ponedjeljak, 12. studenoga 2012.

Martin Scorsese - My Voyage to Italy

4-satni film u kojem Scorsese odaje počast talijanskim filmovima koji su utjecali na njega, osobito Rossellinijevim.

To most the question of what is your favourite Martin Scorsese film is one that will be answered with very few answers. Taxi Driver most likely but if not that then probably Raging Bull or Godfellas. There’ll probably even be a few that would opt for King of Comedy, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed or even Shutter Island but one thing would most likely be near unanimous, the film picked would be a fiction film. When asked this question recently I answered without a seconds pause, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (a slight cheat as this is better known as a TV series but it has been shown theatrically).
Scorsese’s 1995 documentary A Personal Journey… to me is probably the best thing Scorsese has ever made and is the only film of his that I have never tired of watching. Over the 225 minute runtime Scorsese guides you through his favourite American films and why he loves them. As the title would suggest it is an entirely personal journey and therefore an entirely subjective one, but this is perhaps its greatest strength. It is a pleasure to watch and a film that I have happily returned to again and again.
This is in contrast to Scorsese’s fiction films, which I have found more and more disappointing as his career has gone on and even his earlier films look less accomplished under the scrutiny of re-watches. Some of the camera work and compositional choices in Cape Fear, for instance, are baffling, frustrating and down right daft and grate a great deal the first time and even more so with further viewings. Whilst my joy at watching Scorsese’s fiction films has greatly diminished the pleasure at watching him curate a collection of clips and recall his first experiences with certain films has lost none of its sheen.
Scorsese clearly loves cinema and this shines through A Personal Journey… and also his love letter to Italian cinema, My Voyage to Italy. Again choosing to present this journey as an entirely subjective one Scorsese takes the viewer in hand and leads them through a selection of Italian films that left a profound impression on him, stopping short of moving into the late sixties and beyond.
Scorsese finds epic scope in silent classics such as Cabiria, beauty in the work of Rossellini, truth in the work of the so called neo-realists, particularly Vittorio De Sica and fascination in the more thrilling modernity of directors such as Fellini. His observations are those born out of a love of the films and what they mean to him not out of critical considerations, although these occasionally slip in.
The film’s strength is in his personal recollections though and his passionate decelerations of love for the clips he shares with us. When he does move into more critical areas, analysing the way in which certain films work, things tend to get a little derailed and pronouncements regarding the films are little vague and lacking substance. These diversions are minor though and for the most part his commentary is impassioned and absorbing.
With the overwhelming way in which cinematic marketing materials seem to be dominating discussions surrounding films there are too few voices reaching mainstream audiences that are actually talking about film, sharing a passion for films and in particular for foreign language and ‘old’ films. Scorsese has a position within the popular consciousness that affords him the opportunity to add greatly to this discussion and here he provides the casual film fan with a list of must-see Italian films and an impassioned plea to watch them.
When shown on TCM in 2002 the documentary was followed by a host of Italian films and this is exactly the desire one has once the credits roll, to gorge on everything Italian cinema has to offer.
The quality of the image on this Mr. Bongo DVD is not particularly pleasing to the eye and a lot of the clips are of very poor quality but this is all as source (Scorsese amusingly replicates his own TV experience of the films at one point) and the disc adds nothing negative to the film visually. The audio is equally uninspiring but is clear and always easy to understand.
Please note, I have not graded the disc or gone into greater detail about the release as the DVD received for review appeared to be an unfinished check disc and not entirely representative of the final release. -  

Raised on the neo-realist films that played on his family's RCA Victor television during the late 1940s and early '50s, Martin Scorsese celebrates his passion for early Italian cinema with Il Mio Viaggio in Italia (My Voyage to Italy). These were among Scorsese's earliest memories, ones that would influence his work as a director. Standing on the roof of his childhood home in Corona, Queens, Scorsese readily admits that his vision is a unique blend of American and Italian influences. While Scorsese's voyage through Italy's cinematic origins does not make any direct reference to the director's own films, the documentary is an essential companion piece to A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. Most importantly, though, My Voyage to Italy is Scorsese's defense of neo-realism as a philosophical art movement that sorted through the damage WWII did to Italy.
Images from Open City passionately compliment Scorsese's recollection of how Roberto Rossellini's film provided his family with a visual link to their lost homeland. They saw in effect what they left behind—a country about to be torn apart by Hitler and Mussolini's fascism. Rossellini's Trilogy of War (Open City, Paisan, and Germany, Year Zero), along with Luchino Visconti's La Terra Trema, dissolved the lines between documentary and fiction. Early Italian films like Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria and Enrico Guazzoni's Fabiola provide secret doors into Italy's past while Rossellini's concern for the freedom and sacrifice of Italy's people inspired Scorsese. For him, the clarity of Rossellini's vision becomes a near-religious experience.
