Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

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Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby Ted the dog » Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:49 pm

I know this angle has been explored before....but I was watching Taxi Driver last night and I kept thinking about how this film could easily be a story about an MKULTRA "agent"....I've seen/heard people talk about this possiblitiy before but I was wondering...has Scorsese ever mentioned anything about this? <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby cortez » Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:55 am

are you talking to me? <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby Wolfmoon Lady » Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:07 pm

<!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br>Ted, you started the thread on Eyes Wide Shut, didn't you? That was a tremendously enlightening discussion - my favorite one thus far, at RI. Deconstructing Taxi Driver may yield some interesting stuff, as well.<br><br>Since I like to start with the 'look' of the film before I get to subtext, I'll speak to that first. (Remember that we talked a lot about Kubrick's use of color, which has a critical impact on how the film is perceived.) Personally, I credit Taxi Driver for creating a benchmark in its presentation of night scenes. The use of reflection in the wet streets influenced many directors, particularly <!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">Michael Mann</a><!--EZCODE LINK END-->. You can see Scorcese's influence throughout the Miami Vice series and later, in the less successful, Crime Story.<br><br>Here's <!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">something interesting from Wikipedia</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> that I did not know, previously:<br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>The climactic shoot-out was, for its era, intensely graphic, and retains much of its visceral impact today. To attain an "R" rating, Scorsese desaturated the colours, making the brightly-coloured blood less prominent. In later interviews, Scorsese commented that he was actually pleased by the colour change and he considered it an improvement over the originally filmed scene, which has been lost. However, in the special edition DVD, Michael Chapman, the film's cinematographer, regrets the decision and the fact that no print with the unmuted colours exists anymore.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> As to your question, Ted, perhaps these additional quotes from Wikipedia will begin to shed some light, which I hope others will further illuminate: <!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>The film includes a subtle reference to military operations in the US. When Travis determines to assassinate Senator Palantine, he cuts his hair into a mohawk. This detail was suggested by actor Victor Magnotta, a friend of Scorsese's who had a small role as a Secret Service agent, and who had served in Vietnam. Scorsese later noted that Magnotta had "talked about certain types of soldiers going into the jungle. They cut their hair in a certain way; looked like a mohawk ... and you knew that was a special situation, a commando kind of situation, and people gave them wide berths ... we thought it was a good idea."<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END-->Also, of interest .......<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Regarding the film's epilogue, some have seen this epilogue as Travis' dying fantasy, while others see it as a real resolution of Travis' acts. As Betsy departs his cab, Travis drives away, and a curious ring sounds as Travis quickly adjusts his mirror, before the credit roll on the background of the bright and distorted city lights seen from the cab's perspective. Director Scorsese comments on Travis' final moments in the DVD, mentioning that this "mirror glance" could be a symbol that Travis might fall into depression and violent rage once again in the future, although it is still open to interpretation.<br><br>Roger Ebert has written of the film's ending, "There has been much discussion about the ending, in which we see newspaper clippings about Travis's 'heroism', and then Betsy gets into his cab and seems to give him admiration instead of her earlier disgust. Is this a fantasy scene? Did Travis survive the shoot-out? Are we experiencing his dying thoughts? Can the sequence be accepted as literally true? ... I am not sure there can be an answer to these questions. The end sequence plays like music, not drama: It completes the story on an emotional, not a literal, level. We end not on carnage but on redemption, which is the goal of so many of Scorsese's characters."<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END-->I'm in accord with Ebert's comments about Scorsese's obsession with sin and redemption. He wanted to be a priest, you know. His early films illustrate the filmmaker's internal conflict about choice - and are rife with Catholic iconography. (See Mean Streets, for example.)<br><br>Getting back to Taxi Driver:<br><br>Do we accept that Travis was a former Marine? Is he suffering PTSD from service in VietNam? At the time, I recall PTSD as the accepted explanation for Travis' mental problems. I took the film for its face value - a statement about the problems faced by returning Vets. Hmmmmmmm.<br><br>Shall we start digging, Peeps? <p></p><i></i>
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Postby MinM » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:36 am

