Sunday, July 31, 2011

Opening Credits Sequence Theatre: Mean Streets (1973)

(A better, non-embeddable version is here.)

Martin Scorsese's breakthrough film starts in a big way. On the surface, the scene establishes a character in isolation, wrapped up in himself, escaping into nostalgia to escape- well, we don't know yet, but that follows quickly. It's a small, intimate scene. But the music elevates it to another plane; the classic Spector "wall of sound" effect is used as a call to attention, making damn sure we're awake as the old filmstrip shows us the protagonist and his world. This was still a relatively new, uncommon approach to music in film, so it was also a signal that this was not going to be your average sleazy gangster picture. This is one of my favorites, because it sets the energy and intensity level of the film so very high, and the picture actually sustains that. Plus it's a really good song.

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