BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3.30pm
This brilliant documentary, part of the Martin Scorsese season at BFI Southbank, is also being screened at the cinema on January 8th. Full details here.
Here is the BFI introduction:
Made for the BFI’s Century of Cinema series of documentaries, this survey of American filmmaking from the silent era to the end of the 60s (just before Scorsese’s own career took flight) is an exhaustive but always engrossing account of how the movies affected him both as a cinephile and as a director. Scorsese’s profound passion for the film medium is evident throughout.
Chicago Reader review:
An enjoyable, lively, informal three-part history of American movies, more than three hours long, conducted by Martin Scorsese (writer Michael Henry played a substantial role in putting it together). One of the film's many virtues is that not all the names and titles cited are obvious ones. Part one deals with the struggle between business and creativity, offers a survey of early American cinema called “The Director as Storyteller,” and takes a look at three genres—the western, the gangster film, and the musical. Part two deals with film language and studio directors who smuggled subversive ideas into their work. Part three carries the smuggling theme into the McCarthy era, then winds up with a discussion of “the director as iconoclast” that includes a discussion of Orson Welles, among others. Any of the parts can be viewed in isolation; together they add up to a rich survey of the subject by a genuine aficionado.
Here (and above) is the opening of the documentary.