Category Archives: Classics

Fellini’s Restored AMARCORD Will Receive Tribute at Venice Film Fest

amarcord“Federico Fellini’s fourth film to win the foreign Oscar, 1973’s AMARCORD will receive a special tribute at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, which runs September 2-12,” writes Ryan Lattanzio in Indiewire.

“A new restoration from eminent preservation entity Cineteca di Bologna will world-premiere …at the festival,” he continues. The film “boasts a menagerie of eccentric, colorful characters…Nina Rota, of course, delivers yet another magical score.”

amarcord-075-1000085560Fellini on the set of AMARCORD.

In addition to winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Fellini also received two additional Academy Award nominations for AMARCORD: Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Vincent Canby, critic for the New York Times, loved the film when it opened, writing: “It’s an extravagantly funny, sometimes dreamlike evocation of a year in the life of a small Italian coastal town in the nineteen-thirties, not as it literally was, perhaps, but as it is recalled by a director with a superstar’s access to the resources of the Italian film industry and a piper’s command over our imaginations. When Mr. Fellini is working in peak condition, as he is in AMARCORD (the vernacular for ‘I remember’ in Romagna), he somehow brings out the best in us. We become more humane, less stuffy, more appreciative of the profound importance of attitudes that in other circumstances would seem merely eccentric if not lunatic…AMARCORD is as full of tales as Scheherazade, some romantic, some slapstick, some elegiacal, some bawdy, some as mysterious as the unexpected sight of a peacock flying through a light snowfall. It’s a film of exhilarating beauty.”

AMARCORD is nostalgia, a warm recreation of the world of Fellini’s childhood, but it is not merely memory, argues critic Sam Rohdie, it is a fantastical universe of its own. “It is an imaginary town with imaginary, projected characters who are fragments, magnifications, caricatures, and grotesques, as in a dream.” To watch the film is to share Fellini’s own flickering daydream, a mixture of recollection and fantasy.

EPSON scanner image

Fellini’s illustration for the character of Aurelio Biondi, the short fused working class father of the teen protagonist, Titta.

“There was his sketching and doodling, essentially a playing,”  Rohdie continues, “a search for the shape of the film in these images, a process of seeking out and discovery that carried over into the actual filming, where the film you see is the film being discovered in the process of filming, as if there were no ‘before’ to it, as if the film had been found. It is not a record, then, of something outside it but an expression of an inspiration chanced upon at the moment of filming.”

Felliini’s film technique underscores this sense of illusion by celebrating the artificiality of the effects. One night a majestic cruise ship passes close by the town, like a mystical apparition. The townspeople marvel as it steams by, lights aglow in the fog. Yet the ship was constructed of cardboard, the ocean was black plastic, it was all cinema magic. amarcord_boat1-11_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85

Rohdie concludes: “”The essential subject of Fellini’s films, and particularly of the late ones, like AMARCORD is the cinema itself, another world: ephemeral, touching, ineffable, comic, and grand . . . like a pheasant in the snow.”tumblr_mcmf57FK3k1rc84x4o1_500

My favorite of Rohdie’s observations: “AMARCORD is like a circus, composed of numbers, perfectly linear and sequential but whose links are neither logical, dra­matic, nor narratively motivated. Each of the numbers in the film is a circus act, and the actors are the circus clowns.”

There is no higher praise, as far as I’m concerned. 15631973amarcordbelga19

 

5 Behind The Scenes Scoops from John Hughes Movies

Caption:  Director John Hughes on 11/28/90 in Chicago, Il.   Headline:  Paul Natkin Archive   Venue:    Location:  Various Locations, United States   Date:  Circa 20th century   Credit:  Paul Natkin/WireImage.com
 Director John Hughes on 11/28/90 in Chicago, Il. Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage.com

The Telegraph has a wonderful essay titled WILL THERE EVER BE ANOTHER JOHN HUGHES? by Robbie Collin, prompted by the recent publication of a new book by Kirk Honeycutt, JOHN HUGHES: A LIFE IN FILM. Collin’s essay is excerpted below:

Between 1984 and 1987, Hughes wrote six teen movies: SIXTEEN CANDLES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, WEIRD SCIENCE, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, PRETTY IN PINK and SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. The first four of those he also directed; the other two were by Howard Deutch, although behind-the-scenes tales from PRETTY IN PINK suggest Hughes was still the primary guiding influence on set.

Together, these six films make up just a fraction of his life’s work. Between his first screenplay, for 1982’s NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CLASS REUNION, and his death in 2009, Hughes directed eight features and had writing credits on 25 more, plus a handful of other projects that went direct to video or were made for television, and countless more that were left unmade. But those half-dozen high-school films are his legacy.