John Hinckley's "Fondling Privileges" ... kley1.html
Government says Reagan assailant is narcissistic juggler of women
JUNE 18--John Hinckley is a womanizing narcissist who juggles sexual relationships, maintains "fondling privileges" with one paramour, and "believes himself entitled to a life of leisure," according to federal prosecutors opposing the presidential assailant's bid for more time away from a Washington, D.C. psychiatric hospital.
In a blistering court filing, government lawyers charge that Hinckley, 53, has engaged in "continued inappropriate and unrealistic relationships with several women," and that he has not satisfactorily addressed "issues surrounding his relationships with women." In a June 4 motion, government lawyers reported that Hinckley has been "maintaining near simultaneous sexual relationships" with two women, "rekindled" a relationship with a former girlfriend, and "met a fourth woman" last year...

Why John Hinckley, Jr. Almost Assassinated Reagan
During August 1980, Reagan's campaign managers, especially pollster Richard Werthlin, Georgetown professor Richard Allen, and former CIA agent Richard Beal, organized a special operations group to counter any Carter "October Surprise" - the only thing they thought would secure his re-election. At the same time, John Hinckley, Jr. was programmed to assassinate President Carter just in case he was able to secure the release of the hostages by negotiation - what these people, along with Marine Captain Oliver North and Colonel Robert MacFarlane - had been able to prevent by force. The operation's attraction lay in the fact that despite the publication of John Marks's book on Manchurian Candidates the previous year, only Milton Kline, onetime President of the American Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, and sometime CIA consultant in actual operations, believed that patsies and assassins could be, and had been created on occasion. (p. 199ff., esp. 204, note.)

Hinckley, one of the Beat Generation, was the offspring of an upward-mobile, disassociated family, growing up in Dallas during the years before the JFK assassination and during its aftermath. While his older brother Scott was following in his father's footsteps at the Agency-connected Vanderbilt Energy Corporation, John was having trouble even getting started, spending seven years, on and off, at Texas Tech but without success. About the only thing he picked up was how to play the guitar, and an inclination for acting. During a trip to Hollywood in 1976, he came across Dr. Janiger, it seems, and was soon taking LSD again, and watching incessantly Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver, based on the life of George Wallace would-be assassin Arthur Bremer, in the hope of becoming a successful actor.

Before it was over, he imagined that he had become Robert Di Niro's alter ego. ("John W. Hinckley, Jr.: A Biography," Hinckley was so convinced that he was a carbon copy of the alienated, drugged cabbie that he even fantasized, it seems, that he too had a girl friend, like Betsy in the film, working in a campaign for a politician he ultimately plotted to kill in order to impress her, calling her Lynn Collins.
The only trouble with this propensity was that there was no need for it now in Agency operations as critics like Church were finished off early by the electorate because of their attacks on America's covert government... ... lmost.html
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Taxi to the dark side in April 1968

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:55 am

Are you familiar with the taxi cab driver who was a witness to the US government's murder of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel and then was killed himself the next day?

Even his death certificate and very existence was suppressed.
Only a record of his widow was left.

This is the reason for both the CIA-Hollywood movie 'Taxi Driver' and the television series 'Taxi.'

And ladies and gentlemen, the evidence they heard ranged from murder, murder of a poor innocent cab driver who was putting luggage into a taxi cab in the driveway of the Loraine Motel and who saw the shooter come down over the wall, run down Mulberry Street and get into a waiting Memphis Police traffic car to be driven away. He told his dispatcher, "Oh, they got the killer. I saw him being driven away in a Memphis Police Department traffic car." What happened to that poor taxi cab driver? He was interviewed by the police that night and they found his body the next morning. NO record of that death exists. NO record exists. If we had not found people whom he had told that story, who heard him on the very night, we would have never known about this. Then we have to go to the directories and find out who was his wife and who he was. To see his listings in the directories in '66 and '67, and then in '68, see "Betty" his widow. He is dead, he is gone and he is history.
CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby IanEye » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:11 pm

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Re: Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby nickatnoon61 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:03 pm

cortez wrote:are you talking to me? <p></p><i></i>
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Postby brainpanhandler » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:04 am

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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Re: Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby MinM » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:44 am

Scorsese eyes new fare for Taxi Driver | Film |
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are said to be planning a remake of the seminal 1976 film, with Lars von Trier as a new collaborator

*, Monday 15 February 2010 11.16 GMT
Ride of his life … Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Features

In what is surely the most bizarre rumour to emerge from this year's Berlin film festival, it is whispered that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are preparing a remake of Taxi Driver, their 1970s tale of a man who stood up, saw clearly and shaved his hair into a mohawk. Only this time, it transpires, they may have a fresh passenger on board – Lars von Trier could be riding shotgun.