Rossellini, like De Sica, encountered many monetary problems during filmmaking, which were easily eliminated by the use of real locations and by hiring non-professional actors. These rigorous limitations only amplified the harsh realities of many of these works, primarily De Sica's Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thief. Scorsese is at his most personal when voicing his affection for De Sica and Rossellini, two filmmakers that engaged a humanistic dialectic between fear and hope. Scorsese calls Rossellini's The Flowers of St. Francis a work of "harrowing compassion," a film that addresses the nature of compassion with the same vigilance that Rossellini's The Miracle celebrates the endurance of faith in the aftermath of the Holocaust and WWII.
Scorsese calls specific attention to Guazzoni's Fabiola, a prime example of how Italy's directors precisely and effortlessly reconstructed the architecture of their ancient culture. Scorsese's love for the beauteous décor of Guazzoni's sets is akin to his admiration for the ornate nature of churches which, in turn, seems to explain the director's own rigorous directing style. "If Stendhal had a camera, it would be like Senso," says Scorsese of Visconti's elaborate melodrama. Scorsese's deconstruction of Senso is of vital importance for it seemingly explains how Visconti's communist-tainted aristocratic upbringing informed the director's Marxist approach to filmmaking. Scorsese draws our attention toward Senso's colorful cinematography and how it monochromatically crumbles by film's end. Scorsese's documentary becomes more than just a celebration of the films that have shaped his style (indeed, Senso is all over The Age of Innocence), but an encouragement of active spectatorship.
Visconti worked through artifice to get to the truth, a natural evolution for Italian cinema after its neo-realist origins. After Visconti there was Federico Fellini, whose I Vitelloni served as an influence for Mean Streets (the only Scorsese film alluded to in My Voyage to Italy). Scorsese's analysis of I Vitelloni is especially relevant because it suggests that all Italian cinema up until that point, to some degree or another, was concerned with the emotional and physical isolation of the Italian citizen within their country. The men of I Vitelloni are desperate to leave Italy, yet they are afraid of losing its comfort—a relationship echoed in the relationship between New York and the men of Mean Streets. The decadence of La Dolce Vita is in sharp contrast to that of early neo-realist films; times have changed and, according to Scorsese, Fellini's vision (his "scientific temperament") was very much about the "now."
While My Voyage to Italy is never less than engaging, Scorsese only superciliously addresses the influence these films had on his own style (almost the entire film has been reconstructed from archival footage). While this may make for a particularly unselfish journey, My Voyage to Italy works best as a course in Italian cinema, from Rossellini's Open City to Fellini's 8 1/2. Of course, if one is familiar with Scorsese, the ties between Italian cinema and the director's own films should be more than obvious. Of The Miracle, Scorsese says: "Christianity is meaningless if it can't allow the elemental nature of sin." The film's emotionally volatile evocation of humanity's sacredness set adrift on a prison island might as well be the framework for any of Scorsese's New York-set pictures. Scorsese's own concern with the conflict between material and emotional worlds can be found in the documentary's mesmerizing study of Antonioni's L'Eclisse. My Voyage to Italy is Scorsese's personal response to Italian films that shaped his world, films where "nothing but time stared back at us." This riveting memento mori, like 8 1/2 to Fellini, is Scorsese's pure expression of love for the cinema. - by Ed Gonzalez


Martin Scorsese: My Voyage to Italy

My Voyage to Italy is Martin Scorsese's four hour long paean to Italian cinema. Don't go by the length of the movie, it is hardly an encylopaedic survey, let alone even a complete and an objective one, rather it is a personal account of how movies from a particular country and culture influenced him when he was growing up and helped him become the person and filmmaker that he eventually became. Scorsese himself comes from an Italian background. His grandparents emigrated from Sicily in the 1920s and settled in a New York neighbourhood. It was there that Scorsese was born and grew up. The documentary starts with him recounting his family history and showing footage of family movies about how those Italian emigrants kept their traditions and cultures alive. And one way to keep oneself connected to the home country was the movies which used to be come on his sixteen inch TV, sometimes dubbed and sometimes on subtitles.
