My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I saw that my favorite movie critic wrote a book about my favorite director I knew I had to read this book!
From the book’s introduction-
Roger Ebert wrote the first film review that director Martin Scorsese ever received—for 1967’s I Call First —when both men were just embarking on their careers. Ebert had never been touched by a movie in quite the same way before, and this experience created a lasting bond that made him one of Scorsese’s most appreciative and perceptive commentators. Scorsese by Ebert offers the first record of America’s most respected film critic’s engagement with the works of America’s greatest living director. The book chronicles every single feature film in Scorsese’s considerable oeuvre, from his aforementioned debut to his 2008 release, the Rolling Stones documentary, Shine a Light.The book does recount every review Ebert wrote including several of the obligatory interviews with the director during the some of his movie’s press tour as well as some reconsiderations on his earlier reviews. I also thought it would be illuminating to read the thoughts of someone who was there from the beginning of Scorsese’s career or as the introduction puts it “when both men were just embarking on their careers”. They’re generally the same age and have similar backgrounds and are ideally kindred spirits.
Not surprisingly I enjoyed the writings about the Scorsese films I either liked or have an interest in the most. It was also good to read about Scorsese’s early works when he was just starting out. You can read how someone who is considered one of the great American filmmakers started out with struggles with the studios and to get his films made. Through Ebert’s interviews with Scorsese you can see how passionately and deeply he feels about the art of film.
Scorsese’s passion is evident in a chapter I particularly enjoyed, a reprint of a transcript from a master class Scorsese and Ebert had (Part 4: Reflecting; page 157) when Scorsese received an award from the School of the Arts at Ohio State University in 1997. You could really visualize Scorsese’s enthusiasm for film when you read it.
The last chapter of the book, a chapter I was looking forward to “Part 6: Masterpieces” was actually the worst. It was pretty much a regurgitation of what was said earlier in the book. For the record said "Masterpieces" were -Mean Streets, Taxi Driver , Raging Bull, GoodFellas & The Age of Innocence.
In the end though I enjoyed the book and reading about an auteur and whom I consider a master of film.
UPDATE JUNE 2013
You can read excerpts from the chapter I really liked, Part 4: Reflecting, a reprint of a transcript from a master class Scorsese and Ebert had when Scorsese received an award from the Wexner School for the Arts at Ohio State University below!
You can also read other sections of the book!
View all my BOOK reviews at Goodreads