Monday, August 18, 2008

Time flies when you're in the dark

Robert De Niro turned 65 Sunday. Age doesn't necessarily have anything to do with one's outlook, but I thought it would be interesting to check out the ages of some of the players who appeared with De Niro in "Mean Streets," (1973), still one of his best roles, as well as of some of the actors from other early De Niro movies: "Godfather: Part II" (1974) and "Taxi Driver" (1976). And I'm not even going to get into the actors who aren't with us anymore, names such as Peter Boyle (Wizard in "Taxi Driver"), John Cazale ("Fredo" in "Godfather: Part II"), Lee Strasberg (Hyman Roth in "Godfather: Part II"), Michael V. Gazzo (Frankie Pentangeli in "Godfather: Part II") and Bruno Kirby (Young Clemenza in "Godfather: Part II").

"MEAN STREETS." Director, Martin Scorsese, 65; Harvey Keitel, 69; and Amy Robinson, 60.
When I first saw "Mean Streets," I was working in Manhattan. I had to sneak off at lunch to catch an early show. That's right. I couldn't wait. I left the theater totally shattered, wandered the streets for what seemed like a long time and then returned to my office. I'd seen glimpses of people with whom I'd grown up in "Mean Streets," characters I never expected to reach the screen.

"GODFATHER: PART II." Director, Francis Ford Coppola, 69; Robert Duvall, 77; Al Pacino, 68; and Diane Keaton, 62.
I saw it on the day it opened in Manhattan. One of the few times an eagerly anticipated movie fulfilled and even surpassed my expectations.

"TAXI DRIVER." Cybill Shepherd, 58; Jodie Foster, 45; and Albert Brooks, 61.
I saw this one at the since vanished New Yorker Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Powerful, disturbing, not fully digestible. To this day, I'm not sure I've made up my mind about Scorsese's searing, violent explosion of movie.

Enough said. Those are movies from the glory days of my cinema viewing. I'm not overly nostalgic for that time, but I'll never forget it either.

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