With the dazzling 'Hugo' hitting screens, we celebrate the technical wonders of Scorsese's cinema
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2. The production design of "New York, New York" (Boris Leven, 1977)
Not just one of Scorsese’s greatest films, but among the greatest of all movie musicals, his bleakly expensive 1977 showbiz romance has been underrated for far too long, and not just for its breathtaking below-the-line elements. They are breathtaking, though: from the recently departed Theadora Van Runkle’s costumes to Ralph Burns’s sensational adapted scoring. What I’m singling out, however, is Boris Leven’s boldly heightened production design, the stylized artifice of which manages to reflect the protagonists’ sometimes reality-shy mental state, while simultaneously referencing an entire era and aesthetic of Hollywood moviemaking.