Happy Birthday to the GREAT New Yorker HARVEY KEITEL : in my eyes he’s up there in the top 20 actors of all time, displaying passion & energy in some of my favorite films of all time : I remember watching Harvey give a powerhouse of a display for a young Scorsese in Mean Streets alongside De Niro and after watching realising this guy is gona be the new Brando, of course his collaborations with Marty are incredible and some of his best work but for me My top two Keitel performances both came in 1992 and both exploded from the screen like a stick of dynamite, Mr White in Quentin Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs and of course his raw and disturbing LT in Abel Ferrara’s no nonsence Bad Lieutenant : for me Keitel stands tall with the greats of film, his performances have been varied and most of all consistently GREAT : Happy 82nd Legend !!
To be honest I still find it hard to choose between Taxi Driver and Goodfellas as my favorite Scorsese movie so I have decided to pick the film that I watched first and although it came out in 1976 I didn’t get to watch it till the mid 80s and you know something? it hasn’t aged one bit, if anything it’s got better, it’s still as compelling and shocking as it was when I first loaded that VHS tape into my video player back then and pressed play : everytime I’ve revisited Taxi Driver since I drool over the way the film’s dark narrative takes you on this emotional rollercoaster that ends with a sharp jolt, relief and in some ways sadness, the way the seedy, dark streets of New York are captured, the innocence of Jodie Foster and the power & excitement a certain Robert De Niro brings to Travis Bickle, a complex character and a role that may just be his finest….
Born on the 17th November 1942 in Queens New York Martin Scorsese has directed some of my favorite movies of all times, he’s part of My Mount Rushmore of Movie Directors and is still one of only a handful of filmmakers that I would pay good money to watch his movies numerous times play out on the big screen : his pictures tend to use camera moves that are huge in scale, fill the screen and engulf you with this wonderful creation, some of his films use voice-over narration to only enhance the experience, my favorite’s include Goodfellas and Casino and he always uses the cream of the crop to bring his work alive, getting the very best out of stars such as De Niro, Keitel, DiCaprio and Day-Lewis : he’s been nominated 9 times for Best Director at the Academy Awards sadly only winning once for his 2006 remake of The Departed, and although I enjoyed it for me it’s bottom tier Scorsese : his next film Killers of the Flower Moon comes out next year and is a 1920’s crime thriller based on David Grann’s book of the same name and star’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
One of my favorite Martin Scorsese quotes : I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied
Top Right: 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery – Top Left: 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial with Steven Spielberg & Henry Thomas – Bottom Right: 1976’s Taxi Driver with Martin Scorsese, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro – Bottom Left: filming 1939’s Gone with the Wind
Who would have imagined from them early days playing characters such as Tallulah in Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone or Iris in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver that this young lady born on this day in 1962 would have become a screen legend and bagged 2 Academy Awards for Best Actress and countless other awards in the process? – It was 12yrs after her brilliant role in Taxi Driver that Jodie Foster delivered one of the best performances of her career as Sarah Tobias who is brutally raped in Kaplan’s The Accused them opening scenes in the bar were pretty horrific, this film sits at number 3 on my Essential Jodie Foster – at number 2 is one of my favorite films of 1997 Robert Zemeckis’s scifi movie Contact starring alongside Matthew McConaughey & William Fichtner – and at number 1 is The Silence of the Lambs playing F.B.I. agent Clarice Starling attempting to catch a serial killer with the help of psychopath Dr. Hannibal Lecter played wonderfully well by Anthony Hopkins, the relationship between Foster & Hopkins is what gave this film it’s bite, them scenes with Clarice trying to gain Lecter’s trust are compelling viewing – the film went on to win the Top 5 Academy Awards – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay – now I have named my Essential Jodie Foster it’s only fair to mention the one’s that just missed out but still rank high on her CV : i must confess to having a soft spot for the wonderful Maverick (with Mel Gibson) Jodie looked amazing in this movie and the chemistry between the two is beautiful to watch – Catchfire (with Dennis Hopper) this movie usually gets panned but I really enjoyed it, the film was also directed by Hopper – and David Fincher’s 2002 home invasion movie Panic Room (with Kristen Stewart) such a gripping thriller with a wonderful cast and shot by the the master Fincher….