Scorsese by Ebert
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Roger Ebert wrote the first film review that director Martin Scorsese ever received—for 1967’s I Call First, later renamed Who’s That Knocking at My Door—creating a lasting bond that made him one of Scorsese’s most appreciative and perceptive commentators. Scorsese by Ebert offers the first record of America’s most respected film critic’s engagement with the works of America’s greatest living director, chronicling every single feature film in Scorsese’s considerable oeuvre, from his aforementioned debut to his 2008 release, the Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light.
In the course of eleven interviews done over almost forty years, the book also includes Scorsese’s own insights on both his accomplishments and disappointments. Ebert has also written and included six new reconsiderations of the director’s less commented upon films, as well as a substantial introduction that provides a framework for understanding both Scorsese and his profound impact on American cinema.
"Given their career-long back-and-forth, this collection makes perfect sense. . . . In these reconsiderations, Ebert invites us into his thought processes, letting us see not just what he thinks, but how he forms his opinions. Ebert’s insights into Scorsese are terrific, but this book offers the bonus of further insights into Ebert himself."—Time Out Chicago
"Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, is an unabashed fan of Scorsese, whom he considers ‘the most gifted director of his generation.’ . . . Of special note are interviews with Scorsese over a 25-year period, in which the director candidly discusses his body of work."—Publishers Weekly
still replaying the same scenario? “I’m still stuck at the Who’s That Knocking stage,” he said “Except it’s not so much that I reject, as that something goes wrong. Maybe I’m impossible to be with.” The same pattern, of idealization and rejection, turns up in Scorsese’s other movies, including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull (where Robert De Niro, as Jake LaMotta, marries a sixteen-year-old sexpot and then is driven mad with jealousy when other men look at her). I could only guess at
working as one. I describe these feelings not because you are interested in me, but because I am interested in why I feel a lasting bond with this director. Since that first day, Scorsese has never disappointed me. He has never made an unworthy film. He has made a few films that, he confided, he “needed” to do to get other films made, but those films were well made, and if it is true, for example, that After Hours was done simply to keep him busy and distracted after the heartbreak of the first
mind losing a piece to a good move. He likes the game. He doesn’t bully writers, but engages with them. I wonder if he is too social and verbal to sit alone in a room and write a screenplay, as Schrader does by nature. I think for him writing, talking, and creating are associated processes. This book is the record of an association with Scorsese that began when, as it happened, I wrote the first review he ever received. We met before he was famous and successful. Once he took me to the Feast of
simultaneously as Scorsese’s film and Pileggi’s book, tells the more or less true story of Rosenthal, the man who brought sports book betting to Las Vegas in the 1970s, and managed the Stardust at a time when a suitcase full of large bills was being dispatched on a weekly basis from that casino to the Kansas City mob, and then distributed to lucky Mafioso in Chicago, Milwaukee, and elsewhere. Rosenthal, who is called by his real name in the book and becomes Ace Rothstein in the somewhat
it like it’s from the musical sequences in New York, New York where three bars of music was one shot, literally. Not four cameras then you cut ’em together in the editing room. That’s selecting, not directing; it’s a different thing, you know. But directing is, you know . . . these four punches . . . one, two, three, four, camera tracks from left to right, swings around over the shoulder of the guy who’s getting hit, and we see a close-up of LaMotta hitting him. And it’s gotta be a knock, shoom,