The Martin Scorsese Collection Martin Scorsese

The Martin Scorsese Collection Martin Scorsese
No one is going to pick up this five-film collection that spans the career of America's greatest living director and be convinced, watching GoodFellas again, of his genius. If his consummate skill — as a film enthusiast, a storyteller, a director of actors, a constructor of images, and as a conductor of popular music — isn't immediately obvious watching his 1990 masterwork, don't even bother. If, however, you still get hot under the collar when reminded that Kevin Costner's Dances With Wolves topped it at the 1990 Oscars not only for best picture, but also for writing and editing (editing!), welcome home. In addition to an extensive two-disc appreciation of GoodFellas, including participation from its subject, gangster turned Witness Protection client Henry Hill, this box marks the arrival of three more Scorsese efforts on DVD. His first film, Who's That Knocking On My Door, is the least polished but remains fascinating; constructed first as a short student film (called Bring On the Dancing Girls), then expanded in stages over a four-year period, it features an unknown Harvey Keitel dealing with the conflicts between his Little Italy roots and his love for a sophisticated uptown girl. In it, one can see not only the director's ambition and his embryonic vision, but his knack for marrying song to image seems preternaturally developed. Scorsese's heritage gets a celebrated treatment in Mean Streets, which would make and to many, defines his career, but he followed up that masterpiece with Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, which takes him from the macho New York streets to the lonely heart of a single mom (Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn) who leaves an abusive husband for a new life and love. Skip ahead almost a decade, and we get the fascinating, if uneven, After Hours, a film made when Scorsese was hardly the hottest of Hollywood tickets, despite coming off Raging Bull and The King of Comedy. After Hours is a fast-paced, low budget surreal comedy of one night in downtown Manhattan, but retains Scorsese's trademark tracking and overhead cameras, and one again, the music. The advertised "commentaries" on each film are actually sliced interviews — almost no one involved seems to be watching the film — which is a bit of a missed opportunity from a scholar like Scorsese, but if you want film school, just go back to GoodFellas. There, in all its rule-breaking glory, is how to make an American story come alive. Plus: making of featurettes on all films, legacy, storyboard and Henry Hill featurettes on GoodFellas. (Warner)