October 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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DVD Review

Martin Scorsese
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies  
  bfi (British Film Institute) BFIVD 503   [224 mins]

Martin  Scorsese

This absorbing journey through the history of American movies from the early silents to the development of genre films such as the musicals, the westerns and the gangster films, is the personal choice of film director Martin Scorsese films that he admits have influenced his style. [It will be remembered that Scorsese directed: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The Colour of Money, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence etc. etc.]

It is interesting to note Scorsese's eclectic tastes all the major milestone films are represented from Intolerance and Sunrise through Citizen Kane to 2001 A Space Odyssey yet he does not ignore the pioneering work of directors of many Hollywood B Movies that have been so influential. For instance, Budd Boetticher, a former bullfighter who directed seven Randolph Scott westerns is represented by The Tall T starring Scott and Richard Boone; selected by Scorsese for Boetticher's concern for intricate character development. The prolific Benedict Bogeaus's Silver Lode is lauded for its brilliant tracking shots and its adroit handling of its McCarthy-type message (the film was made in 1954). And of course Jacque Tourner's brooding, atmospheric horror series for Val Lewton and RKO that began with Cat People, is highly praised for the brooding atmospheric black and white cinephotography. [It is interesting to note the impressive number of RKO productions that Scorsese includes in his personal selection it was a great, underrated studio, one that Hollywood could scarce allow to fail.]

Scorsese's fascinating and absorbing commentary, so full of insight into the art and achievements of so many Hollywood directors through sections dealing with their influences, their borrowings and their pioneering styles and technical accomplishments, make this totally absorbing film seem so much less than its 3 hours duration.

Ian Lace


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