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"A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" on TCM

By Devin D. O'Leary

FEBRUARY 14, 2000:  If you're gonna listen to one guy's opinion on movies, you could do a hell of a lot worse than pulling up a chair and lending an ear to Martin Scorsese. Forget his master's degree from N.Y.U. Forget his tireless efforts to restore and exhibit classic films. Forget the more than 30 Oscar nominations his works have garnered. Just look at the movies he's made: Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, After Hours, The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino. The man knows movies.

Now, Turner Classic Movies is giving Scorsese his very own film festival, in which the New York auteur is able to expound upon every little corner of the filmmaking industry that interests him (and there are a lot). For three straight nights, beginning on Feb. 14, Scorsese will be leading TCM viewers on a personal journey through the crowded landscape of American cinema. Saddled with the unwieldy, but rather appropriate title of "A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies," this intimate, three-part documentary series offers Scorsese's reflection on the role of the director in American filmmaking. Scorsese's filmic reminiscence is highlighted by hundreds of film clips, from mainstream to B-movie. Separate, stand-alone chapters such as "The Director as Iconoclast," "The Director as Illusionist," "The Director as Storyteller" and "The Director as Smuggler" illustrate the various roles a director assumes in the movie-making process and show just how a great work of art is created within the largely collaborative medium of film.

Accompanying this detailed but highly accessible documentary/film lecture is a week-long, 19-film festival spotlighting many of the movies that influenced Scorsese as a young director. Highlights include 1903's The Great Train Robbery (Thursday, Feb. 17, 6 p.m.); 1953's The Naked Spur (Friday, Feb. 18); 1945's Detour (Thursday, Feb. 17, midnight); and 1953's The Bad and The Beautiful (Monday, Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.) with Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner -- which Scorsese lauds as "the best drama about Hollywood's creative battle."

Just to prove he's capable of playing with the big boys, Scorsese also will be screening three of his own films -- truck stop drama Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, musical period piece New York, New York and rock concert film The Last Waltz.

So, forget if you can for a few nights that it's Sweeps Month. Turn off that prime time game show and use your Idiot Box to watch some quality movies for a change. Film school geeks and casual movie lovers alike will find much to relish in TCM's week-long Marty Party.

"A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" begins on Monday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. Part 2 airs on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Part 3 airs on Wednesday, Feb. 16. Two historical Hollywood films and one Martin Scorsese masterpiece follow each night's documentary. The film festival continues through Friday, Feb. 18, with even more cool Marty Party movies beginning every night at 6 p.m.


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