New 35mm prints of Martin Scorsese's 1970's documentaries Italianamerican
and American Boy
have been touring the country this year (hopefully this means a DVD release is not too far away). I had the distinct pleasure of seeing them last night at the Detroit Institute of Art
. Regular readers of the memo are aware of my devotion to the work of Martin Scorsese. I had never seen American Boy
until last night. The most revealing moment in it, however, had little to do with Scorsese and more to do with Quentin Tarantino.American Boy
is little more than an hour long film full of Steven Prince, the gun dealer in Taxi Driver
, telling stories about his life. He has led a fascinating life and he is a natural storyteller. One of the tales he tells is when he had to administer an adrenaline shot to the heart of a woman who had overdosed. He talks about a little black medical book, and how he drew a circle on her chest with a felt tip pen in order to give him a place to aim, and he says that you have to bring the needle down in a "stabbing motion". So finally, the seminal moment for the most breathtaking sequence in Pulp Fiction
has been revealed.
In addition, the film opens with Prince and George Memmoli (who played the guy in Mean Streets
that they get into the "what's a mook?" fight with) greeting each other by wrestling around on the ground for about five minutes - obviously the reference for Mr. Blonde and Nice Guy Eddie's reunion in Reservoir Dogs
What's the moral of this story? Good artists borrow, great artists steal.