John Cassavetes

“And the rest of the stuff doesn’t really interest me… I have a one-track mind, all I’m really interested in… Is love.”

Cassavetes’ films are every bit as searing and brash as he was, but in this brief clip from Martin Scorsese’s A Personal Journey Through American Movies, Cassavetes candidly reveals that his career was ultimately devoted to the pursuit of something tender beneath it all.

Bernard Herrmann – The .44 Magnum Is a Monster

Bernard HerrmannThe .44 Magnum Is a Monster (Taxi Driver: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

“It wasn’t easy getting Bernard Herrmann to compose the music for Taxi Driver. He was a marvelous, but crotchety old man. I remember the first time I called him to do the picture. He said it was impossible, he was very busy, and then asked what it was called. I told him and he said, ‘Oh, no, that’s not my kind of picture title. No, no, no.’

I said, ‘Well, maybe we can meet and talk about it.’ He said, ‘No, I can’t. What’s it about?’ So I described it and he said, ‘No, no, no. I can’t. Who’s in it?’ So I told him and he said, ‘No, no, no. Well, I guess we can have a quick talk.’

Working with him was so satisfying that when he died, the night he had finished the score, on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, I said there was no one who could come near him. You get to know what you like if you see enough films, and I thought his music would create the perfect atmosphere for Taxi Driver.”

-Martin Scorsese, Scorsese on Scorsese (1989)

Hermann Hesse

The dream of death is only the dark smoke
Under which the fires of life are burning.

We fear death, we shudder at life’s instability, we grieve to see the flowers wilt again and again, and the leaves fall, and in our hearts we know that we, too, are transitory and will soon disappear. When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something last longer than we do.