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Gangster films

The Maltese Falcon is considered to be one of the key films cementing the genre in the respect of the public, as well as establishing its archetypes. The Maltese Falcon is often considered a first of its kind. And of its kind, it is grouped with such films as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, The Glass Key, Mildred Pierce, Slightly Scarlet, The Big Sleep, The Blue Dahlia and many others. Of these films, over time, The Maltese Falcon has warranted significant consideration for its influence on film noir.

This is supported by the fact that the 1941 version has been officially classified as cultural significant by the Library of Congress. In one case where this is considered empowering for women, it is also largely protested by many contemporary feminist groups in the fact that woman are vilified. In gangster films, specifically in those of Martin Scorsese, short cuts often blended with classic rock tracks like Jimi Hendrix, or pink Floyd tracks like “Comfortably Numb” to imply a certain connection with the drug culture as well as add an edge to the plot making it more relevant to the lives of the modern day audience.

When the plot is edgy and culturally captivating it is more liable to keep the audience entrenched in the story. This only adds to the fleeting aspect of life in gangster films, as the audience is always aware none of the characters are safe, and that any of them can be killed at any given moment. The violence and the explosive sound effects keep the audience alert and concerned with how scenes play out. No films better exemplify this than Scorsese’s The Departed and Goodfellas. Throughout these films, he sets up the musical score to closely correspond with the action on the screen.

Both films have aggressive and racy rock tracks that open scenes and then abruptly stop with the start of dialogue. In The Departed Scorsese also incorporates the use of the montage, where he quickly shows the long-term development key characters in the film by juxtaposing different images in sequence and then playing hard cutting musical tracks overtop, which are authentic to the time and setting of the scene. This technique in addition to the quick cuts between frames creates the feeling that the film is moving fast, which is very ironic considering the film has a running time of over 2 ?

hours. Good Fellas has developed a reputation in the film community for its extensive use of flash cuts, long tracking shots, and signature voiceovers by the three main characters played by Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci. The synchronized use of these techniques has led Goodfellas to be considered one of the greatest films of all time by the MPAA (Belton, 1994). No New York director has more authentically and imbedded New York ideals into popular culture than Martin Scorsese. Classified as a contemporary auteur he has carved a niche as a New York Hollywood director.

The auteur theory protests that the director’s films reflect the particular director’s personal creative vision, as though he or she were the sole author of the work. The French word for author, many film producers have notably been credited for having auteur like influences on film projects. It has also had a major impact on film criticism, since it was erected by film director and critic Francois Truffaut in 1954. This is partly why Auteurism is most immediately connected with French New Wave. This of course, was a connection made most commonly in the mid 1950’s to 60’s before American filmmakers embodied the theory.

Today, no contemporary American director more deserves the title of auteur than Martin Scorsese. He has presented his genuine Italian New York culture in such an authentic way that, for so long, it is unclear whether his work is a reflection of the city, or the city is a reflection of his work. Martin Scorsese is the perfect example of an auteur because he uses the same thematic consistencies throughout all of his work. These entail Catholicism, virgin/whore conflict, redemption, ethnic pride, and of course crime culture. On top of this, he supports all of his plots with very eclectic soundtracks.

The cinematography he uses is very similar in all of his films. He utilizes the fluid motion of the camera with each shot, while making the mis-en-scene of each frame valuable to the plot of the story. He is also know for using some of the same actors in his films, specifically Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel. Of his large body of work, Mean Street symbolizes the blue print to the archetype that has become his unique style (Raymond, 2002). It was his first film and it contains all of the key characteristics with which he modeled his style.

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