A Letter to Elia (2010)

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A documentary on the late Elia Kazan.

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Cast overview:
Himself - Narrator
Himself (archive footage)
Elia Kazan (voice)


Director Martin Scorsese speaks candidly and passionately about one of his formative filmmaking influences: the late Elia Kazan. Utilizing precisely chosen clips from Kazan's signature films including "On the Waterfront," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Gentleman's Agreement," "Baby Doll," "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "A Face in the Crowd," "America, America," and "The Last Tycoon," and interview footage of the director himself, co-directors Scorsese and Kent Jones recount the director's tumultuous journey from the Group Theatre to the Hollywood A-list to the thicket of the blacklist. But most of all, they make a powerful case for Kazan as a profoundly personal artist working in a famously impersonal industry. Written by alfiehitchie

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Release Date:

4 October 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Elia Kazan Documentary  »

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User Reviews

Very Good Love Letter From One Master to Another
12 September 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Letter to Elia, A (2010)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This Martin Scorsese directed film isn't so much a documentary but instead, as the title says, a letter from one director to another. Throughout the running time Scorsese makes such comments as Kazan shaped his life in terms of film and even calls him a father figure. Towards the end of the film Scorsese also mentions that even though he became friends with Kazan he was never really able to explain to him what his movies really meant and what impact they had on his life. So, since he could never express it to Kazan himself, we get this film instead. This isn't a complete look at the career of Kazan as several films are overlooked. Instead, we get some terrific comments from Scorsese who talks about some of his favorite movies from the legendary director. ON THE WATERFRONT and EAST OF EDEN are the two films that get the majority of the running time. I really enjoyed hearing Scorsese's comments on ON THE WATERFRONT because it's obvious the impact this film had on him and you can see this in countless movies from the director. Just listen to the way Scorsese talks about the people in the movie, the look of the sets and of course the way Kazan tried to be as real as possible. You can then look at GOODFELLAS, it's characters and the look of that film and see that Scorsese was going for the same thing. The EAST OF EDEN comments are also very interesting including Scorsese talking about Dean and the impact of the film's story on him. Fans of either Scorsese or Kazan should certainly check out this love letter between one master to another.

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