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Thursday, June 4, 2009
DE NIRO TALKIN' 'BOUT SISTERS
EARLY DE PALMA SCRIPTS PART OF DE NIRO COLLECTION
Austin's University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center recently opened to the public a treasure trove of film materials donated in 2006 by Robert De Niro. The materials cover De Niro's career from the 1960s to 2005, and includes several De Palma-related items that make a trip to Austin a necessity. One of the most startling discoveries among the collection (which I haven't yet seen) is a screenplay for Sisters, written by De Palma and Louisa Rose, with De Niro's notes included. The screenplay is circa 1970, the same year De Niro starred with Sisters' Jennifer Salt in De Palma's Hi, Mom!.

Speaking of the latter, the collection also boasts several scripts associated with that project, which began life as a screenplay by De Palma and Chuck Hirsch titled "Son Of Greetings." The De Niro collection contains the latter screenplay, also with the actor's notes, as well as an annotated typescript of the original story by De Palma and Hirsch. Also most likely related to that project is an original film treatment (circa 1970) by De Palma titled "Home Movie," which includes one single note written by De Niro. De Palma would go on to make a film titled Home Movies in 1979-80, but this treatment seems more likely something like the David Holzman's Diary-inspired section of Hi, Mom! that ended up transformed into the film we have today. But who knows-- perhaps when we visit the museum and look at the collection, we'll find something entirely different.

THE WEDDING PARTY & THE UNTOUCHABLES
Also in the collection is an undated shooting script for De Niro's first film, The Wedding Party, complete with De Niro's notes. There is also a June 1964 calendar marked out with scenes from the project. There is also an early and incomplete draft of David Mamet's screenplay for The Untouchables, again with De Niro's notes, as well as a version dated July 22 1986, and subsequent revisions from September and October. There are also several photographs of Al Capone with De Niro's notes, and two copies of Neil Elliott's My Years with Capone, one of which is annotated by De Niro. There are also Untouchables-related production materials, including make-up/hair continuity, wardrobe polaroids, publicity materials, a premiere invitation, and a copy of John Kobler's 1971 book Capone with Mamet's handwritten notes throughout the text.

Also included in the collection are production photographs from Hi, Mom!, and publicity flyers and photographs from Greetings. Oh, and a couple of other gems of interest: two correspondences from De Palma to De Niro, along with notes from Scorsese, Spielberg, Coppola, Frankenheimer, and several outgoing letters from De Niro. View the preliminary inventory list right here.

DE NIRO CHANNELS SPRINGSTEEN
And finally, the real reason I chose the above image from Taxi Driver: according to the Daily Express, Clarence Clemons, who coached De Niro on how to play saxophone for Scorsese's New York, New York, recently told the New York Daily News that De Niro got the famous "You talkin' to me" line in Scorsese's Taxi Driver from Bruce Springsteen. "[De Niro] had been to one of our concerts," said Clemons, "and the audience was yelling out 'Bruce!' In those days, Bruce would stop onstage and say, 'You talkin' to me?' De Niro was kind of channeling him."


Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:57 AM CDT
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