Directed by Martin Scorsese - 9/17 & 9/24
A friend and contributor at TCM, and one of America's most dynamic and beloved filmmakers, Martin Scorsese has cemented his legacy in the realm of cinema. Known for his gritty, imaginative and ever-evolving style of filmmaking, Scorsese has contributed dozens of classic movies as a producer, director and screenwriter. He has also dedicated himself to preserving and protecting films from the past and from around the world.
TCM salutes Scorsese with a two-night focus on his work from the 1970s, the decade in which he rose to prominence as one of this generation' most important directors. Scorsese will be on hand to host the lineup himself.
Boxcar Bertha (1972), Scorsese's second feature film, was produced by Roger Corman and released through American International Pictures, which specialized in low-budget, independently produced films. Barbara Hershey stars as Bertha Thompson, a criminal who was involved with railroad workers during the Great Depression. David Carradine costars as her lover, a union organizer who also turns to crime. In reviewing the film at the time, Roger Ebert wrote that it transcended its exploitation-film roots and revealed Scorsese to be "one of the bright young hopes of American movies."
Mean Streets (1973), Scorsese's follow-up to Boxcar Bertha, also dealt with impulsive young criminals but was a much more personal film that drew from the director's memories of where he grew up, New York City's Little Italy. Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, actors who would become closely associated with Scorsese, star as young friends facing a bleak future as small-time hoods. Pauline Kael described the film as "dizzingly sensual" and "a true original, a triumph of personal filmmaking."
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) earned Ellen Burstyn an Oscar® for her performance as Alice, a widow searching for a better life for herself and her young son in the American Southwest. Keitel plays a violent married man she has an affair with, and the lively cast also includes Oscar®-nominated Diane Ladd, plus Jodie Foster and Vic Tayback. Ebert called the movie "one of the most perceptive, funny, occasionally painful portraits of an American woman I've ever seen."
Italianamerican (1974) is a 45-minute documentary about Scorsese's parents, Charles and Catherine, and shows them having dinner at their New York apartment. They discuss experiences in their native Italy after World War II and in America as Sicilian immigrants, as well as life in general. Janet Maslin, film critic for The New York Times, wrote that "the storytelling is fast and furious, as the irrepressible personalities of both parents emerge, and their celebrated son becomes their little boy all over again."
Taxi Driver (1976), Scorsese's shattering masterpiece of alienation and violence, stars Oscar®-nominated De Niro as New York City taxi driver Travis Bickle, an ex-Marine driven insane by his corrupt environment. Nominations also went to supporting actress Jodie Foster, Bernard Herrmann for the musical score and the film itself. Kael wrote that "No other film has ever dramatized urban indifference so powerfully."
American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince (1978) is Scorsese's 55-minute documentary about his friend Prince, who had a small role in Taxi Driver and served for a time as road manager for Neil Diamond. A natural raconteur, Prince vividly describes his days as a drug addict. In the Los Angeles Times, Sheila Benson called the film "serio-hilarious" and added that it contains "the best, worst, and funniest highlights of the drug-drenched '70s."
The Last Waltz (1978) is a feature-length documentary covering a performance billed as the "farewell concert appearance" of the Canadian-American rock group The Band, held in November 1976 in San Francisco. In addition to concert performances, the film includes musical numbers shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band. In Rolling Stone, David Fear described the film as a "definitive document," adding that he considers it "an epitaph to a specific era of rock history, and the single greatest concert movie of all time."
by Roger Fristoe