Scorsese remembers the effect the earliest neo realist films the immediate post war era had on him, specially Open City and Paisan directed by Roberto Rossellini. It is indeed not difficult to imagine what kind of effect these movies could have had on people who had grown up only on Hollywood entertainments. Actual location shootings, no make up, no close-ups, realistic framing, cast of non-professional actors telling the story filled with poverty and despair with unrelentingly and gut wrenchingly downbeat endings -- all in all complete polar opposites to glossy star-studded Hollywood entertainers. Scorsese actually even juxtaposes scenes from Open City with a few scenes from a glossy western, another genre that he used to like. Italian neorealism must surely be the most influential film movement of all time. Andre Bazin (the guru of younger cahiers du cinema critics) championed it in his writings and inspired the cinema verite movement which came to be called the french new wave. Satyajit Ray himself was inspired to make movies after watching The Bicycle Thief.
The whole documentary actually feels like a spirited defense of the neorealist film movement -- which scorsese points out is not just a genre or a style but a filmmaking philosophy, a way of looking at the world. The filmmaker Scorsese most fawns upon is Roberto Rossellini whose Open City is considered the be one of the first and certainly the most influential film of the movement. He shows extensive clips from the movie and explains why people at the time almost took it to be actual news reel footage rather something shot and staged. The film most personally affected him though was another Rossellini film called Paisan which he made not long after Open City. As a kid he was moved and terrified to see a world where kids his age and even younger had to steal and fight for survival. He shows a long clip from an episode from the movie in which an Italian kid befriends a drunk black American Soldier and when he passes out, steals his boots. After a few days he finds the kid again on the streets and demands to be taken to where the kid lives to so that he can get his boots back but when he reaches the slums he is horrified to see the condition in which people live. In another episode from the same film a teenage Italian girl helps a bunch of American soldiers to cross a mine field and falls in love with one of them only to meet a tragic end soon after. Scorsese peppers his commentary with anecdotes from his experiences of watching the film. At one place he compares the accent of his uncle's Italian with that of the American soldier speaking Italian in Paisan.
Scorsese champions almost every other film made by Rossellini. With Germany Year Zero, he says, Italy seemed to have redeemed itself and regained its humanity that it had lost in the fascist period. He then goes on to defend the less well known movies that Rossellini made with Ingrid Bergman. He is all praises for Stromboli and Europa '51 and ecstatic about Voyage to Italy (that's where he takes his title too). These movies were panned by critics at the time (except the French ones) and comprehensively rejected by the audiences. The Italian critics felt that Rosselini had betrayed the working class and the neo realist movement by making melodramas which were actually Ingrid Bergman vehicles more than anything else. Scorsese tries to defend him, and succeeds too, from these criticisms. He also praises two religiously themed Rossellini pictures The Flower of St. Francis, which was about the life of a saint and his followers and The Miracle, about a simpleton woman who thinks she is pregnant with Christ. The Miracle was written by Fellini who also acted in it playing a fraudulent saint who impregnates the woman. Scorsese tries to connect the religious themes of his own movies to these movies that he saw early in his childhood.
It is a little surprising that more than half of the four hour documentary is dedicated to the career of Rosselini. The rest of the documentary is about Vittorio de Sica, Visconti, Fellini and Antonioni. He likes Shoeshine and The Bicycle Thief and I think loves Umberto D. more than the either two. He praises the skill with which de Sica directed the children. Indeed, isn't the performance by the kid in the bicycle thief the greatest performance by a kid in the film history? And I thought the name of the little dog in Umberto D. was Flike, not Flag as the subtitles inform us in this documentary. The Bicycle Thief is certainly my personal favourite of all. Watching the ending sequence after such a long time moved me again. It was actually the first "international art film" that I ever saw, I think it was in 99 when I was in second year of my college. It should have been in my top ten too.
Anyway, he then moves on to Visconti's Ossessione and La Terra Trema and shows extensive footage from the later but reserves the most effusive praises for his colour movie Senso. He calls it the "neorealism of the past" and defends it from its critics who hated its operatic style and visual opulence. He finds the story of I Vitelloni a little too close to his life and wonders what would have happened to him if he didn't "grow up" and become a filmmaker. Surprisingly he skips Nights of Cabiria and La Strada and skips directly to La Dolce Vita and tells us how its release was the highest point of Italian cinema (it still remains) in terms of awards and worldwide recognition (it won the Oscar and the Golden Palm). He then moves on the Antonioni and discusses briefly his revolutionary filmmaking style and compares him with other pioneers who experimented with the cinematic form. He also shows the spellbinding ending sequence of L'Eclisse almost in full. He ends the doc with a long discussion of 8 1/2 which he thinks has been very influential to him in the way he sees himself as a filmmaker.
