Similar Images #9

Blast of Silence
(Allen Baron; 1961)

Taxi Driver
(Martin Scorsese; 1976)


Patrick Murtha said...

Blast of Silence is a truly great film, not merely an interesting low-budget effort.

Had Scorsese seen it? Well, of course Martin sees everything, so there's one answer. But I would also point out the strong level of affinity between three low-budget made-on-location New York films of the 1955-1970 era: Blast of Silence, Kubrick's Killer's Kiss, and Scorsese's Who's That Knocking at My Door? Watch them in succession and see if you don't feel the kinship -- in detail as well as general feel: for example, if I remember correctly, all three films feature rooftop sequences.

All are very good films, but Blast of Silence is the best of the group. It is sad that Allen Baron didn't go on to have a career at the Scorsese or Kubrick level.

Tommy O'C said...

As you've noted, Scorcese has seen everything, so the similarity is too uncanny to be coincidental. This was an excellent catch.

I've seen "Killer's Kiss" (as a native New Yorker, it's the only film I know of that shows so much authentic footage of the original, much-mourned Penn Station) but not the other two movies. I intend to correct that asap.

Patrick Murtha said...

You will enjoy the other two greatly, no doubt about it.

Patrick Ciccone said...

Reminds me that a (less obscure) diptych of the final shot of Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery against the insert shot of Joe Pesci firing toward the camera from the end of Goodfellas would be à propos as well.

-vt- said...

I've read somewhere that Blast of Silence is actually Scorsese's favourite 'New York Movie', hence the similarities, I guess.
Baby boy Frankie Bono is like a prototype of Travis Bickle. Similar body movements, similar awkwardness toward women (and well, everyone), the obvious loneliness etc. Both are great movies, Blast of Silence deserves more recognition.

PS: When will the Scott Walker BBC series continue... Or am I missing something?

Tom Sutpen said...

I've avoided Scorsese in this series; perhaps because there are so many instances of this in his work that you could probably build an entire series around them (cue light bulb over Stephen, Richard or Kimberly's head). He makes it too easy.

Since posting the first entry in the Scott Walker BBC series, I've been working on the introductory remarks for the second. When I can string enough non-embarassing, marginally decent sentences together (I dare not confront any question of that sort beginning with "If"), I assure you the next edition will be posted.

swac said...

There's a lot more in Blast of Silence that carries over to Taxi Driver...including long shots of New York streets out the side of a moving car window. Heck, Scorsese probably owns his own print of this, stashed away in the film vault at Eastman House.

I suppose it was an easy pick, as there are so many homages in Scorsese's work, but once these similarities pop into your head they're hard to shake loose until you actually line them up. On the old Criterion laserdisc commentary (never ported over to DVD as far as I know) Scorsese notes Mario Bava as an influence on certain scenes. Still trying to figure out which ones.

marklunn said...

"never rack to the gun"

Autospike said...

I wonder if either are really cross-dominant (Right hand - left eye). Somehow I think the director just thought it looked cool.