Project 1 Setting the scene – Exercise

 Watch this famous scene from Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990: [accessed 24/02/14]

Don’t read on until you’ve answered the following questions.

  • What does this scene tell you about the main character?
  • How does it do this? List the ‘clues’. 

Make some notes in your leaning log

What does this scene tell you about the main character?

This is a fast paced scene and a lot happens in the just over three minutes of the vignette. The pace is supported by the rhythm and time of the accompanying theme, ‘Then he Kissed me’ by the ‘Krystals’, produced by Phil Spectre. Every interaction the main character has with people on the journey from the parked car in the street all the way to the table being put out for hime in the club points to some one of importance and influence. There are hints of people wanting to make this character happy and there is a slight sense of menace in the wider context of the themes of the film. 

How does it do this?  List the ‘clues’.

There is a clear trail of close that give us insight into the character. Starting in the street with the money being handed to the concierge to watch the car, the bypassing of the queue into the club and the use of a different entrance, the tipping of the doorman and the comment from the doorman confirming that Ray Liotta’s character is known. The passage through the kitchen and other non public part of the club where encounters with the passers by again confirm this person is known and must be important if they are to by pass the usual way of getting into the club. arriving in the main club area the queue is bypassed again and the Maître d immediate turns his attention to the character, summoning three waiters who collectively set up a new table right at the front of the club near the stage all attentive on meeting Liotta’s characters needs. again he gives a large tip to the Maître d and no sooner has he been seated when surrounding customers greet hime cordially , followed by a bottle of white appears to be champagne arrives as a gift from an imprint loong individual at another table.  The cumulative affect of this trail of pandering and concern for his needs provides an narrative pointing to a person of importance and influence. 

It is a really well constructed and executed piece of cinema that kin three minutes gives the viewer a significant amount of information about this key figure in the film. W are left with a real sense of the life and influence of a ‘wise guy’ aka Mafiosa.


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