To: Martin Scorsese
Recently, I watched New York, New York for the first time in many years. This time I paid careful attention to the your introduction. Your description of how you wanted to capture the style of the 1940s and 1950s period musicals seems to be a key point in understanding and enjoying the picture. It makes it possible to tolerate the overly brash Jimmy Doyle and the less than convincing sax playing and conducting of Robert De Niro. That is all part of the style. I came away with the realization that the picture is a masterpiece.
I also watched the special features and listened closely to all who were interviewed. I was surprised by the fact, though they all raved about NY, NY being a masterpiece, there was certain disappointment that it did not do as well as expected at the box office. One reason mentioned was the unhappy ending despite that the show within the show, Happy Endings, mimicked the usual happy endings of the period pictures.
Then something occurred to me. The story is not finished. I began to ask myself, what happened to these people. Did Francine remarry, did she eventually give up the hard life of show business after years on the road with a band and then her rise to stardom? What about Jimmy? Did he get ahold of himself and reinvent himself. Perhaps he did well because he was already immersed in the bebop and mainstream jazz idioms. Perhaps, he became a car salesman. Maybe he was taken by booze and his life spiraled out of control. So much could have happened to these two characters.
I remember the era that you made NY, NY. I was just discovering big band and swing music, even the music of the twenties and early thirties. At the time, the big bands were becoming popular again. It was the music of my parents and grand parents and it was dubbed nostalgia. But, I don’t need to tell you that, since it is probably one of the reasons the picture was made. I would, however, like to note that NY, NY was made roughly 30 to 40 years after the story took place. It is roughly the same span of time since the picture was made. Do you see my point?
When will you make the sequel and tell us what happened to Jimmy and Francine? Place it at the time of the nostalgic come-back of the music and stars, the era you made the original picture. All the actors have aged the correct number of years. It would be prefect. Perhaps, they make some sort of come-back or experience a resurgence of interest. The story gets completed, the audience will understand the original better, you make a big splash with it in the media and Liza gets the credit for the title song, since Sinatra is gone (he did do it justice). Oh yeah, use old analog technology to make the picture mimic the period of the 1970s as you did of the 1940s in the original.
Really, the story needs to be finished.
Note: I plan to send this letter one day when i get Mr. Scorsese’s E-mail address. Can you find his address?