“You see us as you want to see us,” runs the opening monologue [of THE BREAKFAST CLUB] – which we later discover is part of the essay written by the five students from different backgrounds, played by Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, who learn that they have more in common than they first thought. “In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.”

Before Hughes, teen movies had almost exclusively trafficked in stereotypes – the jock, the geek, the virgin, the stoner, the slut and so on – and THE BREAKFAST CLUB was his wholesale rejection of those worn-out tropes. Hughes establishes the differences between these five characters so nimbly you barely notice it happening: in their clothes; their parents’ parting words to them at the school gates; the different cars in which four of the five arrive; even where in the library they choose to sit.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

But as the detention runs its course, our easy assumptions about them are turned on their head. None of them fits the role into which they’ve been forced by high-school life. “What we’ve found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal,” runs the film’s closing monologue, which is shared by all five of the leads. This realisation is treated, rightly, as life-changing. Hughes never patronised his characters, and treated teenage traumas with far more gravity than those his adult characters suffered through.

Even today, that feels revolutionary – and shows Hughes’s commitment to treating his young audience with the utmost respect, however outlandish the on-screen action got.

So perhaps to find today’s John Hughes we need to look elsewhere…If Hughes were around today, would we find him on YouTube, laughing and joking with the young cinemagoers who’d found encouragement and hope in his work? Or would this self-styled outsider remain off the grid with his wife and two sons in a quiet Chicagoan suburb? There’s no way to know – and, of course, no need to either. His films speak for him, articulately and at length, whenever your inner teenager might want to hear a friendly voice.

Read Collin’s full piece at The Telegraph.

The book’s author, longtime Hollywood Reporter journalist and critic Kirk Honeycutt, spoke about Hughes with Fast Company: “He wrote about teens as if they were adults. He connected to them in a way no one has before or since. Their problems, he treated with seriousness. Their angst, he treated with seriousness. He didn’t write down to them. He wrote to their level. He was someone in his thirties who still remembered what it was like to be 17. He remembered how parents and teachers feel like creatures from another land. He understood that who you go to the prom with was crucially important for a couple months in your life. He created an adult world in which the kids were the adults. I think that will play forever.”

Honeycutt, who interviewed Hughes through the years, shares anecdotes behind five of the writer-director’s most popular movies in an interview with the NY Post:

“Sixteen Candles,” 1984

SIXTEEN CANDLES, Gedde Watanabe, Deborah Pollack, 1984. (c)Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.
SIXTEEN CANDLES, Gedde Watanabe, Deborah Pollack, 1984. (c)Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

“Gedde Watanabe [above, with Deborah Pollack] played Long Duk Dong, a clichéd Asian character. But they actually spent the better part of two days filming a big musical number with him at the prom — he did a big dance number and rapped about how much he loved America. It would have been interesting to see how people reacted to the character if that scene remained. I think it would have made him less controversial.”

“Pretty in Pink,” 1986

PRETTY IN PINK, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, 1986
PRETTY IN PINK, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, 1986

“They had to reshoot the ending, because the original one where Andie [Molly Ringwald] and Duckie [Jon Cryer] ended up at the prom dancing — with implications they’ll get together — was disliked by test audiences, especially young girls who felt Molly needed to end up with the cute guy [Andrew McCarthy]. They had McCarthy back six months later to shoot a new ending. He was doing a play, for which he had shaved his head. It’s a bad wig he’s wearing [in the final scene, above]. John said to me, ‘I wasn’t happy about the reshoot but when I saw that wig, I started laughing and didn’t mind so much.’ ”

“The Breakfast Club,” 1985

“This movie was supposed to have a nude scene. During the day of detention, the [students] would have sneaked out of the library and found a peephole in the women’s locker room. There they spy the synchronized-swimming coach topless. Someone was even cast for the part: Karen Leigh Hopkins. But there was a rebellion by the actresses [Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy] and the female producer [Michelle Manning] against the scene. ‘This is really sexist and misogynistic,’ they hammered at [Hughes]. He thought about it and cut it out of the movie.”

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” 1986

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, 1986  FILM STILL
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, 1986
FILM STILL

“For the scene where Ferris sings on the float during the parade, they had to shoot the real Von Steuben Day parade in Chicago over one weekend. Then the next weekend, they had to have a fake parade to get more shots. They had to get people willing to show up for free. They went to radio stations and put ads in the paper. In the end, 10,000 people showed up for the fake parade, which was more than for the real parade. Matthew Broderick and choreographer Kenny Ortega had worked out a dance sequence for the actor atop the float. Broderick had dislocated his knee a few weeks earlier filming the scene at the end of the movie where he’s running through yards on his way home, so the choreography had to be scrapped.”