Overall it is a fantastic and an exhilarating documentary. Indispensable for any movie lover and for those who are not this documentary will certainly have them converted! It is much better than the similar documentay he made on the history of American Cinema called A Personal Journey. I might need to see it again because I had seen it long back and don't remember much now. Anyway, I had hardly seen anything at the time when I saw that film. This documentary is not a text book guide, he skips many movies (Rocco and his Brothers, The Leopard, La Strada, Nights of Cabiria) and doesn't even mention Bertolucci or Pasolini but still it is very informative and very well structured. Also if you don't like endings of the movies to be revealed you may want to postpone watching it before watching the actual movies because for almost all the movies he discusses he shows the entire ending sequence in full. It really works for me even for movies which I had not seen before but can't say for everybody.
A list of Movies discussed in the documentary:
(I haven't seen any Rossellini film apart from Open City. Shoe Shine is another film I am yet to see. Even Raj Kapoor was inspired to make a gritty realistic film after watching it. He acted as a producer to the Hindi film Boot Polish. Visconti is another totally undiscovered territory too.)

Must See's by Scorsese:
Paisan by Roberto Rossellini
The Flower of St. Francis by Roberto Rossellini
Voyage to Italy by Roberto Rossellini
Umberto D. by Vittorio de Sica
Senso by Luchino Visconti
I Vitelloni by Federico Fellini
8 1/2 by Federico Fellini

Other great movies by Scorsese:
Rome Open City by Roberto Rossellini
Germany Year Zero by Roberto Rossellini
Stromboli by Roberto Rossellini
The Miracle by Roberto Rossellini
Europa '51 by Roberto Rossellini
Shoeshine by Vittorio de Sica
The Bicycle Thief by Vittorio de Sica (My Favourite)
Ossessione by Luchino Visconti
La Terra Trema by Luchino Visconti
La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini
L'Avventura by Michelangelo Antonioni (another of my favourite)
L'Eclisse by Michelangelo Antonioni

Martin Scorsese’s Film School: The 85 Films You Need To See To Know Anything About Film

With 11 nominations and five wins for Hugo at the 2012 Oscars, Martin Scorsese remains one of the most influential directors in Hollywood. But what influenced him? Here’s an A-Z list of the films that mattered to Scorsese.
Fast Company’s in-depth profile of Martin Scorsese for the How To Live A Creative Life issue had a compelling by-product: this list of 85 films that the director said most influenced him. When we published this list early this year it generated quite a conversation online. Check out the films here and add your comments below, or just hit Netflix and get watching. Photo by Art Streiber.
Interviewing Martin Scorsese is like taking a master class in film. Fast Company’s four-hour interview with the director for the December-January cover story was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact, all listed below.
Some of the movies he discussed (note: the descriptions for these are below in quotes, denoting his own words). Others he just mentioned (noted below with short plot descriptions and no quotes). But the cumulative total reflects a life lived entirely within the confines of movie making, from his days as a young asthmatic child watching a tiny screen in Queens, New York to today, when Scorsese is as productive as he’s ever been in his career--and more revered than ever by the industry that once regarded him as a troublesome outsider. Hugo leads the Academy Award nominations with 11 nods, including Best Picture and Best Director. Several Oscar pundits believe he’ll nab his second Directing win. If so, he owes a lot to movies like the ones below.
Ace in the Hole: "This Billy Wilder film was so tough and brutal in its cynicism that it died a sudden death at the box office, and they re-released it under the title Big Carnival, which didn’t help. Chuck Tatum is a reporter who’s very modern--he’ll do anything to get the story, to make up the story! He risks not only his reputation, but also the life of this guy who’s trapped in the mine." 1951
All That Heaven Allows: In this Douglas Sirk melodrama, Rock Hudson plays a gardener who falls in love with a society widow played by Jane Wyman. Scandale! 1955
America, America: Drawn directly from director Elia Kazan’s family history, this film offers a passionate, intense view of the challenges faced by Greek immigrants at the end of the 19th century. 1963
An American in Paris: This Vincente Minnelli film, with Gene Kelly, picked up the idea of stopping within a film for a dance from The Red Shoes. 1951
Apocalypse Now: This Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece is from a period when directors like Brian DePalma, John Milius, Paul Schrader, Scorsese and others had great freedom--freedom that they then lost. 1979
Arsenic and Old Lace: Scorsese is a big fan of many Frank Capra movies, and this Cary Grant vehicle is one of several that he’s enjoyed with his family at his office screening room. 1944
The Bad and the Beautiful: Vincente Minnelli directed this film about a cynical Hollywood mogul trying to make a comeback. It stars Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon, and Dick Powell. 1952
