Ray Carney On Life and Art
The John Cassavetes Pages/The Independent Film Pages/The Film and Other Arts Pages

Suggestions on finding your way around the site
(It would be a good idea to leave this page visible in a second window while you
access other pages of the site via the page that you used to bring up this one.)

First, turn off all “pop-up blocking” you may have on your computer. The site uses pop-ups to link pages. There is no downside to this. You will not have annoying advertising banners inflicted on you. You will not be transported to other sites. This site is non-sponsored and completely non-commercial. There is no advertising. That is why it can provide truly independent judgments, not influenced by commercial pressures. You will need to be able to access pop–up windows to move around in it. (If you are unsure how to turn it off, click here.)

Second, although a search engine is provided in the left menu on each of the site pages and on the bottom of the three main Splash pages, it recommended that you not rely on it to find things. It is not the best way to move through the site or to locate a subject. Entering a word or phrase almost always brings up too many results to sort through -- though you can greatly improve your results by using quote marks ("grouping together a group of words like this") to identify search phrases longer than a single word. Click here to access the search engine.

You should be able to find anything you are looking for faster and better by navigating your way to the proper location on the site with a few clicks. An overview of the layout of the site follows.

There are four major gateways into the site material:

"The Home Page"
"The John Cassavetes Pages"
"The Independent Film Pages"
"The Film and the Other Arts Pages"

Each of these four sections contains different information about Ray Carney's work, including many different interviews with him, excerpts from his Mailbag (which also contains information about news and events), selections from essays, interviews, and books by him about particular topics, and information about how to obtain more writing by him (in the "Bookstore"). Rolling your cursor over the graphics on these four pages will show you what specific areas and topics are available from each of the four sections.

"The Home Page" contains rollover images that will take you to the following sections of the site:

  • "About Ray Carney"
  • "Ray Carney's Mailbag"
  • "The John Cassavetes Pages"
  • "The Independent Film Pages"
  • "The Film and the Other Arts Pages"

“The John Cassavetes Pages” contain subsections devoted to:

  • A book on the making of Shadows and information about Prof. Carney's discovery of alternate prints of Shadows (the long-lost "first version") and Faces (the lost "long edit"). There is more information about both of these topics in the "Ray Carney's Discoveries" section (see below).
  • The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism, and the Movies
  • An overview of John Cassavetes’ life and work, including two different chronologies of events in Cassavetes' life (one covering his early years and one dealing with the final years of his life and the years after his death) and a photo gallery of events in Cassavetes’ life
  • Cassavetes on Cassavetes
  • John Cassavetes: The Adventure of Insecurity. A pocket guide to the films
  • A summary of other books and articles about Cassavetes

“The Independent Film Pages” contain subsections devoted to:

  • The Independent Vision–What is independent about independent film?
  • The Films of Mike Leigh–the example of a British indie
  • The Real Independent Movement: A forthcoming book
  • Carney on Culture: Reflections on the awfulness of American film reviewing
  • The films of the Beat movement
  • News and events connected with independent film, including information about new films, young filmmakers, and indie film events Ray Carney has curated at the Harvard Film Archive and elsewhere, and guest essays about independent film by Andrew Bujalski, Donal Foreman, Charles Lyons, and others.

“The Film and the Other Arts Pages” contain subsections devoted to:

  • American Painting: Homer, Eakins, Sargent, and Hopper
  • A forthcoming book on Henry James–The Heroic Mind
  • A forthcoming book on American painting
  • Academic Animadversions–Statements about the problems with academic film criticism and the teaching of film in our universities
  • The Films of Carl Dreyer
  • The Films of Frank Capra

There are six other major sections of the site:

“About Ray Carney”–A summary of Ray Carney’s career, lectures, and publications; reviews of his books; press coverage of his work; information about the Boston University film program and answers to frequently asked questions about it; samples of his course syllabi; a list of his viewing recommendations; and letters to him from students and artists, with a few of his replies.

This section is accessible from the top of the "Home" page, the bottom of "The Independent Film Pages" and “The Film and Other Arts Pages,” and from the left menu of every inner page.

“Ray Carney’s Discoveries”–News about the new versions of Faces and Shadows, discoveries about new acting and directing credits for Cassavetes, newly discovered events in the filmmaker’s life, and interviews, press coverage, and letters from readers connected with Ray Carney’s discoveries. These pages also tell the story of Prof. Carney’s work on the Criterion project.

This section is accessible from the bottom of “The John Cassavetes Pages” and from the left menu of every inner page.

