Gangs of New York: Making the Movie

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Set in the turbulent streets of Lower Manhattan in the mid-nineteenth century, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York depicts the politically corrupt and volatile social climate of New York during the early years of the Civil War. While the North is fighting in the South, the difference between the insular opulence of uptown life and the lawless destitution of those living downtown becomes more intolerable. Irish immigrants and emancipated slaves add to the swelling numbers of the ...
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Overview

Set in the turbulent streets of Lower Manhattan in the mid-nineteenth century, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York depicts the politically corrupt and volatile social climate of New York during the early years of the Civil War. While the North is fighting in the South, the difference between the insular opulence of uptown life and the lawless destitution of those living downtown becomes more intolerable. Irish immigrants and emancipated slaves add to the swelling numbers of the poor. The city is a bomb ready to explode.

The action unfolds at the Five Points, a notoriously corrupt, gang-infested area between New York harbor and lower Broadway, where the native-born (Protestant) Americans and the Irish (Catholic) immigrants battle for control of the city. Amsterdam Vallon (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young Irish-American who has returned to New York, after fifteen years in a house of reform, to seek revenge against Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), the nativist gang leader who had killed Vallon's father. The movie follows Amsterdam as he infiltrates Bill's inner circle, falls in love with Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz), a beguiling pickpocket, and fights for the honor of his family and people. His personal struggle explodes in tandem with the 1863 draft riots, the most dramatic episode of urban unrest in American history.

Included in the book are interviews of the principal people involved with the making of the film: the director, actors, cinematographer, designers, screenwriters, and producers; the complete shooting script; a historical introduction by the writer Luc Sante, the film's technical advisor; color stills taken during the shooting; sketches of the lavish sets and costumes, and a portfolio of behind-the-scenes photographs taken by Brigitte Lacombe. This is an inside look at how an epic movie, one which the director had envisioned for twenty-five years, got made.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Featuring interviews with almost every big job title among the cast and crew, copious production stills, the ostensibly complete screenplay and a nearly scholarly essay by New York historicist Sante, this melange of documentation and memorabilia pays homage to the epic production of Gangs of New York. Much of the information found in its pages is absorbing, in particular the list of films director Scorsese drew on for his grimy mise-en-scene, some of which seem intuitive, like The Bowery (1933) and Oliver Twist (1948), and others, like Fellini Satyricon (1970), that are more surprising. Also intriguing is the explanation of Scorsese s personal obsession in driving the film from its conception in the early 1970s to its final execution in 2002. The bloody New York street history and the nuts and bolts of filmmaking depicted in these pages makes for good browsing, and those inspired by the film will relish this celebration of it. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
No one portrays New York quite like Scorsese. From Taxi Driver to The Age of Innocence, and now with Gangs, for which he won a 2003 Best Director Golden Globe, he has re-created the city across several eras with a flair for detail that has captivated audiences. In Gangs, he portrays Gotham's grimy underbelly in the turbulent 1860s, as Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) seeks to avenge his father's murder by diabolical nativist Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), ruler of the Five Points district. Miramax has made use of its publishing branch to assemble a colorful and enlightening guide to the film's making. Since this does double duty as a pictorial guide and screenplay, it will surely find an audience. In classic Scorsese style, all facets of filmmaking are covered, from cast interviews and costume sketches to Five Points vocabulary and recommended movies. This first-class, full-scale movie tie-in is highly recommended for film collections, although all the extras might be a bit cumbersome for those just looking for the screenplay. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786868933
  • Publisher: Miramax Books
  • Publication date: 1/15/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 288

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2003

    How to Build Your Own 19th Century Slum

    Chances are, if you love a movie, you'll love every 'The Making Of...' that comes out about it. This is no exception. I loved this film. I loved reading the script. Plus, the interviews and photographs were delicious gravy. (How the Library Journal can use the word 'cumbersome' is beyond me.) The story of how Scorsese and crew captured, very accurately for the most part, the way The Five Points looked is itself worth the price. If there is anything negative to be said, it's that some of the photographs are not of the best quality. But I'm nitpicking. Treat yourself to superb book!

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