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” 1987

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, Steve Martin, John Candy, 1987, © Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, Steve Martin, John Candy, 1987, © Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

“Steve Martin told me [Hughes] encouraged ad-libbing. So he and John Candy are shooting this scene in this broken-down car with no roof, and it’s minus-10 degrees outside [in Buffalo, NY]. Every time they ad-libbed, you have to cover it [reshoot the scene from a different camera angle] 50 times. It was getting ridiculous, the multiple coverage they needed for every line. Martin and Candy agreed not to ad-lib anymore because they were freezing to death. They loved ad-libbing, and unfortunately were doing too good a job of it and increasing their chances of getting frostbite.”

A Gorgeous Supercut: 120 Years of Cinema

-1Youtube is littered with tribute videos that review the history of cinema, but this one is something special. French editor Joris Faucon Grimaud has created an inspired tour thru the last 120 years of film. You will see over 300 of your favorite movie moments, some of which  you had forgotten. Most are from Hollywood films. Grimaud makes surprising connections that give each shot added meaning and context.

Thanks to Oktay Ege Kozak over at The Playlist for bringing it to our attention.

Here’s the list of films included:

Une scène au jardin de Roundhay
La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon
L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat
Lover of Beauty
Edison’s Films
Edison’s The Kiss
Le Voyage dans la Lune
The Great Train Robbery
The General
Les Vampires
The Birth of a Nation
Intolerance
Pandora’s Box
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Kid
Broken Blossoms
Way Down East
Nanook of the North
The Phantom of Opera
The Golden Age
Sunrise
Strike
Battleship Potemkin
Metropolis
Citizen Kane
La Belle et La Bête
The Dictator
Le Quai des Brumes
The  Wizard of Oz
City Lights
M
The Seven Samurai
Rashōmon
A Date with Judy
Sunset Boulevard
Frankenstein
The Night of the Hunter
Witness for the Prosecution
La Dolce Vita
Singing in the Rain
12 Angry Men
Psycho
Casablanca
Double Indemnity
All About Eve
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Gone With The Wind
It’s a Wonderful Life
Paths of Glory
Rebel Without a Cause
To Kill a Mockingbird
The 400 Blows
La grande vadrouille
Les Tontons Flingueurs
Belle de Jour
La Piscine
It Happened One Night
Vertigo
Dr. Strangelove
North by Northwest
Lawrence of Arabia
Lolita
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Contempt
Breathless
Some Like It Hot
Manhattan
Mad Max
Top Gun
Taxi Driver
Goodfellas
The Godfather
Raging Bull
Once Upon Time in America
The Godfather II
Apocalypse Now
Full Metal Jacket
The Thin Red Line
Platoon
Hook
Schindler’s List
Once Upon Time in The West
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The Quick and the Dead
Stagecoach
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Little Big Man
Dances With Wolves
Giant
Rio Bravo
The Wild Bunch
Dead Man
Unforgiven
3:10 to Yuma
No Country for Old Men
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
True Grit
Django Unchained
Fantasia
Snow White
Cinderella
Alice in Wonderland
Dumbo
The Sword in the Stone
Pinocchio
The Lion King
Sleeping Beauty
Balto
The Jungle Book
Aladdin
Peter Pan
Mulan
Tarzan
Princess Mononoké
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Spirited Away
Lady and the Tramp
Beauty and the Beast
Corpse Bride
Bambi
The Fox and the Hound
How to Train Your Dragon
Pocahontas
Toy Story
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Wall-E
Up
Toy Story 3
Fight Club
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Jurassic Park
Men in Black
Requiem For A Dream
Reservoir Dogs
A.I.
Pulp Fiction
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Matrix
Spiderman 2
Lord of The Rings
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone
X-Men 2
American History X
Dr. No
Casino Royal
Star Wars:The Revenge of The Sith
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Kick Ass
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Minority Report
The Shining
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Saw
Insidious
Watchmen
300
Transformers: The Dark Side of The Moon
Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows part 2
The Avengers
Mission Impossible III
Saving Private Ryan
There Will Be Blood
V for Vendetta
Avatar
Star Trek: Insurrection
Die Hard
Léon
Titanic
Alien
Edward Scissorhands
Sin City
Eyes Wide Shut
Yves Saint Laurent
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Usual Suspects
Basic Instinct
Brokeback Mountain
Kill Bill
Secret Window
Little White Lies
The Shawshank Redemption
Birdman
Drive
La Vie en Rose
The Wolf of Wall Street
Interstellar
Man of Steel
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
Batman
Batman Returns
The Godfather
Jaws
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Taxi Driver
Back to The Future
Rain Man
Scarface
2001 A Space Odyssey
The Tree of Life
Pulp Fiction
Lost Highway
Heat
Forrest Gump
La Haine
A Clockwork Orange
The Big Lebowski
Donnie Darko
The Notebook
Dirty Dancing
Mulholland Drive
Braveheart
Blade Runner
Gladiator
Se7en
The Artist
American Beauty
Amélie
The Great Gatsby
Black Swan