The Band Wagon: “It’s my favorite of the Vincente Minnelli musicals. I love the storyline that combines Faust and a musical comedy, and the disaster that results. Tony Hunter, the lead character played by Fred Astaire, is a former vaudeville dancer whose time has passed, and who’s trying to make it on Broadway, which is a very different medium of course. By the time the movie was made, the popularity of the Astaire/Rogers films had waned, raising the question of what are you going to do with Fred Astaire in Technicolor? So, really, Tony Hunter is Fred Astaire--his whole reputation is on the line, and so was Fred Astaire’s.” 1953
Born on the Fourth of July: Produced by Universal Pictures under Tom Pollock and Casey Silver, this Tom Cruise movie (directed by Oliver Stone) was an example of how that studio “wanted to make special pictures,” says Scorsese. 1989
Cape Fear: As he once explained to Steven Spielberg over dinner in Tribeca, one of Scorsese’s fears about directing a remake of this film was that, “The original was so good. I mean, you’ve got Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, it’s terrific!” 1962
Cat People: Simone Simon plays a woman who fears that she might turn into a panther and kill. It sounds corny, but the psychological thrills that directors Jacques Tourneur got out of his measly $150,000 budget make this a fascinating movie, with amazing lighting. 1942
Caught: “There are certain styles I had trouble with at first, like some of Max Ophuls’ films. It took me till I was into my thirties to get The Earrings of Madame de…, for example. But I didn’t have trouble with this one, which I saw in a theater and which is kind of based on Howard Hughes [protagonist of The Aviator].” 1949
Citizen Kane: “Orson Welles was a force of nature, who just came in and wiped the slate clean. And Citizen Kane is the greatest risk-taking of all time in film. I don’t think anything had even seen anything quite like it. The photography was also unlike anything we’d seen. The odd coldness of the filmmaker towards the character reflects his own egomania and power, and yet a powerful empathy for all of them--it’s very interesting. It still holds up, and it’s still shocking. It takes storytelling and throws it up in the air.” 1941
The Conversation: Gene Hackman stars in this thrilled directed by Scorsese’s friend, Francis Ford Coppola. It’s a classic example of studio risk-taking in the early 1970s. 1974
Dial M for Murder: When discussing the creation of Hugo, Scorsese referred to this Hitchcock film as an example of other directors who have tangled with 3-D over the years. In its original release most theaters only showed it in 2-D; now the 3-D version pops up in theaters from time to time.1954
Do The Right Thing: Spike Lee’s film was the kind of risky production that drew Scorsese to Universal Pictures when it was run by Casey Silver and Tom Pollack. “Then Pollock left,” says Scorsese, “and it all changed.” 1989
Duel in the Sun: Scorsese went to see this movie, which some critics called “Lust in the Dust,” when he was 4 years old. Jennifer Jones falls hard for a villainous Gregory Peck in this lush King Vidor picture. A poster of the movie hangs in Scorsese’s offices. 1946
The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse: Rex Ingram made this movie, in which Rudolph Valentino dances the tango. Ingram stopped making films when sound came in. Michael Powell’s father worked for Ingram; living in that milieu gave Michael the cultural knowledge that informed his own movies like The Red Shoes. 1921
Europa ’51: “After making The Flowers of St. Francis, Rossellini asked, what would a modern-day saint be like? I think they based it on Simone Weil, and Ingrid Bergman played the part. It really takes everything we’re dealing with today, whether it’s revolutions in other countries or people trying to change their lifestyles, and it’s all there in that film. The character tries everything, because she has a tragedy in her family that really changes her, so she tries politics and even working in a factory, and in the end it has a very moving resolution.” [Also known as The Greatest Love] 1952
Faces: “[Director John] Cassavetes went to Hollywood to shoot films like A Child is Waiting and Too Late Blues, and after Too Late Blues he became disenchanted. Those of us in the New York scene, we kept asking, 'What’s Cassavetes doing? What’s he up to?' And he was shooting this film in his house in L.A. with his wife Gena Rowlands and his friends. And when Faces showed at the New York Film Festival, it absolutely trumped everything that was shown at the time. Cassavetes is the person who ultimately exemplifies independence in film.” 1968
The Fall of the Roman Empire: One of the last “sandal epics,” this sweeping Anthony Mann picture boasted a stellar cast of Sophia Loren, Anthony Boyd, James Mason, Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, and Anthony Quayle. And it failed miserably at the box office. 1964
The Flowers of St. Francis: “This Rossellini movie and Europa ’51 are two of the best films about the part of being human that yearns for something beyond the material. Rossellini used real monks for this movie. It’s very simple and beautiful.” 1950
Force of Evil: Another picture that defined the American gangster image, this noir stars John Garfield as the evil older brother whose younger sibling won’t join his numbers-running conglomerate. 1948
Forty Guns: Barbara Stanwyck stars in this Sam Fuller Western. She plays a bad-ass cattle rancher with a soft spot for a local lawman. 1957
