"The star of a movie isn't the only person to interview. Sometimesit's more important to talk to the director, writer and producer. Not always,because some films are meant to exploit a star. But not a film like "TaxiDriver". It's a powerful motionpicture that will probably figure greatly in next year's Oscarrace. The star is Robert DeNiro, and he's good. But the picture has the
indelible mark of its director,MartinScorsese (and it's pronounced "Score-sess-see").
Scorsese is a short man with tall ideas. His first major film, "Mean Streets",exposed another side of "The Godfather's" domain. It was made on a shoestring anddidn't get much exposure, but it did attract attention. Ellen Burstyn wanted towork under Scorsese's direction after she saw it, and the result was an Oscar(the picture was "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"). Robert DeNiro (who starredin "Mean Streets") wanted to work with Scorsese again, and the result is "TaxiDriver". In the film Scorsese uses
every trick of his tradeto make every scene pack awallop. He's known for the way he can bring a character into focus byhighlighting symbolic details. In "Taxi Driver" he emphasizes the loneliness ofa man obsessed with self-destruction by showing how he eats, walks and lies tohis parents. He also created a setting for his pathetic herowith one of the most amazing openingshots to a movie I've ever seen. When I met him, I complimented him on it.
Thatwasn't supposed to be the first scene," he told me. "The script starts withDeNiro being interviewed for the taxi job. But I wanted a scene to set the moodand waited until I got it." The scene is a shot of wet streets with steambillowing out of a man-hole. The steam fills the screen, and the taxi drivesthrough and stops in center screen. At the same time the jazz-type musical scoremakes it seem like an appearance of Satan. It's agripping sequence that set the mood for the whole show perfectly."
(Excerpt from Bob Polunsky's review of TAXI DRIVER, San Antonio Light, Sunday,May 2, 1976)