Second to last movie of the summer! De Niro’s portrayal of the ornery boxer Jake LaMotta along with Scorsese’s masterful direction, catapulted Raging Bull to top cinefile lists all over the country. Playing Thursday, August 31st at Grant’s Block (260 Westminster). Movie begins at sunset.
After seeing Raging Bull, Jake LaMotta realized what a terrible person he had been. He asked the real Vicki LaMotta “Was I really like that?,” Vicki replied “You were worse.”
Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle.
In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.
To visually achieve Jake’s growing desperation and diminishing stature, Martin Scorsese shot the later boxing scenes in a larger ring.
Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were deliberately destroyed by the sound technician Frank E. Warner, to prevent them being used again.
You’ll hear an elephant trumpeting and a horse whinnying in one of the fight scenes, suggesting the boxer’s animalistic nature. In one of the scenes of domestic violence, a screeching sound is heard that was achieved by pouring dry ice on glass.
Vickie LaMotta was open enough to the idea of a movie about her ex-husband that she let scriptwriter Martin visit her in Florida and pick her brain about her relationship with LaMotta
Scorsese used slow motion in many of LaMotta’s point-of-view scenes outside the ring to give them paranoid intensity, especially when he’s looking at Vickie with envy or suspicion.
De Niro gained weight for the later scenes by going on a culinary tour of Italy and France, bingeing on three large meals per day, with lots of pasta, meat, butter, ice cream and beer. He gained 60lb in four months and said, “The first 15lb was fun, the rest was hard work.”
Scorsese makes an off-camera appearance during the final scene as the stagehand who tells LaMotta he has to go on in five minutes.