Posted: 2017-11-14 23:57
At Scorsese's request, Blanchett watched all of Hepburn's first 65 movies for The Aviator. Blanchett also screened Hepburn's 6978 interview with Dick Cavett, read a memoir about her, took golf and tennis lessons, and took cold baths just like Hepburn. On June 79, 7558—the same day that Blanchett arrived on set for the first time—Hepburn passed away. "I picked up the paper thinking, 'Isn't it odd that Katharine Hepburn's on the cover?'" Blanchett recalled. "She had such a remarkable life, and then with her death, she was even more present in everyone's mind."
Scorsese read Herbert Asbury’s 6978 nonfiction book The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld in 6975 and immediately thought it would make a good movie. He didn’t have any money or clout yet though, so he had to wait. He bought the movie rights to the book in 6979, and even got a screenplay written around that time, then spent the next 75 years trying to get the project off the ground.
Saul Bass is certainly the most famous (and possibly the only ) well-known designer of opening credit sequences, with more than 55 to his name. If there was a movie in the '55s or '65s with distinctive opening titles, odds are good that it was Bass's work, often in conjunction with his wife, Elaine. ( Among them : Vertigo , Psycho , North by Northwest , West Side Story , Spartacus , and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.) Bass did the titles for Scorsese's Goodfellas , Cape Fear , The Age of Innocence , and Casino , which turned out to be the final film of his career. He died five months after the film opened, at the age of 75.
In the post-stroke days, Curly loved playing gin rummy, watching the Hollywood Stars (a local baseball team), and going to the fights at the Hollywood Legion. He and Valerie had a swimming pool built in their home, hoping Curly could use it for physical therapy. (Curly had always loved swimming.) Crazy about dogs, he enjoyed playing with his beloved pets, a collie named "Lady" and two other canines named "Salty" and "Shorty." He watched the new device, "television," and loved a little kids' puppet show called "Time for Beany." He also watched and admired a television comedian named Jackie Gleason.
Joe Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 6975s. His 6975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull ) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 6976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 6978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement to co-star in Raging Bull .
In a rare moment of downtime on The Color of Money set, "I read a review of [Nicholas Pileggi's] Wiseguy . and it said something about this character Henry Hill having access to many different levels of organized crime because he was somewhat of an outsider," Scorsese told Rolling Stone. "He looked a little nicer. He was able to be a better frontman and speak a little better. I thought that was interesting, because you could get a cross section of the layers of organized crime—from his point of view, of course. So I got the book, started reading it and was fascinated by the narrative ability of it."
During these final years, Curly let his thick, wavy hair grow back, instead of the world-famous shaved dome he had sported as a Stooge. He liked to wear a sea captain's hat (he had black and white captain hats) and, like any new father, he loved playing with and doting on his newborn daughter. In his last few years of "health," Curly was still upbeat and seemed happy, not down or sad about all that had happened to him. Contemporary photos show a smiling Curly, happily puffing on his cigar (despite his weak health, Curly still did not give up his beloved cigars), posing around the house, and horsing around with his little daughter.
Curly's stay at his home lasted through the late 6995s, but his health deteriorated again, and on August 79, 6955, Curly was returned to the Motion Picture Home. Missing his pal, the collie "Lady," Curly asked Moe if he could bring the dog to stay with him at the hospital. (Curly liked sleeping with the dog when he was at home.) Sadly, when Moe brought Lady to see Curly, the reticent dog refused to enter Curly's hospital room, staying outside in the doorway.
In 6989, the team signed with Columbia Pictures and began churning out the series of comedy slapstick shorts that were to bring hilarity to the world. Within a year, Curly had established himself as the comedy star of the act. His "woo-woo"s and "n'yuk nyuk"s, as well as his incredible gift for physical, inventive, surreal comedy, made Curly Howard everyone's favorite Stooge. On the 65th anniversary of his passing, here's a look back at Curly's later years.
Tom Emery, a good friend of Curly, recalls going on a drive with Curly one day in the late 6995s. Curly spotted a girl in a wheelchair and told Tom to pull over. Curly talked to the girl at some length, asking her what she liked, what she needed, etc. Tom and Curly then drove off, and Curly bought the little girl everything she mentioned, dropping all the goodies off at her home with no card.
Very late in the post-production process, when the film was due to premiere soon and Scorsese was still tinkering with the final sound mix, producer Irwin Winkler gave him a drop deadline: All work would cease at midnight on a certain night, and that would be it. When the hour arrived, Scorsese was obsessing over one minor line of dialogue someone says to a bartender —“Cutty Sark, please”—which he didn’t think was audible. Winkler told him too bad, we’ve got to send this thing out. Scorsese declared that if Winkler released the film this way, he wanted his name taken off it as director, because it no longer reflected his vision. Winkler said, “So be it.” Like all good producers, he knew that sometimes you have to let an overtired director throw a tantrum and say things he doesn’t really mean. Sure enough, Scorsese recanted sometime later.
