Scorsese on Music with Allan Arkush

by Randy Fuller Jul 31, 2022

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌ ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ This week we pair wines with a look – and listen – to three Martin Scorsese films about music. 

Who uses music to better effect in movies than Martin Scorsese? Put your hands down – that was a rhetorical question. Scorsese, however, has not only used music in his films, he has examined it – thoroughly.

No Direction Home is the 2005 documentary on Bob Dylan as he appeared in the early to mid 1960s. Dylan’s manager got the ball rolling by conducting scores of interviews with people who knew The Enigmatic One back in the day. When it came time to put all that video, plus the hundreds of hours of footage culled from historical sources together, Scorsese’s name came up.

The film debuted on PBS as a mixture of Dylan in performance and commentary from those with something to say about him. And everyone has something to say about Bob Dylan. Just ask anybody.

It has been a few years, but Italian winemaker Antonio Terni of Le Terrazze used to bottle a tribute to Dylan. Visions of J is probably sold out now, and Planet Waves may be, too, but Dylan did lend his signature to stand alongside Terni’s on those labels. It’s worth a shot to see if there are any left on the shelf.

2008’s Shine a Light spotlights The Rolling Stones, with concert footage shot by Scorsese two years earlier at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. Archival footage is mixed in as well. Scorsese has used Stones songs so extensively in his films over the years that Mick Jagger reportedly quipped Shine a Light may be the only Scorsese movie that does not have Gimme Shelter in it.

From the Napa Valley, California wine’s tribute to ostentatiousness, comes Stones Wine. Owner Lawrence Fairchild is a winemaker who dresses like a rock star – a very rich one, with a predilection for vintage haute couture. His preferences in fashion, art, cuisine and wine sound more like bragging than explaining, but we get that a lot from Napa Valley. You have to get on a list to buy the wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, what else? – and you can expect to pay through the nose.

The Last Waltz was Scorsese’s coverage of The Band’s 1976 goodbye concert filmed at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, where the group had their first gig about 16 years previous. The scene of the crime, so to speak. Robbie Robertson was quick to point out in the film how long 16 years is. And don’t forget – those are rock’n’roll years, which are way longer than normal human years.

Superstars, the music of a generation, drug-fueled mania behind the scenes – this movie stands as one of the great concert films ever made, with an all-star lineup, killer songs, wonderful camera work and the slow realization that we are witnessing, truly, the end of an era.

Waltz Winery, in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, offers Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Moscato, to name a few grapes – all of which will pair well with rock’n’roll. And when you’ve polished off all but one bottle – that’s the last Waltz.

Randy Fuller

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