Made Men: The Making of Goodfellas and the Reboot of the American Gangster Picture
In the late 1980s, Director Martin Scorsese was an iconoclast in his trade. His career had hit high notes with Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), low notes with the underappreciated The King of Comedy(1983), and controversy with The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He was floundering, professionally and financially, when tackling the adaptation of the Henry Hill biography Wiseguy. The book had been optioned into a movie before Author Nicholas Pileggi had finished writing. Both Scorsese and Pileggi had been familiar with the world of Organized Crime, both would utilize this in crafting the renamed Goodfellas. Scorsese set about making the movie with his talented production crew, including his then Wife. The cast would include Ray Liotta as Henry, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci, Paul Sorvino but would be sealed with the casting of Robert DeNiro. A slightly over budget shoot and a couple of disastrous screenings would not deter the impact of this award-winning classic.
The making of one of the most beloved Crime Dramas/Gangster movies is not easy, but neither is deconstructing it. Made Men by Glenn Kenny succeeds at taking all moving parts and viewing them step by step, from “in development” to “soundtrack” to an epilogical “where are they now”. Kenny’s masterful work benefits from interviews with Scorsese, along with numerous cast and crew. A fascinating biography of a wonderful film. A++
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