INSIDE THE SCORSESE EXHIBITION
Neon Marquee contributor and all round film buff Mark Vanselow checked out the closing days of The Scorsese Exhibition at Melbourne's ACMI (which is now on it's way to New York's Museum for The Moving Image from October 19th though April 23rd 2017), where a treasure trove of cinematic treasure devoted to the master film maker were on display. Here's his look back at a most remarkable collection.
Conceived and organized by the Deutsche Kinemathek, SCORSESE is a tribute to the work of Martin Scorsese, director of classic films such as Taxi Driver(1976), Raging Bull (1980) and Casino (1995). On display at the exhibition was a veritable treasure trove of memorabilia, including the expected storyboards, script notes and costumes, plus some rather surprising pieces to delight and fascinate the visitor.
Some of my favourite displays at SCORSESE were not related to films made by the man himself. For example, I found the ballet slippers worn by Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948), a film that Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker (Scorsese’s editor and Red Shoes director Michael Powell’s widow) restored several years ago. I studied them closely, noting the sufficient amount of wear on the toes—the result of all those graceful leaps and pirouettes performed by Moira Shearer in a film that has captivated me many times over. I’m glad nobody convinced the late Scottish actress to autograph the legendary footwear, as doing so would have been defacement at worst, redundant at best—Miss Shearer had already left her signature on the toes of those shoes.
But if you want literal signatures, the SCORSESE exhibition featured a wall of missives from a "who’s who" of the filmmaking world, every one of them addressed to Mister Scorsese. The letters support Scorsese’s 1980 petition to photographic giant Kodak, when it became apparent to the director that colours in Kodak film prints were fading rapidly. In addition to typed letters from Sidney Lumet, Steven Spielberg and "Terry" Malick, and a fax (remember those?) from Volker Schlöndorff, is the handwriting of Leni Riefenstahl. I must say, it was an odd experience, being so close to the scribble of the notorious woman who rubbed shoulders with (and made films for) Die Führer.
Pertaining directly to the work of Martin Scorsese was a display inspired by Raging Bull, featuring a mock boxing ring and twin video screens that play a shot-by-shot analysis of the ultimate encounter between Jake LaMotta and ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson, portrayed by Robert DeNiro and Johnny Barnes, respectively. As one who has viewed Raging Bull countless times, this portion of the exhibition heightened, to no small degree, my admiration for the work of the film’s editor, Thelma Schoonmaker. Elsewhere, one can find Robert DeNiro’s cab licence that he acquired in preparation for his role in Taxi Driver—another example of the actor’s dedication to research for the sake of his work.
Earlier, I mentioned that SCORSESE featured storyboards from numerous films. The most interesting one, in my opinion, is the storyboard for a film that was never made. At the age of eleven, Martin Scorsese drew up a storyboard for The Eternal City, a Roman Empire epic (presented in "Marsco Color"—perhaps more reliable than Kodak!) starring the likes of Marlon Brando and Richard Burton. From the SCORSESE exhibition, I learned that Martin Scorsese wanted to make a living as a painter, yet was allergic to paint, so instead he "settled" for being an artist of the moving image. Looking at the storyboard forThe Eternal City, one can see that even at an early age, Scorsese had a vivid imagination, coupled with an eye for detail.
For more info on the upcoming dates at NY's Museum of the Moving Image, click HERE.