 

Tidbits from the Tribeca ‘Goodfellas’ Reunion

2698239bl News reports  from the Tribeca Film Festival’s  GOODFELLAS reunion include new revelations about the making of the film and funny stories from the q&a after the show, moderated by Jon Stewart. 

Tomris Laffly’s article in Indiewire’s  Thompson on Hollywood blog— excerpted below — sets the stage. She writes: “Martin Scorsese’s seminal gangster film GOODFELLAS –which is widely deemed his finest directorial achievement –celebrated its 25th anniversary Saturday on the closing night of the Tribeca Film Festival, as the movie’s star and festival co-founder Robert De Niro joined the cast on stage.

Martin Scorsese and cast on set of 'Goodfellas'
Martin Scorsese and cast on set of GOODFELLAS.

“When narrator Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) declared ‘As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be gangster’ at the start of the unveiling of a gorgeous re-mastered 4K print of GOODFELLAS, the packed Beacon Theater erupted in enthusiastic applause. Many others followed throughout the screening as the huge crowd nostalgically revisited the film and its most famous moments. Predictably, the ‘Funny how’ scene between Hill and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) nabbed the most rapturous laughter and clapping.

“The screening was also an affirmation of Scorsese’s authentic and energetic depiction of amoral and despicable behavior. The debate that erupted at the opening of Scorsese’s non-didactic yet cautionary and often laugh-out-loud funny take on gangsters was not dissimilar from the reaction to last year’s instantly controversial WOLF OF WALL STREET, as naysayers accused the filmmaker of glorifying excessive behavior. GOODFELLAS famously scored one the worst test screening results in Warner Bros. history, but went on to earn critical acclaim and six Oscar nominations (with one win for Joe Pesci). Now it’s a classic.”

Laffly is referring to the first audience preview screening held in Orange County in 1990. Producer Irwin Winkler remembers the events in a Playboy interview, which describes a far different reaction to the opening of the film than the enthusiastic applause at Tribeca screening:

“Once the GOODFELLAS sneak preview got rolling, things went haywire, right from the hero’s first line of narration: ‘As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.’

“’People started running out of that theater like the place was on fire,’ recalls Winkler. ‘We had 38 walkouts alone after the scene where Joe Pesci’s character, Tommy DeVito, knifes the body of Billy Batts in the trunk of a car. And that was just the beginning of the movie. The screening didn’t go badly. It was disastrous.

“So disastrous that, as the movie’s dark humor and merry mayhem of stabbings, shootings and cocaine-fueled freak-outs piled up, 32 more people fled the theater. After the preview, which De Fina called ‘scary,’ studio execs read a barrage of audience reaction cards typified by one from a dissatisfied customer who’d scrawled ‘F*ck you’ all over his. ‘It upset a lot of people,’ says Scorsese. ‘People weren’t prepared for the mixture of humor and violence, the lifestyle, the attitude.’” Read the full interview with Winkler here, in Stephen Rebello’s article, which is subtitled “The Making of the Mafia’s Ultimate Home Movie.”

The NY Daily News reports Scorsese’s recollection of the reception of the film: “It’s hard to believe in hindsight, but GOODFELLAS wasn’t well received by everyone upon its release. ‘There was this owner of a restaurant that I used to eat at that said we’re not allowed in there anymore,’ said Scorsese, hinting that the place was an Italian establishment. ‘Because apparently we denigrated a certain ethnic group.’ ”

Closing+Night+Screening+Goodfellas+2015+Tribeca+qlBe6GE5jhelPaul Sorvino, Debi Mazar, Robert De Niro, Lorraine Bracco and Kevin Corrigan attend the closing night screening of “Goodfellas” Saturday during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at Beacon Theatre.

