Since his emergence in the early seventies, Martin Scorsese has become one of the most respected names in cinema. Classics such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas are regularly cited as being among the finest films ever made.
Born in New York City in 1942 to Sicilian-American parents, Scorsese spent much of his childhood absorbing the sights and sounds of Little Italy from the balcony of his family’s tenement apartment – music blaring, drunks brawling and neighbourhood kids playing stickball. A lifelong asthma sufferer, he took no part in his friends’ games and instead fell in love with cinema at an early age, crafting intricate storyboards for as-yet-unmade Westerns and Roman epics. This long apprenticeship paid off in 1962 when Scorsese was accepted onto a film course at New York University and immediately attracted attention with a series of quirky and technically accomplished student shorts.
Having made his breakthrough with the gritty Mean Streets (1973), Scorsese outgrew his early reputation as a virtuoso of violence, creating films as diverse as a nineteenth-century literary romance, The Age of Innocence (1993), a dramatization of the early life of the Dalai Lama, Kundun (1997), and a 3D children’s fantasy, Hugo (2011).
This lavish retrospective is a fitting tribute to a remarkable director, now into his seventh decade in cinema and showing no signs of slowing up. Leading film writer Tom Shone draws on his in-depth knowledge and distinctive viewpoint to present refreshing commentaries on all twenty-six main features, from the rarely shown Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967) to the latest release, The Irishman (2019), as well as covering Scorsese’s notable parallel career as a documentary maker.
Impeccably designed, and copiously illustrated with more than two hundred stills and behind-the-scenes images, this is the definitive celebration of one of cinema’s most enduring talents.
AUTHOR Tom Shone was the film critic of the Sunday Times from 1994 until he moved to New York in 1999. He is the author of many books, including Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer, In the Rooms, Woody Allen: A Retrospective and Tarantino: A Retrospective. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the TLS, Intelligent Life, Areté and Vogue. He currently teaches film history and criticism at New York University.