I didn’t go to church on Easter Sunday. I felt pretty crummy. Carol had gone to her parents’ house with Lydia. So, the day before, I went to the library and borrowed Raging Bull, which, inexplicably, I had never seen.
OK, that’s not entirely true. I had recorded it on my DVR some months ago, and started watching it at a point when I was running out of room on the machine. I got really impatient and zapped it shortly after the first scene.
So, this time, I had an unusual block of time to see it. Initially, I found the boxing sequences more compelling than the other scenes, but as the movie progressed, I found myself engrossed in both aspects of Jake LaMotta’s life. This is such a highly regarded film that I shan’t bother with the (pardon the expression) blow-by-blow. I do think that, even though the fight scenes were sometimes rough, the black-and-white film made the scenes, if not palatable, then at least bearable.
I AM going to suggest that, on the second disc of this two-disc DVD, I found the making of the film to be the most compelling extras I’ve ever viewed. The whole making of the film, how Robert de Niro had found a book that he didn’t think was all that well-written, yet told an interesting story. How director Martin Scorcese initially balked at doing the film at all because he’s not a sports guy, but that he ultimately understood boxing as a life struggle. How the script was written, and re-written. Specifically, how the boxing scenes were all shot first, with different cinematic palates, which made me want to watch them all again. How all the other boxers were played by real boxers. How the filmmakers found Joe Pesci, who was all but retired from acting, and how he directed them to Cathy Moriarity and others in the cast.
If you’ve never seen the movie, see the movie, then see the extras. If you love the movie, or hate the movie, watch the extras; it’ll make you want to see the movie again.