Taxi Driver is, in my opinion, not only one of the great films of the 1970’s, but one of the great films of all time. I love the use of black and yellow in the majority of these posters.
ALT-POSTR-MONDAY: TAXI DRIVER
I was all prepared to give a long introduction for this post but, (probably) lucky for you, kind readers, I decided against it at the last moment. However, please note that my frame of reference are the three films-The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon– in which Sir Anthony Hopkins starred as the good doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Based on the novels of the same name by Thomas Harris, I list them chronologically in the order of their cinematic, and not their literary, release.
Who had it coming? Let’s find out, shall we?
Victim No. 1: Dr. Frederick Chilton
Portrayed by: Anthony Heald
Appeared in: The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon
Killed (likely): In between The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal
Why he had it coming: Chilton was a douchebag of the highest order and demonstrated this in every frame of The Silence of the Lambs in which he appeared; mainly by the manner in which he metaphorically slobbered all over Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) during their initial visit and by the way he lorded over Lecter an “I’m not the one incarcerated but I am the one in charge” mentality. His main act of rudeness that likely landed him on Lecter’s dinner table was his recording of the conversations between Hannibal and Clarice Starling. I imagine Lecter enjoyed him with something dry; a Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps.
Victim No. 2: Inspector Renaldo Pazzi
Portrayed by: Giancarlo Giannini
Appeared and Killed in: Hannibal
Why he had it coming: Look up the word ‘rude’ in the dictionary and you very well may find a picture of Inspector Pazzi as a perfect definition. He demonstrates this rudeness from the moment he appears onscreen by throwing his cigarette butt into a flock of pigeons, instead of away from them, thereby causing their frightened dispersal. In addition, Pazzi ignores the warnings of a fellow police officer and rewinds a tape the poor fellow is making a recording of. When employing the aid of a pickpocket to obtain a fingerprint of Lecter, he lets the poor thief bleed to death after Hannibal slices him open. It’s no coincidence that Pazzi washes the blood off his hands at a fountain shaped in the likeness of a pigs head. Although not consumed by our favorite cannibalistic gourmet Pazzi found himself a victim of Lecter due to the fact that he just couldn’t let it go and leave well enough alone. There is good reason for this: the reward money offered for Hannibal’s capture. However, Pazzi put not only himself but also his beautiful wife Allegra in danger. Had Lecter made a meal of the inspector I can imagine he enjoyed him with a fine, subdued Frascati.
Victim No. 3: Benjamin Raspail, the flautist
Portrayed by: Tim Wheater
Appeared in: His head appeared in that jar in that car in that garage in Silence of the Lambs; he appeared alive and full-bodied in Red Dragon.
Killed in: (Off-camera) in the prologue to Red Dragon
Why he had it coming: To be honest I must say that I struggled with including the flautist Benjamin Raspail on this short list. He wasn’t rude; nor did he do anything to interfere with Hannibal’s livelihood. His only crime was that he played the flute; badly. A connoisseur of the fine arts, Hannibal was merely making the quality of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra that much better by disposing of the untalented Raspail. In fact, to show his appreciation even further, Lecter hosts a dinner party for the orchestra’s board members. I wonder who was the main course and what wine was served; a merlot, perhaps?
Agree with my choices or disagree? Who in the Lecter-verse had it coming in your humble opinion? Let’s make this even more fun, shall we? Who in the real world do you think would make a palatable meal for Dr. Lecter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.In fact if I can get enough comments from people saying who they believe would make an excellent main course then I will make up a dinner menu and post it on this blog at a later date. Bon appetit.
Easily one of my favorite movies of all time. I also am a huge fan of Hannibal the series which stars Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. In fact, I may do an A-P-S on that show one of these days.
As for now rub some lotion on your skin and enjoy the posters. Don’t make me get the hose.
ALT-POSTR-SPOTLIGHT: THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Got a request? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.
TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God‘s LonelyMan
This is a question for my blogger friends. Why do you write a blog? What is that drives you to put words onto the brightness of your computer screen? I know why I do it. I do it because I want to feel as if I am a part of something that is bigger than me. I admit that I get a little rush when I read a favorable comment or when someone likes a review I’ve written. I feel good when I check my page view count for the day and I’ve had a few hundred visitors. That means that all the times that I have sat alone in a dark room watching movie after movie has not been in vain. When I sit at my computer racking my brain for the right words to say I know that someone, somewhere will read what I have written and will appreciate it in some way or another. I am alone as I sit and type, but I am not lonely.
In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle is always alone. Even in scenes where he is surrounded by other people, he is ultimately and painfully alone. In the scene in the diner with his co-workers he is off to one side of the table, slightly separate from the rest. Again, in the diner, this time with Iris, the young prostitute that he feels a need to save, he is still alone. Why? Because his ideas, his way of thinking is so out of tune with hers that they are two people on separate sides of a desert island; always knowing that the other exists, but never making that connection.
The saddest and most heart wrenching scene in the film comes when Travis, after taking Betsy to a pornographic movie on their first date together, is on the phone in a lonely hallway pleading with her to give him another chance. As we listen the camera pans away from him. We don’t know whether to console him or put him down like a dog to ease his misery. Travis is so far out of touch with the rest of the world. He is never alone, yet he is lonely; and he is alone and he is lonely. By its own design, the job of a taxi driver is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet. A cabbie is continually in a situation where he is with people and yet they are all rank strangers to him. For the brief time that they are in his cab, they are a part of Travis’ world, but at no point in time is he ever a part of theirs. Travis Bickle truly is God’s Lonely Man.
Again, I will ask you; why do you do what you do?
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS-United States-118 Mins. 1991
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris
I wonder if Thomas Harris knew just what a powder-keg of a book he had written. Did Jonathan Demme have any idea he was directing what would be the biggest movie of his career? What about Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins; did they have any suspicion that they were starring in a masterpiece? Did any of them realize they were a part of the greatest serial killer film of all time? If they didn’t know it then I guarantee you they know it now.
There is not a single weak performance in this film. The four main stars; Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn and Ted Levine knock their performances out of the ballpark. Foster reminds us that her Oscar win for The Accused was no fluke. Her turn as Clarice Starling is the type of role that other actresses would kill for and Foster performs it as if she stepped right into Starling’s skin.
Scott Glenn is one of the most underrated actors in the cinema. He plays FBI agent Jack Crawford with a mixture of authority and fatherly concern for Agent Starling. He is as proud of her as if she were his own flesh and blood. As Jame ‘Buffalo Bill’ Gumb, Ted Levine plays the most bizarre of serial killers. His ability to hold his own in a film with Hopkins and Foster is a testament to his ability as an actor.
I find myself at a loss for words as I seek out what I want to say about Anthony Hopkins and his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. One particular scene that stands out in my mind is when Starling meets Lecter for the first time. Lecter is standing quietly in the middle of his cell like a tiger poised to strike. It is in that moment that Hopkins lets us know that Hannibal Lecter is a man of grace, intelligence and sophisticated evil. It is no wonder that the American Film Institute voted him the Number One screen villain of the past 100 years. Incidentally AFI voted Clarice Starling as the Number Six greatest screen hero.
The Silence of the Lambs is a haunting work of art truly deserving of each and every accolade that has been bestowed upon it in the past 20 years. I have watched it dozens of times and will watch it dozens more. That, my friends, is the true sign of a great movie.
Anthony Hopkins described his voice for Hannibal Lecter as, “a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn.”