The creation of the island, or the impression of the island, as it changes in the mind of the character also came in to play... there was another very important collaborator, Rob Legato, on special visual effects. And then ultimately there's Thelma Schoonmaker, who keeps me focused during the editing of the picture.
[David Lean's] images stay with me forever. But what makes them memorable isn't necessarily their beauty. That's just good photography. It's the emotion behind those images that's meant the most to me over the years. It's the way David Lean can put feeling on film. The way he shows a whole landscape of the spirit. For me, that's the real geography of David Lean country. And that's why, in a David Lean movie, there's no such thing as an empty landscape.
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It's also true that I might have never made Taxi Driver  were it not for the success of Alice [Doesn't Live Here Anymore, 1974]. The question of commercialism is a source of worry. Must one make a choice, must it be a matter of either setting your sights on winning an Academy Award and becoming a millionaire, or making only the movies you want to make and starving to death?
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As a kid I watched the Academy Awards on television and always wanted one - or several - like one of my favorite directions, John Ford. He won six. On the other hand, Orson Welles, who's on the top of my list, didn't win any. Alfred Hitchcock didn't win any. Howard Hawks didn't win any.
Michael Jackson was extraordinary, When we worked together on 'Bad,' I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time. It was like watching quicksilver in motion. He was wonderful to work with, an absolute professional at all times, and it really goes without saying... a true artist. It will be a while before I can get used to the idea that he's no longer with us.
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The most interesting of the classic movie genres to me are the indigenous ones: the Western, which was born on the Frontier, the Gangster Film, which originated in the East Coast cities, and the Musical, which was spawned by Broadway. They remind me of jazz: they allowed for endless, increasingly complex, sometimes perverse variations. When these variations were played by the masters, they reflected the changing times; they gave you fascinating insights into American culture and the American psyche.
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I know that I come from mid-20th century America, urban, specifically downtown New York, specifically an Italian-American area, Roman Catholic - that's who I am. And a part of what I know is there's a decency to people who tried to make a living in the kind of world that was around us and also the Skid Row area of the Bowery; it impressed me.
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Our world is so glutted with useless information, images, useless images, sounds, all this sort of thing. It's a cacophony, it's like a madness I think that's been happening in the past twenty-five years. And I think anything that can help a person sit in a room alone and not worry about it is good.
People say you should do it this way, someone else suggests that, yes, there's financing, but maybe you should use this actor. And there are the threats, at the end - if you don't do it this way, you'll lose your box office; if you don't do it that way, you'll never get financed again... 35, 40 years of this, you get beat up.
One of the things is that the good intentions of Prohibition, from reading over the years and from becoming obsessed with the research of gangs in New York City, seems to have allowed crime figures at the time, like Luciano, Capone, Torrio and Rothstein, to organize to become more powerful, which pulled all the way through until the '70s.
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I'm often asked by younger filmmakers, 'Why do I need to look at old movies?' I've made a number of pictures in the last 20 years and the response I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I've made in 20 years, the more I realize I really don't know. And I'm always looking for something or someone that I could learn from. I tell the younger filmmakers, and the young students, that do it like painters used to do""that painters do""study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand the canvas. There's always so much more to learn.
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I've been extremely lucky to work with Elmer Bernstein, Howard Shore over the years, but I've always imagined films with my own scores, because I don't come from that world or that period of filmmaking. And so how could I make up my own score on a film like this where it isn't necessarily made up of popular music from the radio or the period; it isn't necessarily classical music. But what if it's modern symphonic music?
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Orson Welles was a force of nature, who just came in and wiped the slate clean. And Citizen Kane is the greatest risk-taking of all time in film. I don't think anything had even seen anything quite like it. The photography was also unlike anything we'd seen. The odd coldness of the filmmaker towards the character reflects his own egomania and power, and yet a powerful empathy for all of them--it's very interesting. It still holds up, and it's still shocking. It takes storytelling and throws it up in the air.
