(AN ADDENDUM TO LAST WEEK'S POST)
Since last week's post about the steadicam shot in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, and how he had wanted to try to make it one minute longer than the elaborate steadicam shot in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, I've located a bit from a Cahiers du Cinéma interview in which Scorsese discusses that Untouchables scene. In 1996, Cahiers du Cinéma celebrated its 500th issue by inviting Scorsese to guest-edit the issue, and devoting it to Scorsese's "passion for cinema." The translated interviews/essays were published in Projections 7, edited by John Boorman and Walter Donohue, in 1997. In the issue, Scorsese refers to De Palma as his "pal," and a member of his own extended family, which also includes, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jay Cocks, among others. Here is what Scorsese had to say in 1996 about De Palma as a filmmaker:
Brian is a great director. Nobody can interpret things visually like he does: telling a story through a lens. Take the scene in The Untouchables where Charles Martin Smith is shot in the elevator. Look at that steadycam shot; he's not just moving the camera to show you that we can go longer because we have the steadycam. Francis used to tell me, "Marty, we can start a shot and go up to the Empire State Building and come back down. Anybody can do it. You have to know how to move a camera a little bit, that's all." A lot of people use the steadycam and don't know what they're doing. What Brian does with it is tell the story, progressing the story within the shot. That's just one example. Then in Carlito's Way there's a scene entering a night-club and the camera tracks up. It's extraordinary, his visual interpretation. He deals with stories that enable him to do that sort of thing. So when you get a real De Palma picture like Raising Cain or Body Double, you're getting something really unique. He's provocative. He goes, "I'm going to do this again. Hitchcock did it - so what? Who cares? I'm doing it this way." Brian knows. We always talk about that together.