Taxi Driver [Limited Collector's Edition] [2 Discs]

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aec.ctr17404dvd 8/14/07 New
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Synopsis

"All the animals come out at night" -- and one of them is a cabby about to snap. In Martin Scorsese's classic 1970s drama, insomniac ex-Marine Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) works the nightshift, driving his cab throughout decaying mid-'70s New York City, wishing for a "real rain" to wash the "scum" off the neon-lit streets. Chronically alone, Travis cannot connect with anyone, not even with such other cabbies as blowhard Wizard (Peter Boyle). He becomes infatuated with vapid blonde presidential campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), who agrees to a date and then spurns Travis when he cluelessly takes her to a porno movie. After an encounter with a malevolent fare (played by Scorsese), the increasingly paranoid Travis begins to condition (and arm) himself for his imagined destiny, a mission that mutates from assassinating Betsy's candidate, Charles Palatine (Leonard Harris), to violently "saving" teen hooker Iris (Jodie Foster) from her pimp, Sport (Harvey Keitel). Travis' bloodbath turns him into a media hero; but has it truly calmed his mind? Written by Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver is an homage to and reworking of cinematic influences, a study of individual psychosis, and an acute diagnosis of the latently violent, media-fixated Vietnam era. Scorsese and Schrader structure Travis' mission to save Iris as a film noir version of John Ford's late Western The Searchers (1956), aligning Travis with a mythology of American heroism while exposing that myth's obsessively violent underpinnings. Yet Travis' military record and assassination attempt, as well as Palatine's political platitudes, also ground Taxi Driver in its historical moment of American in the 1970s. Employing such techniques as Godardian jump cuts and ellipses, expressive camera moves and angles, and garish colors, all punctuated by Bernard Herrmann's eerie final score (finished the day he died), Scorsese presents a Manhattan skewed through Travis' point-of-view, where De Niro's now-famous "You talkin' to me" improv becomes one more sign of Travis' madness. Shot during a New York summer heat wave and garbage strike, Taxi Driver got into trouble with the MPAA for its violence. Scorsese desaturated the color in the final shoot-out and got an R, and Taxi Driver surprised its unenthusiastic studio by becoming a box-office hit. Released in the Bicentennial year, after Vietnam, Watergate, and attention-getting attempts on President Ford's life, Taxi Driver's intense portrait of a man and a society unhinged spoke resonantly to the mid-'70s audience -- too resonantly in the case of attempted Reagan assassin and Foster fan John W. Hinckley. Taxi Driver went on to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but it lost the Best Picture Oscar to the more comforting Rocky. Anchored by De Niro's disturbing embodiment of "God's lonely man," Taxi Driver remains a striking milestone of both Scorsese's career and 1970s Hollywood. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Review

Review Text The original 1976 record and initial CD versions contain half a magnificent film score, half jazz-lite cover versions of the same music. Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack, full of dark, brooding brass, menacing percussion and a bittersweet dash of jazz saxophone, greatly enhance this big city tale of obsession, paranoia and violence. Robert DeNiro's chilling narration of "Diary of a Taxi Driver" -- including the famous "You talking to me?" monologue -- served as one of the models for the anger and isolation inherent in much of punk music. For some strange reason, the entire first side of the album is devoted to bland covers of Herrmann's music by arranger Dave Blume. Thankfully, Blume's arrangements are unnoticeable in the film itself, but their inclusion here distracts from a powerful soundtrack. Blume's arrangements are firmly rooted in L.A. mid-'70s fuzak, while Herrmann's score is one for the ages. ~ Rick Watrous

Product Details

Release Date
8/14/07 
Studio
Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating
R -- Restricted
Length
1 hour, 54 minutes
Sound
  • Dolby Digital w/ sub-woofer channel
Region
  • USA & territories, Canada
Subtitles
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
Video Features
  • New commentary by writer Paul Schrader
  • New commentary by professor Robert Kolker
  • Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver
  • Producing Taxi Driver
  • God's Lonely Man: Writer Paul Schrader and professor Robert Kolker discuss the loneliness themes as seen in the film. Schrader also talks about what circumstances led to writing the screenplay
  • Influence and Appreciation: Robert De Niro, Oliver Stone, Roger Corman and others pay tribute to Scorsese and the film
  • Taxi Driver stories
  • Making of documentary
  • Travis' New York: The changes of New York from 1975 to today
  • Travis' New York Locations: We visit the famous locations in New York City 2006, and compare them to the same locations in 1975
  • Storyboard to film comparisons with Martin Scorsese introduction
  • Animated photo galleries
  • Original screenplay
Number of Discs
2

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