Laffly continues her Indiewire coverage from Tribeca: “The biggest treat of the night was the reunion panel after the screening, moderated by Jon Stewart, with Scorsese’s co-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi as well as actors De Niro, Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino. Stewart’s questions could have been sharper and more fine-tuned, yet the Q&A session did yield choice and little-known behind-the-scenes stories.

Here are eight highlights:

1. No-shows Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese greeted the audience in style.

Currently shooting his new film THE SILENCE in Taipei with Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, Scorsese saluted the crowd before the screening with a pre-taped video message… Scorsese  revealed that the music in GOODFELLAS –from Tony Bennett to Darlene Love– represented the way his own life was musically scored. One of the best times they all had on set was during the breakfast scene with his mother (Catherine Scorsese, playing Tommy’s Mother): ‘There were only one or two lines that were written out. The rest was what it was like to be around my mom, Joe, Bob, and Ray. But we didn’t tell her about the body (in the trunk).’

Pesci’s pre-screening message was more concise. ‘Joe Pesci couldn’t be here, but he sent this email,’ said Robert De Niro, reading: ‘F*ck, f*ck, f*ckity, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck.’

‘I’ll translate,’ he went on. ‘Dear Bob, I am sorry I can’t be there. Love to all. Best, Joe.’

2. De Niro: ‘We feel connected when we get back together, as we are tonight.’
 

The Tribeca Film Festival co-founder’s sentiment was seconded by actor Paul Sorvino. ‘We sometimes run into each other. What happens is, you see each other 10 or 15 years later, and it is as if the time has not passed. Because we got to know each other so well at an emotional or spiritual level; and it never goes away.’

3. Running into Scorsese at the Venice Film Festival helped Ray Liotta to land the leading role.

‘I was the first person they met,’ the actor recalled, noting that De Niro recommended him and that it took a year to get it. ‘I think what sealed it is – I did a movie called DOMINICK AND EUGENE, which was at the Venice Film Festival. Marty was there with THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, walking across the lobby of the hotel. I went to him and said ‘Hey Marty, it’s me! I wanted to say hello!’ The way I said hello…it just seemed to happen.’

 

4. Nora Ephron helped to connect Martin Scorsese with her husband Nicholas Pileggi.

The author of the bestselling book WISEGUY (from which GOODFELLAS is adapted) said that Scorsese kept calling him, wanting to connect. ‘I was getting these pink slips that said: ‘Call Martin Scorsese.’ But I thought it was my friend David Denby (playing a trick), so I didn’t respond.’ Scorsese couldn’t figure it out, and finally called Pileggi’s wife Nora Ephron. ‘I got home that night and she said: ‘Are you crazy? Martin Scorsese is trying to reach you and you won’t call him back.’

goodfellas-quotes-hd-wallpaper-175. Henry Hill loved Ray Liotta’s portrayal.

Scorsese didn’t let Liotta talk to Henry Hill before the film was completed, thinking that his real persona would interfere with his portrayal. But after the movie, Liotta got a call to meet Hill in a Bowling Alley in the San Fernando Valley with his brother. ‘The first thing he said was: ‘Thanks for not making me look like a scumbag.’ And I said: ‘Did you see the movie?’
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6. Paul Sorvino almost quit the film, three days before shooting began.
Worried about not being able to find the spine of his character, Sorvino apparently called his manager three days before the shooting began (after he already spent four weeks in prep), asking him to get him out of it. ‘I am a poet, an opera singer, author, sculptor…none of it is gangster,’ the actor explained. ‘I was lost. And one day I was going to fix my tie and I saw this guy (referring to his image in the mirror), and I scared the hell out of me.’v30rx2qca7huq2a07. Lorraine Bracco got a little help from her background in creating Karen.
Although she didn’t know anyone in real life close to the character she portrayed or the women Karen hangs out with, Bracco said her upbringing was helpful. ‘I have an Italian father, but I have an English mother. So I learned a lot about being Italian from my dad. And we lived in a Jewish neighborhood, which helped to create Karen. I just did my homework. Being surrounded by a great director and crew and Ray… It was easy.’

8. Nick Pileggi on Martin Scorsese, perfectionist.
 

As tight-lipped De Niro was unwilling to tackle the question of what Scorsese would want to change in the film today if he could, Stewart turned the mic to Pileggi. Recalling the night of the film’s New York City premiere, he noted that Marty had many more editing ideas in mind: ‘We were at the Ziegfeld, I was sitting next to him, and he said –pointing to an elbow- ‘We should have cut that.’ ‘Marty, I said, we’re at the Ziegfeld, it’s the opening of the movie, and the editing is over.’

