Monday, April 22, 2024

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Selects June 25 For The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Release Of Director Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be delivering a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack edition of auteur filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s 1976 landmark film, Taxi Driver, to the collector and film fan marketplace on June 25.

The 4K film restoration is from the original camera negative.

Paul Schrader (Rolling Thunder, Obsession, American Gigolo, Raging Bull, City Hall, etc.) wrote the script for Taxi Driver when he was just starting out in 1973 and to his surprise and good luck it was optioned by the husband/wife producing team of Julia and Michael Phillips in 1973, the same year that their production of The Sting (which won them the Oscar for Best Picture) hit theatres.

Despite that success, it took until the summer of 1975 to get the film into production, and at that, the reported production budget was modest at just under $2 million.   

During the run-up to the actual filming of Taxi Driver, Brian De Palma (a friend of both Scorsese and Schrader) was talked about as the director and at one point a rival studio to Columbia Pictures was willing to provide the production money if Robert De Niro was replaced by Jeff Bridges.   Scorsese was having none of that after having worked with De Niro on Mean Streets.   

And, speaking of how studios work (at least back then), Columbia was busy promoting the career of The Last Picture Show star Cybill Shepherd, so she was cast as the female lead … however, 13-year-old Jodie Foster — who was put though all sorts of hoops to jump through because of her age during pre-production — ended up stealing the show with her performance.   Ditto for Harvey Keitel, a Scorsese regular at the time, who gave a memorial performance as “Sport!”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
Despite all of the hassles in getting the film from script to screen, Taxi Driver was a hit theatrically when it opened in February of 1976 and would go on to garner Oscar nominations for Best Picture (losing out to Rocky), Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score.

Bonus features included on the 4K disc include a “Making Taxi Driver” documentary and Martin Scorsese’s introduction to the “Storyboard to Film Comparisons” featurette.

The companion Blu-ray disc features two vintage commentary options — one with Scorsese and Schrader (provided by Criterion) and the second teaming film historian Prof. Robert Kolker with Schrader — the 2016 Q&A with De Niro, Foster and Scorsese and seven archived featurettes — “Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver,” “Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute,” “Producing Taxi Driver,” “God’s Lonely Man,” “Taxi Driver Stories,” “Travis’ New York” and Travis’ New York Locations.”

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