“My little town blues are melting away.”
New York, New York
“It’s not a musical; it’s a film with music. I got that definition from Billy Wilder, who said you can’t call it a musical unless the people sing in situations where you don’t expect them to. It’ll be about their marriage breaking up, about their problems in relating to one another…”
Martin Scorsese talking with Roger Ebert about New York, New York (1977) before its release
Just saying New York, New York instantly conjures up the Frank Sinatra standard New York, New York. But did you know that’s actually a cover song? John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote the song for the 1977 Martin Scorsese directed movie New York, New York where Liza Minnelli sings the song. But the neither the film or the original song were an instant success. Three different versions of the film were made (153 minutes, 137 minutes, and 164 minutes) trying to find an audience, and the New York, New York song was not even nominated for an Oscar.
And even the Sinatra version recorded in 1979 wasn’t a number one hit—or even make it into the top 10. It peaked at number 32 on the charts and lost out on the Grammy song of the year to Christopher Cross’ Sailing. But in the 30 years since then the song has become ubiquitous and as recognizable (and as copied) as the “I (heart) New York” logo.
If you need a smile today here’s a version where Frank and Liza sing an impromptu duet of New York, New York.
But since this is a screenwriting blog…Earl Mac Rauch and Mardik Martin wrote the screenplay for New York, New York from a story by Rauch.
“Martin Scorcesse’s New York, New York never pulls itself together into a coherent whole, but if we forgive the movie its confusions we’re left with a good time. In other words: Abandon your expectations of an orderly plot, and you’ll end up humming the title song. The movie’s a vast, rambling, nostalgic expedition back into the big band era, and a celebration of the considerable talents of Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro.”
Looking forward to seeing Scorsese’s latest New York state of mind movie—The Wolf of Wall Street—which hits theaters next week.