Entertainment Weekly adds this wonderful factoid:

Even the ketchup technique is authentic.
Before filming the scene with the meal at Tommy’s mother’s, Scorsese had Pileggi reach out to Hill to find out which method for getting ketchup out of the bottle Jimmy ‘The Gent’ used. That’s why De Niro rolls the bottle in his hands, as we see in the finished film.”

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GOODFELLAS is 25 Years Old, So Here Are 25 Things You Don’t Know About The Film

The NY Daily News has a great article by reporters Rachel Maresca and Philip Caulfield, who have collected a surprising list — reprinted below — of things you (probably) don’t know about GOODFELLAS. The film has been called “one of the most quoted, influential, enjoyable and endlessly revisited movies of all time.”

goodfellas-main-reviewJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill and Robert De Niro as James Conway in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” The filmmakers are celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Maresca and Caulfield write:

We took care of that thing for ya.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of “Goodfellas” this year, the Daily News has compiled a list of 25 things every movie nut should know about the classic gangster flick, which is being honored on the closing night of The Tribeca Film Festival Saturday.

To celebrate, the cast of the Martin Scorsese movie will reunite and participate in a sit-down conversation hosted by Jon Stewart.

The violent, profane and often funny film, based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family,” featured several cameos by the story’s real-life characters, and is revered by movie fans for its colorful dialogue and memorable lines.

Now go home and get your shinebox . . .

1. Several Hollywood A-listers were mentioned for the role of Henry Hill, including Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Cruise’s “Top Gun” co-star Val Kilmer, who sent in a tape of himself playing the character, “Goodfellas” producer Irwin Winkler revealed to Playboy recently.

2. Author Nicholas Pileggi didn’t return director Martin Scorsese’s initial call about making his 1986 book “Wiseguy” into a movie because he thought someone was pulling his leg. “I didn’t believe it when Marty left a message. I thought it was my friend David Denby, the film critic, winding me up. So I just ignored him,” Pileggi told The Guardian in 2013. Scorsese eventually got Pileggi’s attention by reaching out to his wife, Nora Ephron.

3. Ray Liotta didn’t meet Henry Hill until after the movie wrapped. According to Hill, Scorsese insisted on keeping the two apart. “He didn’t want me to influence him whatsoever,” he once told an interviewer. Robert De Niro, however, met with Hill and endlessly quizzed him for insights into his character, Jimmy Conway, who was based on mobster James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke.
maxresdefault-1Robert De Niro as James Conway sitting in restaurant booth with Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in GOODFELLAS.

tumblr_n7p5ycyyth1rn5a30o1_500Ray Liotta as Henry Hill sitting with Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill at a nightclub in GOODFELLAS.

4. Instead, to get into character, Liotta listened to hours upon hours of interviews Pileggi taped with Hill while writing “Wiseguy.” “Henry Hill was eating potato chips the whole time . . . it (was) just a horrible noise,” Liotta recalled to a radio interviewer in 2014.

5. Both of Scorsese’s parents are in the film. His mom, Catherine, plays Joe Pesci’s character’s mother, while his father, Charles, plays Vinnie, the old mobster whom Paulie warns about putting too many onions in the tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene. Charles died in 1993, while Catherine died in 1997.

goodfellasMartin Scorsese’s father, Charles Scorsese, played Vinnie, an aging mobster who gets a little heavy-handed with the onions in his tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene.

goodfellas-1
Catherine Scorsese, the director’s mother, as Tommy DeVito’s mother.

6. In the scene where Henry and Karen Hill are discussing the witness protection program, the prosecutor they are speaking to is Ed McDonald, the actual federal prosecutor who put Hill in the witness protection program. McDonald, now in private practice, told the Wall Street Journal in 2008 that all of his lines were improvised, including the famous, “Don’t give me the ‘babe in the woods’ routine, Karen.”

7. “Goodfellas” was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won only one, a Best Supporting Actor trophy for Joe Pesci.

8. Pesci’s acceptance speech was just five words: “It’s my privilege, thank you.”
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Lorraine Bracco (l. with James Gandolfini and Edie Falco in 2000.)

9. Lorraine Bracco turned down the chance to play mob wife Carmela on the HBO series “The Sopranos” because she’d already played a mob wife Karen Hill in “Goodfellas.”          “I said, ‘Look, I don’t think I should play Carmela because I did it, I did it in a Scorsese movie, I got an Oscar nomination. I really don’t think I’m going to bring so much to this for you that I haven’t done already,” she recently told HuffPost Live.
goodfellas23f-9-webJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in the classic 1990 mobster flick.