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DAYS THAT I'LL REMEMBER is a lovingly assembled and beautifully written collection of conversations, observations, and memories of music, friendship, and days gone by. It's good to be back again with John Lennon, his beloved Yoko Ono, and his trusted chronicler and friend Jonathan Cott.
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The cinema began with a passionate, physical relationship between celluloid and the artists and craftsmen and technicians who handled it, manipulated it, and came to know it the way a lover comes to know every inch of the body of the beloved. No matter where the cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of its beginnings.
I do prefer doing more takes. There's something very organic that comes from the first take, but certain things come out. More details come out, in the way another actor says something. It's always this investigative process. You come further and further to the truth, the more you escalate. I like to do a lot of takes. I have a hunger for it. I like to see what there is to discover in a scene, that hasn't been thought of.
The more you see, especially being young, the more you see the past, the more you can draw upon that and the more you can make the present and the future. It's how you process the past and at oftentimes in the picture, there are references to certain imagery from certain pictures, and certain novels.
And so you try your best. Sometimes you go in with one thing, with one desire and come out with something else. In the case of The Aviator it was to create a Hollywood spectacle, but by about the second or third week of shooting you just want to literally survive it. Because don't forget, I also go through the editing process too, and when the film is released I have to talk about it. So, I take all of that very seriously.
When everything is added up, the frequent blows weighted against the sporadic triumphs, this is I have to say not just a vocation, it's a great gift. But you also know this, for your work, for your passion, every day is a rededication. Painters, dancers, actors, writers, filmmakers. It's the same for all of you, all of us. Every step is a first step. Every brush stroke is a test. Every scene is a lesson. Every shot is a school. So, let the learning continue.
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[Kubrick] was unique in the sense that with each new film he redefined the medium and its possibilities. But he was more than just a technical innovator. Like all visionaries, he spoke the truth. And no matter how comfortable we think we are with the truth, it always comes as a profound shock when we're forced to meet it face-to-face.
I would ask: Given the nature of free-market capitalism - where the rule is to rise to the top at all costs - is it possible to have a financial industry hero? And by the way, this is not a pop-culture trend we're talking about. There aren't many financial heroes in literature, theater or cinema.
Always get to the set or the location early, so that you can be all alone and draw your inspiration for the blocking and the setups in private and quiet. In one sense, it's about protecting yourself; in another sense, it's about always being open to surprise, even from the set, because there may be some detail that you hadn't noticed. I think this is crucial. There are many pictures that seem good in so many ways except one: They lack a sense of surprise, they've never left the page.
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You have to remain strong. That's the kind of filmmaker I want to encourage. Orson Welles was the one who said, you know, you can learn anything you need to know about filmmaking- that's camera, sound, celluloid, video at this point- in four hours. It has nothing to do with anything. It has nothing to do with it... It has to do with what you want to say. If you feel you have something to say, you'll find that way to get it said, on film, and not let anyone or anything chip away at that or tarnish it, because it's something special and precious.
Vertigo is probably my favourite Hitchcock film and probably one of my favourite films of all time. It's a film that I'm obsessed with. I saw it on its first release in vista vision, projected in vista-vision, at the Capitol Theatre in New York. That moment when the nun comes up in the end... it's just an extraordinary shot.
We're face-to-face with images all the time in a way that we never have been before. Young people need to understand that not all images are out there to be consumed like, you know, fast food and then forgotten. We need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.
Sam Fuller and Shock Corridor can only be conjured as a mantra. Shock Corridor is a classic work of art - it's unique. It comes from the unique experience of being Sam Fuller and yes, there's always that element of Shock Corridor hovering around the picture, but never specifically. In fact, I didn't even screen it because it's in us. It's in me anyway. It's in me. It was a way of conjuring up support just by saying the name, Shock Corridor, as I was going to shoot. Poor Sam [Fuller]...
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I think all of us, under certain circumstances, could be capable of some very despicable acts. And that's why, over the years, in my movies I've had characters who didn't care what people thought about them. We try to be as true to them as possible and maybe see part of ourselves in there that we may not like.