Egotistical saxophonist Jimmy Doyle (Robert De Niro) and spirited USO singer Francine Evans (Liza Minnelli) meet in Times Square on V-J Day and decide they’re meant for each other.
Slightly further down the line, Jimmy’s controlling, selfish nature is well to the fore, and Francine is turned into a doormat.
Then, when she’s accompanying him to an audition, her sensational voice is discovered, and her career begins to eclipse his – but at a high cost to their relationship.
Martin Scorsese’s follow-up to Taxi Driver was the most anticipated film of early 1977.
Scorsese meticulously recreated the musical scene in post-World War II New York – the late-night atmosphere, a whole new interweaving of poverty and wealth, and the big band numbers themselves.
He dealt with the tough realism, for musicians, of life on the move: the tedium of the travelling and the one-night stands, with happier moments to be found in companionship, a card game, or a comfortable room for the night.
He also presented the reality that, not even in musicals, is there always a happy ending.
De Niro refused to commit himself to the film until he had spent two months learning to play the saxophone.
Robert De Niro
Mary Kay Place
Jimmy Doyle Jr
Adam David Winkler