Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies

Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies

4.5 2
Director: Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson

Cast: John Cassavetes, Francis Ford Coppola

     
 

In 1994, the British Film Institute commissioned a set of films to mark the centenary of the movies. They would trace the history of several national cinemas, and the BFI's choice for interpreting the history of American film fell to director Martin Scorsese, a longtime champion of film history and preservation. Scorsese's approach to his subject is director-centered,… See more details below

Overview

In 1994, the British Film Institute commissioned a set of films to mark the centenary of the movies. They would trace the history of several national cinemas, and the BFI's choice for interpreting the history of American film fell to director Martin Scorsese, a longtime champion of film history and preservation. Scorsese's approach to his subject is director-centered, as he examines the tension inherent in the struggle of an artist wishing to make a personal statement against the collaborative nature of films and the commercial pressures of the Hollywood moviemaking factory. Segments of this series are devoted to the director as storyteller (examining narrative devices in the Western, gangster film, and musical), illusionist (technical tricks), smuggler (imbedding personal messages), and iconoclast (bucking the system to make films his own way). The series is replete with telling clips, not just snippets or shots, but entire scenes which illustrate Scorsese and co-director Michael Henry Wilson's points. Other filmmakers, including John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Billy Wilder, and Orson Welles, are seen in archival footage or interviews created for the series, offering their own take on the art of filmmaking. Scorsese doesn't discriminate between filmmakers with glossy reputations and those who always worked on the fringe of public awareness. If anything, he goes out of his way to champion mavericks like Samuel Fuller whose "visceral cinema" never enjoyed box-office success or awards. Personal Journey was first shown on British TV, released in limited fashion to theaters in the United States, and shown here on TV as well. A tie-in book was published in 1997 by Miramax Books; it contains the entire script for the series, excellent black-and-white stills, and dialogue from some of the clips.In 1994, the British Film Institute commissioned a set of films to mark the centenary of the movies. They would trace the history of several national cinemas, and the BFI's choice for interpreting the history of American film fell to director Martin Scorsese, a longtime champion of film history and preservation. Scorsese's approach to his subject is director-centered, as he examines the tension inherent in the struggle of an artist wishing to make a personal statement against the collaborative nature of films and the commercial pressures of the Hollywood moviemaking factory. Segments of this series are devoted to the director as storyteller (examining narrative devices in the Western, gangster film, and musical), illusionist (technical tricks), smuggler (imbedding personal messages), and iconoclast (bucking the system to make films his own way). The series is replete with telling clips, not just snippets or shots, but entire scenes which illustrate Scorsese and co-director Michael Henry Wilson's points. Other filmmakers, including John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Billy Wilder, and Orson Welles, are seen in archival footage or interviews created for the series, offering their own take on the art of filmmaking. Scorsese doesn't discriminate between filmmakers with glossy reputations and those who always worked on the fringe of public awareness. If anything, he goes out of his way to champion mavericks like Samuel Fuller whose "visceral cinema" never enjoyed box-office success or awards. Personal Journey was first shown on British TV, released in limited fashion to theaters in the United States, and shown here on TV as well. A tie-in book was published in 1997 by Miramax Books; it contains the entire script for the series, excellent black-and-white stills, and dialogue from some of the clips.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
It may not be the definitive documentary on the history of American films, but Martin Scorsese's series of films, commissioned by the British Film Institute for showing on TV, represents one of the most incisive examinations of the director's role in Hollywood filmmaking. Scorsese isn't just an outstanding filmmaker; he's a student of film, religiously examining works of his predecessors for clues on how they smuggled personal concerns between the lines of a collaborative and commercial art form. Coming from a filmmaker who has never made a box-office blockbuster and has yet to win an Academy award, this project is a valentine to other outsiders, the filmmakers who worked within the studio system but slipped beneath the radar of censors and studio chiefs who would homogenize American film. That's not to say that Scorsese and his colleague Michael Henry Wilson only celebrate quirkiness; respect is paid to John Ford, Frank Capra, Vincente Minnelli, and Howard Hawks, men who produced audience-friendly films that didn't insult the intelligence of filmgoers. One of the series' greatest strengths is its insistence on running long exceprts to illustrate Scorsese's theses. So many recent documentaries about filmmaking, either due to limited budgets or sheer laziness, truncate clips; what they gain in narrative speed, they lose in impact and depth. What Scorsese sacrifices here -- he touches only lightly on films made in the last 30 years and hardly at all on independent cinema, science fiction, horror, and documentary -- he more than makes up for with his enthusiasm and love for the medium.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/12/2000
UPC:
0717951010476
Original Release:
1995
Rating:
NR
Source:
Miramax
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Pan & Scan]
Sound:
[stereo]
Time:
3:46:00

Special Features

2.0 stereo; Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Cassavetes Actor
Francis Ford Coppola Actor
Brian De Palma Actor
André De Toth Actor
Clint Eastwood Actor
Howard Hawks Actor
Fritz Lang Actor
George Lucas Actor
Gregory Peck Actor
Arthur Penn Actor
Nicholas Ray Actor
Martin Scorsese Participant
Douglas Sirk Actor
Orson Welles Actor
Billy Wilder Actor

Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director,Screenwriter
Michael Henry Wilson Director,Screenwriter
Elmer Bernstein Songwriter
Raffaele Donato Associate Producer
Jean-Yves Escoffier Cinematographer
William Flick Musical Direction/Supervision
Bob Last Producer
David Lindblom Editor
Colin MacCabe Producer
Tom Paul Musical Direction/Supervision
Frances Reid Cinematographer
Thelma Schoonmaker Editor
Nancy Schreiber Cinematographer
Dale Ann Stieber Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Part One
   Captions
      English for the Hearing Impaired
   Play
Side #2 -- Part Two
   Captions
      English for the Hearing Impaired
   Play
Side #3-- Part Three
   Captions
      English for the Hearing Impaired
   Play

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