Germany Year Zero: “Roberto Rossellini always felt he had an obligation to inform. He was the first one to do a story about compassion for the enemy, in this film--it’s always been hard to find, but now there’s a Criterion edition. It’s a very disturbing picture. He was the first one to go there after the war, to say we all have to live together. And he felt cinema was the tool that could do this, that could inform people.” 1948
Gilda: “I saw this when I was 10 or 11, I had some sort of funny reaction to her, I tell you! Me and my friends didn’t know what to do about Rita Hayworth, and we didn’t really understand what George McCready was doing to her. Can you imagine? Gilda at age 11. But that’s what we did. We went to the movies.” 1946
The Godfather: “Gordon Willis did the same dark filming trick on The Godfather as he had done on Klute. And now audiences accepted it, and went along with it, and every director of photography and now every director of photography of the past 40 years owes him the greatest debt, for changing the style completely--until now, of course, with the advent of digital.” 1972
Gun Crazy: A romantic example of film noir, this one features a gun-toting husband and a sharpshooting wife. 1950
Health: This Altman movie came out at the same time as King of Comedy. They were both flops, and we were both out. The age of the director was over. E.T. was a very big worldwide hit around then, and that changed the whole business of film finance. 1980
Heaven’s Gate: Scorsese was with United Artists in the '70s, with producers he describes as ”understanding and supportive.” Heaven’s Gate, one of the ambitious films UA backed at the time, was a critical and box office bomb, although its reputation has improved over the years. 1980
House of Wax: This was the first 3-D movie produced by a major American studio. It starred Vincent Price as a wax sculptor whose sourcing was, shall we say, unusual. 1953
How Green Was My Valley: “I appreciate the visual poetry of [director John] Ford’s film, like in the famous scene where Maureen O’Hara is married and the wind blows the veil on her head. It’s absolute poetry. No words. It’s all there in the image.” 1941
The Hustler: Scorsese liked the Paul Newman character (Eddie Felson) in this movie so much that when Newman came calling about a possible update of the movie, he agreed to direct The Color of Money. He says the movie’s box office success helped rehabilitate his career after a tough slog. 1961
I Walk Alone: One of several movies that Scorsese says clearly defined the American gangster ideal, this one stars Burt Lancaster and the smoldering Lizabeth Scott. 1948
The Infernal Cakewalk: One of the many George Melies movies that have been restored and can now be seen on DVD. Melies, a French director of silent films, is at the center of the plot of Hugo. 1903
It Happened One Night: “I didn’t think much of this Frank Capra film, until I saw it recently on the big screen. And I discovered it was a masterpiece! The body language of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, the way they related--it’s really quite remarkable.” 1934
Jason and the Argonauts: As part of his film education of his daughter, Scorsese screened a bunch of Ray Harryhausen classics, including this one. 1963
Journey to Italy: “After Rossellini married Ingrid Bergman he wiped the slate clean and left Neo-Realism behind. Instead he made these intimate stories that had a great deal to do with a certain intellectual mysticism, a sense of cultural power. In Viaggio [Viaggio in Italia is the Italian title], for example, the English couple played by George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman are traveling in Naples on vacation while marriage is falling apart, but the land around them--the people the museums, and especially their visit to Pompeii, these thousands of years of culture around them--work on them like a modern miracle. The film is basically two people in a car, and that became the entire New Wave. Kids may not have seen this film, but it’s basically in all the independent film of today.” 1954
Julius Caesar: “This is another example of Orson Welles’ risk-taking, with Caesar’s crew as out-and-out gangsters.” 1953
Kansas City: “This is one of the great jazz movies ever. If you could hang on with Altman, you were going to go on one of the great rides of your lives.” 1996
Kiss Me Deadly: A great example of the noir genre that so inspired Scorsese. This one stars Ralph Meeker as detective Mike Hammer. 1955
Klute: “There are movies that change the whole way in which films are made, like Klute, where Gordon Willis’s photography on the film is so textured, and, they said, too dark. At first this was alarming to people, because they’re used to a certain way things are done within the studio system. And the studio is selling a product, so they were wary of people thinking that it’s too dark.” 1971
La Terra Trema: This Lucchino Visconti film is one of the founding films of Neo-Realism. 1948
The Lady from Shanghai: “The story goes that Welles had to make a film and he was in this railway station, and there were some paperbacks there and he was talking to Harry Cohn of Columbia and he said look, I’ve got the greatest film it’s called Lady from Shanghai, which was this paperback he saw there. And then he made up this story, taking elements of Moby Dick, where he talks about the sharks, and the whole mirror sequence in that picture is unsurpassed. I don’t know if Lady is a noir, but it’s awkward, and it’s brilliant.” 1947