10. Joe Pesci’s character Tommy DeVito is based on Lucchese family hit man Thomas DeSimone, aka “Two-Gun Tommy” or “Tommy D.” While Pesci is only about 5-foot-4, DeSimone was actually a hulking 6-foot-2 in real life. Describing Tommy’s death in the film, Henry Hill says: “They even shot Tommy in the face so his mother couldn’t give him an open coffin at the funeral.” In reality, DeSimone vanished in 1979 and his body was never found. He was 28.

11. According to “Wiseguy,” DeSimone did in fact pistol whip William (Billy Batts) Bentvena to death after Batts ribbed him about being a shoeshine boy, but the insult and the murder occurred a few weeks apart. During the gruesome attack, DeSimone smashed the butt of his .38 revolver into Batts’ face and screamed, “Shine these f— shoes!”

12. The famous “Funny how?” scene was inspired by an experience Joe Pesci had working at a restaurant and mob hangout as a young man. As Liotta and other castmates tell it, Pesci got put on the spot after he quipped that one mobster was “a funny guy.”
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13. Chuck Low, who plays the pestering wig salesman Morrie Kessler, was Robert De Niro’s real estate consultant before appearing in the film.

14. De Niro’s character, Jimmy Conway, was based on James Burke, a top associate of the Lucchese crime family nicknamed “Jimmy the Gent” because of his dapper appearance. As depicted in the movie, Burke masterminded the 1978 Lufthansa robbery, which ripped off nearly $6 million from a JFK cargo hold and was the largest robbery in the U.S. at the time. He and Hill were also players in the 1979 Boston College point-shaving scandal.

In “Wiseguy,” Hill describes Burke’s love of stealing: “If you ever offered Jimmy a billion dollars, he’d turn you down and then try to figure out how to steal it from you.” He died of lung cancer in a Buffalo hospital in 1996 while serving a 20-to-life sentence for murder.

mcdgood-ec024Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway in GOODFELLAS.

15. In the famous introduction scene, Fat Andy, aka “Moe Black’s brother,” is played by Louis Eppolito, one of the notorious NYPD “Mafia Cops.” As a detective in the 1980s and early ’90s, Eppolito — whose father, uncle and cousins were made guys in the Gambino family — secretly worked for the mob, filtering tips and information that eventually led to several murders. Along with Stephen Caracappa, he was convicted of racketeering, murder and conspiracy in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison.

16. Sonny Bunz, the beleaguered Bamboo Lounge owner who gets a bottle cracked over his head, was played by Anthony Borgese, a Brooklyn-bred actor who uses the stage name Tony Darrow. As a young man, Borgese worked in the real Bamboo Lounge in Canarsie, where Hill, Burke and DeSimone hung out.

17. Queens native Christopher Serrone said playing young Henry put a giant target on his back during his teen years. “Every kid in my neighborhood wanted to be the guy who beat up the gangster kid from Goodfellas. It was tough,” Serrone, now in his late 30s, told the Daily Mail recently. “I took my share and gave my share.”

18. Nearly four decades later, the Lufthansa robbery is still being prosecuted in New York’s courts. In January 2014, Vincent Asaro, a 78-year-old Bonanno family capo, was nabbed in an FBI sweep and charged with plotting the 64-minute heist with Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill. Asaro isn’t depicted in “Goodfellas,” but he was in the room when the real Tommy DeSimone pumped a bullet into Spider’s foot. He took the bleeding kid to get patched up.

goodfellas2Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in GOODFELLAS.

19. The movie’s second-to-last shot shows Pesci firing a pistol point-blank at the screen. It’s a reference to the ending of the 1903 silent film “The Great Train Robbery,” where one of the bandits does the same thing.

20. In the final scene, De Niro’s defense attorney, who says the line “Mr. Hill, you know everything about being a rat,” is played by Eddie Hayes, a legendary New York mob lawyer who was the inspiration for the slick-talking attorney in Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

21. Frankie Carbone, who is found hanging from a hook in a refrigerated meat truck, was played by Frank Sivero. In recent years, Sivero has filed a handful of lawsuits accusing people ripping off the character. Later year, he went after “The Simpsons” for allegedly stealing his likeness for a Springfield mobster, while another suit targeted a Southern California deli for hawking a “Frankie Carbone” sandwich using his photo.

22. The exact number is in dispute, but it’s generally believed that the “f-word” is said between 300-320 times in the movie. However, another Scorsese flick, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is said to be Hollywood’s F-bomb Don, with 544, according to a Slate tally.

