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Word hit yesterday that MARTIN SCORSESE?S new documentary, A LETTER TO ELIA, is going from being a film fest fave to airing on PBS. A valentine to the controversial filmmaker ELIA KAZAN, the documentary was co-directed by SCORSESE collaborator KENT JONES and examines the life and career of the man who directed such classics as ON THE WATERFRONT, A FACE IN THE CROWD and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN.


Originally screened at this year?s Venice Film Festival, the documentary has been picked up to air as part of the PBS American Masters series on 10/4. After that, Fox Home Entertainment will include the film as part of a 15-disc tribute set of KAZAN films set for release on 11/4. Several years ago, we asked SCORSESE to name filmmakers that have been an influence on him and, no surprise, KAZAN was the first he mentioned.




Reel Rave (blog)

September 9 2010

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*Scorsese writes eloquent "Letter" to Elia Kazan‎*




By Stephen Farber


Mon Sep 13, 2010



TELLURIDE, Colo. (Hollywood Reporter) - Many people know that in addition to being an Oscar-winning director, Martin Scorsese is a major film buff and historian as well as a champion of film preservation. In the course of his long career, he has been involved with several documentaries celebrating other artists' films. The most personal of these is "A Letter to Elia," a one-hour tribute to Elia Kazan that played at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals.



Going into the film, one might be suspicious that Scorsese is engaging in some special pleading. When Scorsese and Robert De Niro presented an honorary Oscar to the ailing Kazan in 1999, the event generated a firestorm of controversy. Many in Hollywood never forgave Kazan for cooperating with the House Un-American Activities and supplying names of former communists during Congressional hearings of 1952. Scorsese acknowledges this controversy in his documentary, but that is not his primary focus.


He gives a brief overview of Kazan's life and career but has chosen to emphasize the personal influence that some of Kazan's best movies had on him when he was growing up and contemplating a career as a director. While this documentary includes excerpts from many Kazan movies, it concentrates on three that meant the most to Scorsese: "On the Waterfront," "East of Eden," and "America America."




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