The Closest I'll Ever Come to Sharing Screen Time With Robert De Niro
The Belmore Cafeteria in 1975. Photo by Steve Baldwin
I bought the new release of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver last week for two reasons: my VHS copy has worn out and I wanted to see whether the producers of the new Sony Two-Disc Collector's Edition actually included the footage they shot last year when I talked with them about the Belmore Cafeteria, a place I used to hang out in a lot back in the 1970's that featured largely in Taxi Driver.
Sure enough, I made it into a couple of "Featurettes:" "Taxi Driver Stories" and "Travis’ New York Locations."
Thanks, Marty and crew! It was a great honor to contribute something (mainly, the photo I took of the Belmore back in 1975) to the understanding of a truly classic American film. The city it portrayed may no longer exist but its portrayal of a tormented soul struggling with pathological loneliness continues to resonate. As writer Paul Schrader notes in his commentary, Travis Bickle's pathology is trans-historical and it lives on in the millions of confused young "nobodies" in the world for whom violence provides the only apparent path to meaning.