23. In the scene where Tommy shoots Spider in the foot, the drunk mobster waves his smoking revolver and shouts “Take him to Ben Casey!” as Spider writhes in pain on the floor. Ben Casey was the titular doctor of a hit TV show that ran in the early ’60s.

24. While the movie has a reputation of being a bloody whack-a-thon, only five character deaths are depicted on screen, including Stacks Edwards, played by a then little-known Samuel L. Jackson.

25. Henry Hill died on June 12, 2012, at the age of 69. “His heart gave out,” his girlfriend said at the time. Two years earlier, he’d confided to a reporter that he never stopped feeling like a marked man. “There’s always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves,” Hill said in 2010. “I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age. I’m just grateful for being alive.”ss3432312_-_photograph_of_ray_liotta_as_henry_hill_joe_pesci_as_tommy_devito_robert_de_niro_as_jimmy_conway_from_goodfellas_available_in_4_sizes_framed_or_unframed_buy_now_at_starstills__92124__93223.1404460384.1280.12

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Great Closing Lines in Films

The Telegraph has collected a gallery of memorable closing lines in films. The list includes:

rains-casa-2Humphrey Bogart to Claude Rains at the end of CASABLANCA: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

120836_story__deloreanChristopher Lloyd to Michael J. Fox in BACK TO THE FUTURE: “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

0529238_520_MC_Tx304Anthony Hopkins to Jodie Foster in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: “I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”

SuspectsKevin Spacey in THE USUAL SUSPECTS: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that – poof – he’s gone!”

425fcf3c8756d266360277618e63ab70Joe Mantell to Jack Nicholson in CHINATOWN: “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

originalPaul Newman to Robert Redford in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID: “Oh Good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble.”

groundhogday_2409378kBill Murray to Andie McDowell in GROUNDHOG DAY: “It’s so beautiful. Let’s live here! We’ll rent to start.”

sunset_2408090kGloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD: “You see, this is my life. It always will be! There’s nothing else – just us – and the cameras – and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

 

Fellini’s 8 1/2 has been restored

Kevin Jagernauth at The Playlist writes:

“There are cinema classics, and then there’s Federico Fellini‘s “8 1/2.” Sight & Sound placed it in the top ten of its Greatest Films Of All Time list, filmmakers like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese adore it, and you haven’t seen it, you can’t call yourself a true cinephile. Folks in the UK have a chance to see Fellini’s film as it was meant to be experienced —on the big screen.

The British Film Institute has dropped a trailer for the newly restored “8 1/2,” and of course it looks gorgeous. The iconic Marcello Mastroianni leads the cast which includes Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo in a dreamlike movie scored by the always terrific Nino Rota.

“8 1/2″ returns to UK cinemas on May 1st.” Hopefully the print will come to the USA soon!

The film earned Fellini an Oscar, and has been called a masterpiece by many, but its appeal to those in the industry is certainly due to the subject matter: it is a film about the filmmaking process. Derek Malcolm, writing in his Century of Film series in The Guardian, says “8 1/2 is probably the most potent movie about film-making.” But opinions are divided, in the same way that opinions about BIRDMAN are divided. Some find 8 1/2 sublime, others find it self indulgent. Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius debate the point at Film School Rejects:

Landon:  8 1/2 has a special place in the hearts and minds of cinephiles. It’s almost a rite of passage for movie lovers. So my question is, what does Fellini say about filmmaking that’s so damned special?

Cole: It’s not really about making movies so much as it is about a man struggling with his work…which happens to be making movies. It’s a great movie, but it’s also hugely, unrepentently self-aggrandizing. It makes the work of filmmakers seem terribly important.

Landon: Yes, to your point, 8 1/2 is at its core quite self-indulgent. Do you think it’s self-awarely so, or is its opinion of the seriousness of filmmaking worn on its sleeve?

Cole: That might be entirely up the each viewer. Those who see Guido as a serious hero may place the ideas behind the film on a pedestal that’s on top of a pedestal. Those who see Guido as taking himself far, far too seriously might roll their eyes through the laughter of his experiences and hand-wringing.

Landon:  My bet is that this doesn’t resemble in any way the day-to-day process of filmmaking.

Cole: But 8 1/2 gets at the feeling of the creative process. It bottles the impossibility and the absurdity of filmmaking.”

It’s helpful to note that the director knew he was poking fun at both the filmmaking process and the human condition. Fellini took “a little piece of brown paper tape” and stuck it near the viewfinder of the camera. Written on it was Ricordati che è un film comico — “Remember that this is a comic film”.