J.R. is a typical Italian-American on the streets of New York. When he gets involved with a local girl, he decides to get married and settle down, but when he learns that she was once raped, he cannot handle it. More explicitly linked with Catholic guilt than Scorsese's later work, we see what happens to J.R. when his religious guilt catches up with him. Written by
David Gibson <email@example.com>
In order to get distribution for his film, Scorsese was told to add nude scenes so it could be promoted as a sexploitation film. So he shot the fantasy scene showing J.R. imagining encounters with prostitutes. See more »
Striking, if aimless debut from writer-director Martin Scorsese, involving a well-dressed if feckless young man (Harvey Keitel, in his debut as an actor) on the streets of New York who meets a lovely single girl reading a foreign magazine and strikes up a conversation about movies; soon after they begin dating, however, she volunteers more about her past than he is able to handle. What began as a short film from film student Scorsese was eventually expanded upon and, with a title change or two, released to some acclaim in 1967. The sexual montage, featuring Keitel and his 'broads' (and set to "The End" by the Doors) is a fabulous example of cinematic sound and fury: the perfect marriage between silvery black-and-white cinematography, kinetic editing, great music and lusty bodies on display. Unfortunately, Scorsese as a writer had not developed a true ear for canny dialogue, and the characters fail to emerge as a result. Still, an almost-dynamic first try, and a must-see for film historians. Keitel, marvelously youthful and muscular, is more callow than expressive, though he gives the picture its pulse; the cinematography from Richard Coll and Michael Wadley also helps. **1/2 from ****
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