The Leopard: “Visconti and Rossellini and deSica were the founders of Neo-Realism. Visconti went a different way from Rossellini. He made this movie, which is one of the greatest films ever made.” 1963
Macbeth: “This was the first Welles movie I saw, on television. He shot it in 27 days. The look of it, the Celtic barbarism, the Druid priest, this was all very different from other Macbeth productions I’d seen. The use of superimpositions, the effigies at the beginning of the film--it was more like cinema than theatre. Anything Welles did, given his background in radio, was a big risk. Macbeth is an audacious film, set in Haiti of all places.” 1948
The Magic Box: “There were a number of people who felt that they had invented moving pictures. Robert Donat plays William Friese-Greene, one of those people, who’s obsessed from childhood with movement and color. Donat was a great actor. And this is a beautifully done film.” 1951
M*A*S*H: “I saw it at a press screening. That was the first football game I ever understood. Altman developed this style that came out of his life and making television movies, it was so unique--and his movies seemed to come out every two weeks.” 1972
A Matter of Life and Death: “This is another beautiful film by Powell and Pressburger, but it was made after World War II, so people said, ‘You can’t use the word ‘Death’ in the title!’ So it got changed to Stairway to Heaven, that’s what it was called in America. Now it’s A Matter of Life and Death again.” 1946
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: “This is an absolute masterpiece. Altman could shoot quickly and get the very best actors.” 1971
The Messiah: “Rossellini’s last film in this third period, the last film he made before he died, is this beautiful TV film on Jesus. He had planned on making more such films, like one on Karl Marx. He thought TV was the way to reach young people, to educate them. But then of course TV changed.” 1975
Midnight Cowboy: One of the great movies released by UA in its glory days, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. 1969
Mishima: Scorsese describes this Paul Schrader film about the great Japanese author as a “masterpiece.” 1985
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town: In this Frank Capra movie, one of several that Scorsese has screened for his family, Gary Cooper plays a small-town boy who inherits a fortune--and a bevy of big-city sharpies that he can’t quite contend with. 1936
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: Jimmy Stewart stars in this Capra movie, one of the all-time greats, which features a dramatic filibuster. 1939
Nashville: “Altman had a point of view that was uniquely American and an artistic vision to go with it. All his early work pointed to this movie.” 1975
Night and the City: “It’s the essential British noir film. Harry Fabien, played by Richard Widmark, is a two-bit hustler running through the London underworld at night, and he always oversteps, particularly with the gangster played by Herbert Lom. From the very beginning you know Fabien’s going to fail, because he’s up against a power he doesn’t understand. 1950
One, Two, Three: A classic Billy Wilder comedy, starring James Cagney as a Coca-Cola exec in West Berlin. The dialogue crackles. 1961
Othello: "It took (Orson Welles) years to finish this. There were tons of quick cuts, and there’s a wonderful sequence where two people are attacked in a Turkish bath, and it works beautifully. They’re wearing towels, and one is dispatched under the boards. It has a strange North African whiteness. It turns out that he was ready to do the sequence, and the costumes didn’t show up. So he said, let’s put it in a Turkish bath. He had the actors there! He had to shoot it!” 1952
Paisa: “This is my all-time favorite of the Rossellini films.” 1946
Peeping Tom: “Michael Powell himself gambled everything on Peeping Tom and lost in such a way that his career was really ended. The film was so shocking to some British critics and the audience because he had some sympathy, sort of, for the serial killer. And the killer had the audacity to photograph the killing of the women with a motion picture camera, which of course tied in the motion picture camera as an object of voyeurism, implicating all of us watching horror films. He was reviled. One critic said this should be flushed down the toilet. He only got one or two more movies done. He really disappeared. And now in England there are cameras watching everyone all over the street.” 1960
Pickup on South Street: Richard Widmark picks up the wrong purse in this classic noir, unwittingly setting off a series of events that come to a violent climax. 1953
The Player: “In the years before this movie, the age of the director who had a free hand came to an end. And yet Altman kept experimenting with different kinds of actors, different approaches to narrative, different equipment, until finally he hit it with this movie, which took him off onto a whole other level.” 1992
The Power and the Glory: “Directed by William K. Howard and written by Preston Sturges, it had a structure that Mankiewicz and Welles used for Citizen Kane.” 1933
Stagecoach: “Welles drew from everywhere. The ceilings and the interiors in John Ford’s classic Western inspired him for Citizen Kane.” 1939
Raw Deal: NOT the Arnold Schwarzenegger pic. This one’s a noir directed by Anthony Mann, starring Dennis O’Keefe and Claire Trevor. 1948
