New York, New York ★★★½

Do I look like a gentleman to you in this shirt and these pants?
-Jimmy

I think it's awesome that one of the men that helped usher in the grittiness of 70s cinema also saw fit to make a musical with every artificial touch the genre had to offer in the 1940s. There's a few movies in Martin Scorsese's filmography that are a testament to his love of film's that came before and this is one of them. If you've never watched an interview with him speaking about film history you owe yourself to watch one. He's like a living encyclopedia of cinema and his enthusiasm for practically every genre fathomable is infectious.

New York, New York isn't just made like similar films from 30 years prior, but it's even made on many of the same sound stages. Now making a musical like that is risky enough in 1977, but Scorsese does one better and instead of just making it a love story, he makes it about two people that are in love, but at the same time make each other miserable because they are both creative artists almost unable to coexist.

If that wasn't enough of an experiment, Scorsese also encouraged Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli to improvise as much of the dialogue as possible. This creates some great moments between the two, but also must have made editing this beast of a film a nightmare resulting in an unflexible narrative.

It's a film about two people who love their art as much as each other and something has to give.

Or maybe it's just a film about two crazy people living in New York. Either way it's Scorsese experimenting and it might not be a masterpiece, but it's damn fascinating to watch.

Mr. DuLac liked this review