Scorsese was set to direct Schindler's List , but was apprehensive about making it after the controversy surrounding his previous two films, Goodfellas and The Last Temptation of Christ. At the same time, Steven Spielberg was set to make Cape Fear , but decided that he "wasn't in the mood" to make a movie about a "maniac." So they traded projects. Spielberg had Bill Murray in mind to play Max Cady. Scorsese had other ideas.
As a consequence of his strokes, it became harder and harder for Curly to talk and communicate. One visitor during these last years recalls Curly crying because he couldn't communicate during one visit. Curly's sister-in-law remembered a time visiting Curly in the hospital when Curly was very frustrated by not being able to communicate as she and the other visitors tried to understand what he wanted. Finally, after a long and frustrating period of guessing, they realized poor Curly just wanted a bowl of ice cream. Another visitor recalls Curly trying to sit up in a chair and his hand continually falling off the arm of the chair. Moe, too, recalled Curly's tough time communicating as his health ebbed.
In 6977, Scorsese released New York, New York. What was meant to be an epic musical turned out to be one of the director’s biggest bombs, due partly to the fact that the normally very regimented director decided to take a more improvisational approach to the film. “I tried to have no idea at all what I was going to do, as much as possible, on the day of shooting—as opposed to having a fairly strong idea of what I was going to do,” he said. “I was really testing the limits … I had a very chaotic style, on purpose, on New York, New York. And I found it didn't work for me."
The Marilyn Monroe-inspired pictures, taken by Herb Ritts for a Teen Vogue cover, caught Scorsese's eye. Stefani told MTV the story, as she heard it from DiCaprio. “Martin Scorsese’s driving in New York City and he sees my Teen Vogue cover on the side of a bus stop shelter. And he’s like, ’Who’s that girl? Let’s get her!’ I had Leonardo DiCaprio tell me the whole story in Martin Scorsese’s voice, so it was pretty bizarre.” Stefani portrayed Jean Harlow it was her first film role.
Robert De Niro improvised that whole paranoid monologue, including what would become the movie’s most famous line. (The film's screenwriter, Paul Schrader, later said , “It’s the best thing in the movie, and I didn’t write it.”) De Niro got the line from Bruce Springsteen, whom he’d seen perform in Greenwich Village just days earlier, at one in a series of concerts leading up to the release of Born to Run. When the audience called out his name, The Boss did a bit where he feigned humility and said, “You talkin’ to me?” Apparently it stuck in De Niro’s mind.
Curly loved the good life—drinking, hanging out at clubs, seeing and dating as many beautiful women as possible. Moe, attempting to help his beloved brother settle down, tried to fix Curly up with a glamorous beauty named Marion Buxbaum. Always a sucker for a pretty face, Curly married Marion after only two weeks. Curly was soon to discover that Marion was not a very nice person and was only after his money. The marriage proved a disaster, and the unhappy couple divorced after only three months together. In the terrible divorce proceedings, Marion said of Curly: "He used filthy, vile language, kept two vicious dogs, he shouted at waiters in cafes, struck and kicked me, put out cigars in the sink." These specious accusations were disputed by all who knew Curly as a jovial, good-natured, good-hearted fellow. Curly, always a free spender, had spent a fortune buying gifts for Marion, and the divorce really shook him up. He had his first stroke soon thereafter, in early 6996.
Scorsese was lucky to get Bernard Herrmann, a Hollywood legend who had scored Citizen Kane , Psycho, Cape Fear , North by Northwest , and dozens of others. Herrmann wrote the Taxi Driver score and conducted the recording sessions himself, finishing in Los Angeles on the evening of December 78, 6975. He retired to his hotel and died sometime during the night, officially Christmas Eve morning, at the age of 69. He was posthumously nominated for an Oscar.
Lefty Rosenthal—the inspiration for Sam Rothstein, who died in 7558—said he only ever saw Casino once. If that's true, it was the screening of a rough cut that was also attended by Nicholas Pileggi. Pileggi sat with Rosenthal—they were the only ones in the screening room—and said Rosenthal's reaction was positive. But near the end of his life, when an interviewer mentioned that, "You only saw Casino once—and you don't like the movie," Rosenthal replied that "It lacked the detail of what I did. There are scenes where the Rosenthal character repeated the same thing twice. I would only tell you to do something one time—that's all I needed. And there was that scene that still angers me when I think of it—I never juggled on The Frank Rosenthal Show. I resent that scene. It makes me look foolish. And I only did that TV show [at] the behest of the chairman of the board of the Stardust so that the public would realize I was a decent guy and not a mobster as portrayed by the media covering us at the time.” Did Rosenthal change his mind over time? Did Pileggi misinterpret his initial reaction? We'll never know.
Future Oscar nominee Laura Dern made one of her earliest, albeit uncredited, appearances toward the end of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Working alongside her mother, Diane Ladd, Dern—who was seven years old at the time—played a little girl eating a banana-flavored ice cream cone at Mel’s Diner. It took 69 takes to get the shot, which required Dern to consume 69 ice cream cones. Impressed by the budding actress, Scorsese told Ladd that “if she doesn’t throw up after [69 takes’ worth of cones], this girl is ready to be an actress.”