"Mailbag -- Letters and Replies"–More than 500 of the most interesting or newsworthy letters written to Ray Carney from students and artists (selected from the more than 10,000 a year that Carney receives), along with some of his replies and responses. They include comments about recent films and filmmakers, questions about filmmaking and distribution problems, and updates and reflections on a range of recent issues, including Gena Rowlands's and Al Ruban's attempts to suppress Carney's artistic discoveries.

Note that the Mailbag functions much like a blog. It not only includes Ray Carney's responses to letters from readers, but lists current artistic events and activities, and contains numerous observations about life and art by Ray Carney.

Since it provides an overview of much of the other material on the site, the Mailbag is an ideal place for a new visitor (or a visitor without a lot of time to devote to exploring the site) to start. The Mailbag links directly to many of the most important areas of the site and the final ten or fifteen pages link to many of the most important recent postings on other pages. Click here to go there.

This section is accessible from the left menu of every inner page and from the top menu in the "About Ray Carney" pages.

"Most Popular Topics" – A page itemizing some of the hottest and most often read letters, replies, announcements, and new events in the Mailbag. Clickable links are provided for each topic.

This section is accessible from the left menu of every inner page.

"Viewing Recommendations" – A list of the masterworks of film art, and videotape and DVD rental and purchase sources compiled by Ray Carney and visitors to the site.

This section is accessible from the left menu of every inner page.

“The Bookstore”–Information about how to purchase Ray Carney’s books and essays. Most are available only through this site. Prof. Carney will be glad to autograph and inscribe the item you buy.

This section is accessible from the left menu of every inner page and from the top menu in the “About Ray Carney” pages.

Note that the pages on the site, extensive as they are, only provide a small sample of Prof. Carney’s work. He has written much more than is available here. If you are interested in his views and opinions, it is highly recommended that you obtain the books and essays from which the brief excerpts on the site are taken. The individual sections of the site give information about obtaining books and essays relevant to those sections of the site, and the Bookstore section contains a complete listing of the publications by Prof. Carney currently available and information about how to obtain them.

A summary of the menu system:

You may access each of the ten major sections of the site (the Home page and the three sets of topics listed in the first group on this page and the six subareas listed in the group below them on this page) either from the menus on the four front "splash" pages or from the menus on any of the inner text pages.

On the inner text pages, the left menu is the same on every page. The top ten movie ticket icons give direct access to the ten major sections of the site listed above, and the bottom four movie ticket icons offer various kinds of information about the location of material.

Here is what the bottom four movie ticket icons do: The "Navigation Tips" icon takes you to this page. The "Current Section Table of Contents" icon summarizes the contents of that particular subsection of the site. The "Site Index and New Postings List" provides a master Table of Contents for the entire site as well as a list of recent and newly posted material. The "Search" icon allows various kinds of searches for specific words and phrases.

While the left menu is the same throughout the site, the top menu is different in each of the twenty subsections, but stays the same within each subsection, allowing one-click access to all of the material in that subsection from any page within that subsection. When your cursor rolls over the heading on the white theater marquee, a more complete description of that particular page appears on the black movie theater screen. (All of this same material can also be seen laid out on a single page by clicking on the "Current Section Table of Contents" ticket icon in the left menu.)

When you are done with this page, you may close this window and use the regular site menus to navigate wherever you want to go, or you may jump directly to any of the major sections of the site by clicking on the blue movie ticket icons at the top and bottom of this page. If you do the latter, this window will remain open. You may leave it open throughout your visit to the site if you want to continue to refer to it to help find your way around.

It is highly recommended that, after reading the suggestions above, you use the site's regular menu system to navigate and get around, but if for some reason you would like to scroll through a complete listing of all of the subsections of the site and access a list of new and recently revised postings click here. Be forewarned though, reading this listing can be more confusing than learning to move around the site by using the menus that are available on the regular site pages.

Finally, if you are interested in new postings and recently updated pages, there are two ways to locate such material. One is to scan through the listings on the page the preceding link takes you to. Postings from the last 90 Days are marked New! Another way to locate new or recently updated postings is to go to the "Mailbag" section of the site (accessible by clicking the "Mailbag Letters and Replies" button at the top or bottom of this page) and read through the last few pages. Since the "Mailbag" functions similarly to a blog, allowing frequent readers of the site to comment on recent postings and Ray Carney, the creator of the site, to draw readers' attention to new material, its final pages (which are constantly being updated and added to) provide links to or discussions of the most important or newsworthy new postings.