The Red Shoes: “There’s something so rich and powerful about the story, and the use of the color, that it deeply affected me when I was 9 or 10 years old. The archness of the approach, and how serious the ballet dancers were … When they say, “The spotlight toujours on moi,” they mean it! The ballet sequence is almost like the first rock video. It’s almost as if you’re seeing what the dancer sees and hears and feels as she’s moving. It’s like in Raging Bull, where we never went outside the ring for the fighting sequences.” 1948
The Rise of Louis XIV: “In the third part of his career, Rossellini decided to make an encyclopedia, a series of didactic films. This is the first film in that series, and it’s an artistic masterpiece. He shot it in 16mm for TV, and called it anti-dramatic. Yet, I screen it once every couple of years, and when you look at frames of it on the big screen there are shots that just look like paintings. Rossellini couldn’t get away from it, he had an artist’s eye. There’s nothing like the last 10 minutes of that film to show the accumulation and the display of power. It’s not done through the sword or the speech, it’s done through the theatre he created around him with his clothes, his food, the way he eats. It’s extraordinary.” 1966
The Roaring Twenties: James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart star in this homage to the gangsters of the 1920s. It was one of the many great films made in 1939 (like Gone with the Wind, The Women, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach and many many more). 1939
Rocco and his Brothers: “This Visconti film was also a major influence on filmmakers.” 1960
Rome, Open City: “I saw Italian movies as a 5-year-old, on a 16-inch TV my father bought. We were living in Queens. There were only three stations. One station showed Italian films on Friday night for the Italian-American community, subtitled, and the family would gather to see the films. My grandparents were there--they were the ones who moved over in 1910. So it became a ritual. [Director Roberto] Rossellini had an intellectual approach.” 1945

Secrets of the Soul:
“This was a silent movie whose flashback structure was unlike anything else. Secrets of the Soul looked almost experimental.” 1912
Senso: “An extraordinary film by Visconti, another Neo-Realist masterpiece.”
Shadows: “I saw Shadows at the 8th Street Playhouse [in Manhattan], and when I saw such a direct communication with the human experience, of conflict and love, it was almost as if there was no camera there at all. And I love camera positions! But this was like you were living with the people.” 1959
Shock Corridor: A wild Sam Fuller movie about a journalist who enters an insane asylum to try to break a story. 1963
Some Came Running: This Vincent Minnelli melodrama is definitely not a musical. It’s a tough story about an alcoholic Army vet returning home. It stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine. 1958
Stromboli: “This too was a very important film of Rossellini’s second period. Very beautiful.” [During the shooting of Stromboli, the star, Ingrid Bergman, who was married to an American dentist, got pregnant with Rossellini’s child. She divorced the dentist, and became persona non grata in America]. 1950
Sullivan’s Travels: “Billy Wilder told me, you’re only as good as your last picture. Sullivan, played by Joel McRae, is in the studio system, under that kind of pressure. He makes comedies, but one day he decides he really wants to make ‘Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?’ He puts it all on the line to learn about the poor. The resolution of the movie is very moving.” 1941
Sweet Smell of Success: Like Ace in the Hole, this classic noir is about an unethical journalist who will stop at nothing to get his way. Burt Lancaster plays the journalist. 1957
Tales of Hoffman: “This was a great risk for Powell and Pressburger. In fact, they lost it on that. He had in mind a composed film like a piece of music, and played the music back on set during the shooting, so the actors moved in a certain way.” 1951
The Third Man: “Carroll Reed made one of those films where everything came together. It made me see, with Kane, that there was another way of interpreting stories, and another approach to the visual frame of the classical films…all those low shots, and the cuts.” 1949
T-Men: Another Anthony Mann noir with great cinematography, this one’s about Department of Treasury men breaking up a counterfeiting ring. 1947
Touch of Evil: “Welles’ radio career with the Mercury Theater made him a master of the soundtrack. Just listen to this movie--you can close your eyes and imagine everything that is happening." (Young people should listen to the radio soundtrack of War of the Worlds, which was so effective that people got in their cars and started to drive away, because they really believed that Martians were attacking.)
The Trial: “This is another film that gave us a new way of looking at films. You’re very aware of the camera, like when Anthony Perkins came running down this corridor of wooden slats and light cutting the image, blades and shafts of light, talk about paranoia!” 1962
Two Weeks in Another Town: The Vincente Minnelli movie stars Cyd Charisse, Kirk Douglas, and Edward G. Robinson. It’s a classic 1960s melodrama. 1962
Correction: Raw Deal was amended to reflect its release date of 1948.
Orson Welles directed the stage version of Julius Caesar; Joseph Mankiewicz directed the film.

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