For a site that honors an artist famous for his encyclopedic knowledge and obsession with detail, the Martin Scorsese Films Unofficial Fan Site is alarmingly skimpy. (Click on ”filmography” and you’ll get a link to the Internet Movie Database.) But, hey, we give big-ups to all fansites — like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, they’re here to f—ing amuse us. And we were f—ing amused by the strange odds and ends found in ”Quotes and Trivia.” Okay, did Neil Diamond really audition for the part of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver?
Of course, if you’re looking for knowledge and detail (and insight and wit), you can find it in the writings of Pauline Kael. Her film reviews for the New Yorker were invigorating blasts of passion and intelligence. Like her 3,000-word review of Mean Streets, in which she observes that Scorsese’s first significant feature ”has a thicker-textured rot and violence than we have ever had in an American movie, and a riper sense of evil.”
”Many of Taxi Driver’s references are limited in application to the one-time quotation of a specific incident in another film.” So reads a line from an article with the catchy title of ''Citizen Bickle, or the Allusive Taxi Driver: Uses of Intertextuality.'' Which, in fact, offers a fascinating look at the movies — from Citizen Kane to Francesco Rosi’s Salvatore Giuliano — that Scorsese borrowed from (sometimes quite directly) while making his still-shocking 1976 masterpiece.
The Departed is one of only two Scorsese movies to have earned more than $100 million — The Aviator is the other. According to this list of his movies and their grosses, The King of Comedy (total gross: $2.5 million) played in 76 theaters during its brief wide release. One of them was in a now long-gone screen in Philadelphia — where, on a cold February afternoon, I caught the movie with exactly one other paying customer.
Found on YouTube: Almost 40 years before The Departed, Scorsese, a film student at NYU made The Big Shave, a (predictably bloody) five-minute short that many took to be an indictment of our country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Less bloody (and, as far as I can tell, devoid of political significance) is a 1991 appearance of two Scorseses on The Late Show with David Letterman: Marty and the real star of this clip, his late mother Catherine, who’s on hand to make some of her famous pizza.