Martin Ritt's film version of Robert Alan Aurthur's teleplay, A Man Is Ten Feet Tall is a taut, well-acted slice of New York street life. John Cassavettes stars as a troubled young man who finds himself caught between a black man (Sidney Poitier) who has befriended him and the racist, mobbed-up union boss (Jack Warden) of the freight yard where they both work. The film's locus of interest is less its essentially familiar melodrama than in the affecting relationship between Cassavettes and Poiter -- a scenario suggesting that a white man with a tortured psyche could learn self-esteem from compassionate black man was controversial at the time. The film's naturalistic tone, influenced by the forceful Cassavettes, who still felt it was not naturalistic enough, was also considered unusual. Aside from the leads, Warden and Ruby Dee, as Poitier's wife, also do excellent work. In a rare foray into feature film, legendary documentarist Sidney Meyers (The Savage Eye from 1959) served as the film's editor.
by Michael Costello review