[Originally published in Movietone News 57, February 1978]
Back in February, Marty Scorsese privately screened a rough cut of New York, New York that lasted four-and-a-half hours. The film as finally released is little more than half that length. We can assume that Scorsese knew he’d never get a four-hour movie released commercially. We can also assume that he knew what was happening while he was shooting and that he didn’t intentionally include failed material in the first rough cut. So how does it happen that half a movie winds up on the cutting-room floor?
The question is not just a matter of curiosity. New York, New York is a maddening, fascinating congeries of good and bad bits and angles, the sum of whose parts far exceeds the value of the whole, and that extraordinary difference between first rough cut and final cut may be the key to what went wrong.