce Davidson performace is complelling and the rest of the cast never miss a beat. It is not for the faint hearted.
Most unfortunate is that Mr. Pinero is no longer with us but some might remember the Miami Vice episodes he penned"
Tough little film
Westley | Stuck in my head | 12/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Short Eyes" was released in 1977 and stars a multi-ethnic cast playing inmates in a Sing-Sing style prison. The prisoners belong to tight groups, divided primarily along racial lines, and co-exist with relatively little violence. They even have a "council," comprised of the leaders of the various groups, that establishes acceptable actions for the prisoners. Into this composition comes Bruce Davison, an alleged child molester, who the prisoners dub "freak" and "short eyes." The story is told rather loosely and episodically, as it moves toward its inevitable but gritty conclusion.

In 1977, "Short Eyes" must have seemed shatteringly realistic and harrowing. Today, the film feels a bit stagy; not surprisingly, the screenplay was based on a play - by noted Puerto Rican playwright, Miguel Pinero (he also has a small part as Go Go). Despite this flaw, the characterizations are solid and the acting is often quite good; Freddy Fender and Curtis Mayfield even show up to sing some songs! In addition, the film explores prison race relations in a startlingly frank and credible manner. Overall, the film is one of the better prison dramas and likely to appeal to fans of 70s cinema.

The DVD extras include an interesting commentary track with the film's director Robert Young as well as director Leon Ichaso, who made "Pinero" based on the life of the playwright. Unfortunately, the film is not subtitled, which would be helpful with the considerable jargon and the rapid-fire delivery of the inmates.
A Little Babble about a Superb Film.
Rayv | Noho, Ma | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had considered writing an extensive review for the film "Short Eyes," but after seeing that fabulous reviews by some users I felt at loss of what to say because it had already been said. After reading those comments made by the reviewers, I feel that I will not want to go through any of the main themes or storyline but babble about what I like in this film adaptation of the play by the late great Pinero.

Indeed, Short Eyes features a superb cast of unknowns and slightly known actors who appeared in film productions of the 70's. I have also heard that the film (like the play) cast several real inmates for the supporting roles and extras. In the introduction of the play "Short Eyes" the writer mentions that the casting of inmates enabled them for a chance to "make the sidewalk." Supposedly, this was also the case for the film.

Jose Perez, previously known for his miscellaneous TV work, is definitely the protagonist of this film. Here he plays Juan, a tough yet compassionate prisoner-janitor who has the courage to question the motives of Clark Davis, the "short eyes freak" played by Bruce Davison. Throughout the film we witness Juan and Clark interacting as a compassionate therapist would act with an emotionally disturbed client. In one scene, Clark reveals to Juan his pedophilic history, which involved a young "rican" girl. Juan is deeply disturbed by this revelation but still tries to understand him instead of killing him "stone-dead" at the instance. Jose Perez would go on to play another compassionate, saintly janitor in the Broadway play Steam Bath.

On that note (did I say note) two musicians were cast for this film: Curtis Mayfield and Freddy Fender. There is also an out of print soundtrack album to this film with songs by both actors/musicians; but pretty much Mayfield had the upper-hand, writing the intro theme song, and other incidental music. If you see this album in your used record store BUY IT!

These two previously mentioned actors were written into the film script but were not in the original play. Miguel Pinero, the author of Short Eyes, appeared in the film as well. Pinero played Gogo, a sly yet unruly prisoner whose part was also written for the film. Although I must say that Pinero has immense talent as a playwright, & as a poet his prose has stood as scriptures for Latino subculture; his acting is barely sufficient and maybe I am saying that because I don't see enough of it to form a substantial belief.

It is too bad that Pinero was left on the sidelines (either writing film scenerios, addicted to some form of narcotics, or most likely involved in a serious criminal act) and was not able to present more creative ideas and projects to the public. His most famous play (the one in question) took an extreme amount of time to see the light of day. Be it working with Tito Goya in Sing Sing (who appeared in the film as Cupcakes and was later executed on a serious murder charge) on the walk throughs, or negotiating with the prison for a drama workshop with Marvin Felix Camillo; Miguel, with the assistants of Joseph Pap, could never have pulled it off alone.

For those who liked Short Eyes and are interested in Miguel Pinero, check out (if you haven't that is ) LA Bodega Sold Dreams a collection of his prose-poems, The Sun Always Shines for the Cool, Outrageous One Act Plays, two collections of sundry plays, raw & fun respectively. For film buffs try to find Miami Vice: The Movie which contains Pinero in a bit part, as well as Breathless (1983), Deal of the Century, and Fort Apache the Bronx which includes Pinero plus Tito Goya.

High Prison Drama
(Mr.) N. Sean Wright | Whiteville, NC USA | 05/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Short Eyes" is not the average prison film.
So if you watch the movie with preconceived ideas
about Hollywood prison life, most likely you
won't like the movie. While all the ingredients of
an accurate inmate experience are included,
it's done so in an intelligent, suggested manner.
There is no sex, no nudity, and minimal violence (though
nonetheless graphic is the violence that does appear).
The lack of these elements would normally turn most
people off who are interested in standard prison flicks.
However, the shortage of visual shock elements works
to the film's advantage. Why? Basically, the viewer
is "forced" to concentrate on the most important feature
of the film: the excellent script/dialogue.

"Short Eyes" invites the viewer into inmate life and examines
the struggles, hypocrisies, and triumphs that exist. This
film is all about the characters and how they survive in a
world that has marginalized them to the point of nonexistance.
In response, the inmates have created their own world. Adequate time
is given to character development, which is a feature of any great film.
The verbal interactions are entertaining and emotionally effective.
The script is a surprisingly direct, straight-from-the-streets dialogue
that you rarely find outside a real life documentary.

"Short Eyes" comes off as a stylized stage production, as it
originally was. No frills; just straight, entertaining drama.
It's a worthwhile film for drama fans.

Also, Curtis Mayfield (who plays a bit part in the film) scored
an uncelebrated, but remarkable soundtrack for the movie. Actually,
"Short Eyes," in general, has been underrated and uncelebrated.
However, that doesn't disqualify it's brilliance."