There’s a small screening room where Scorsese screens early cuts of his films and classic movies for his daughter and his friends. There’s his personal library of thousands of films, some he taped himself decades ago. Film posters line the walls. Bookshelves are stuffed with film histories. And there are editing suites, including the one where Scorsese and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker regularly toil with a monitor dedicated to the continuous, muted playing of Turner Classic Movies.
Hey, me too!
OK, not on mute…
PS: If you wondered why Vinyl bombed, but had your suspicions, they were correct:
“TV, I don’t think has taken that place. Not yet,” adds Scorsese, whose “Boardwalk Empire” was lauded but whose high-priced “Vinyl” was canceled after one season. “I tried it. I had success to a certain extent. ‘Vinyl’ we tried but we found that the atmosphere for the type of picture we wanted to make – the nature of the language, the drugs, the sex, depicting the rock ‘n’ roll world of the ’70s – we got a lot of resistance. So I don’t know about that freedom.”
Tiresome people say “Blazing Saddles couldn’t get made today.”
Blazing Saddles gets remade every time the Wayans brothers or Adam Sandler sign their next deal.
But Taxi Driver? I’m torn. A barely pubescent prostitute? A tough call because why Hollywood & Co. have been eagerly sexualizing children, it just seems like in the 1970s you could make studio movies like that (and Foxes and The Bad News Bears, for example) more matter of factly.
If you weren’t around in the 1970s, even as a kid, you can’t quite comprehend how things that would get you thrown in jail/disavowed on social media today — underage groupies; racial and other slurs; hell, drunk driving — were just normal, especially in the demi-monde of show biz.
RELATED (if overstated):
To understand Martin Scorsese’s work, one must first understand the Eucharist. Though many Protestants regard holy communion as a symbolic ritual of sorts, the theology of Scorsese’s Catholicism teaches that as the bread and the wine are blessed by a priest, they transform into the actual body and blood of Christ. In fact, physicality finds great emphasis in Catholicism, from the use of icons to the sacrament of confession.
For Scorsese, who was once an aspiring Catholic priest before he left seminary to become a filmmaker, physicality—or, more precisely, incarnation—is a fitting description for his atmospheric and graphic style. Like the Masses and catechisms of his childhood faith, Scorsese’s films are corporeal in all definitions of the word. Each frame is a Eucharist ceremony captured on celluloid—and, like the relics, icons, and practice of the Lord’s Supper in the Catholic Church, Scorsese often takes great pains to transform the symbolic into the literal or physical.
Like the ever-suffering savior in the Catholic crucifix, Scorsese’s films live in a constant state of figurative and literal crucifixion. In Boxcar Bertha, for instance—a follow-up to Who’s That Knocking at My Door—one character is nailed to a railroad car shortly before it creeps away into the distance. After Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello is shot in The Departed, he lies with his arms outstretched in the position of the Christ. Whether it’s an indirect reference to the stigmata (the climactic scene in Taxi Driver) or violence that seems to gravitate around places of worship (Gangs of New York), Scorsese’s bloody acts of violence often substitute for stations of the cross.
In other words, in contrast to gnosticism, a belief that elevates the spiritual over the fleshly, Scorsese understands that what happens to the body matters. For Scorsese, the cross is not only a sign of redemption, but also of bloody reckoning. It is either the cross of sacrifice for his Christ figures (or, in the case of The Last Temptation of Christ, the actual Jesus) or the sign of punishment for those who dare to live as their own gods. (…)
All this violence—this scramble for atonement—reveals a theological bent in Scorsese’s work that settles into a layer of doubt and carnality. “There’s too much Good Friday, not enough Easter Sunday in your films,” the director’s parish priest once stated. After all of Scorsese’s years as cinema’s gangster priest, this summary still rings true. As displayed by LaMotta’s confession at the end [of] Raging Bull, Scorsese’s version of redemption comes less through resurrection than from the affirmation of physical humanity. “I’m not an animal,” LaMotta cries after he slams his head into his cell wall at the film’s climax. “I’m not that bad.”