Copenhagen film magazine Ekko reports that Scorsese is currently discussing the possibility of a rebooted Taxi Driver with the Danish director in tow. It remains to be seen whether this will be a remake or a sequel, or so much hot air of the kind that has a tendency to swirl around the mischievous Von Trier. Speaking to the magazine, Peter Aalbæk, Von Trier's producing partner at Zentropa studios, would "neither confirm nor deny" the rumour, but said that an announcement would be made shortly.

De Niro starred in eight films by Scorsese, beginning with Mean Streets in 1973 and continuing through to 1995's Casino. Speaking at the Berlin film festival this weekend, the director admitted that they had plans to renew their collaboration, hinting at a return to the crime stories that forged their respective reputations. "Bob De Niro and I are talking about something that has to do with that world," Scorsese said. "There's no doubt about that. We're working on something like that. But it's from the vantage point of older men looking back. None of this running around stuff."

Shot back in 1976, the original Taxi Driver charted the downward spiral of Travis Bickle, a New York cabbie turned gun-toting vigilante. The film was hailed by critics as a bleak satire on the cult of celebrity and the role of the American loner. The film ends with Bickle being celebrated by the press as a have-a-go-hero after he rescues a child prostitute from the clutches of her pimp.

The idea of a Taxi Driver sequel was first floated a few years ago by Paul Schrader, who wrote the original script. "I was talking with Martin Scorsese about doing a sequel to Taxi Driver, where [Bickle] is older," Schrader told the New York Post.

Scorsese is in Berlin to promote his latest film, Shutter Island, a thriller based on the bestselling book by Dennis Lehane. Von Trier's previous picture, Antichrist, was one of the most controversial releases of last year, sparking a smattering of boos when it debuted at the Cannes film festival. He is currently reported to be in pre-production on the science-fiction drama Melancholia. :: View topic - What's your take on Lennon, HMW?
Hugh Manatee Wins wrote:Here is a 1990s time-travel themed show called 'Quantum Leap' that has the hero going back into Lee Harvey Oswald's body.
But the kicker is that the show's writer claims to have a brush with Oswald from army days, too. My what a small world.

Quote:SEASON 5

Lee Harvey Oswald
Writer: Donald P. Bellisario
Director: James Whitmore Jr

5 October 1957 to 22 November 1963:
In a two-hour episode to commemorate the 30th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald, taking on the accused killer's personality and volatile emotions while affecting key events in his life leading to JFK's death. The character of "Sgt. Bellisario" reflects series creator Bellisario's claimed real-life brush with Oswald in the military. The prolific Willie Garson, who'd played the title character in the first-season Quantum Leap episode "Play It Again, Seymour," went on to reprise his Lee Harvey Oswald in the motion picture Ruby. Garson, also well-known for episodes of The X-Files, Sex and the City and other shows, essayed a major role in the SCI FI Pictures miniseries event Steven Spielberg Presents Taken).

Lee Harvey Oswald / "Alik J. Hidell" - Willie Garson
Marina Oswald - Natasha Pavlova
Major Yuri Kosenko - Elya Baskin
Gushie - Dennis Wolfberg
Bar girl - Patty Toy
Lt. Obrigowitz - Ward C. Boland
Mariska - Donna Magnani
Sgt. Lopez - Reni Santoni
PFC Briggs - Philip McNiven
Corp. McBride - Michael Rich
Lt. Anna Guri - Erika Amato
Sgt. Bellisario - Matthew Charles Nelson
Jackie Kennedy - Karen Ingram
Frazier - Nathan Lisle
Ruth Paine - Becky London
Joda - Rodney Kageyama
Carlos - James Medina
New Orleans police officer - Chris Kinkade
Guard - Lazar Rockwood (as Lazar)

Clint Eastwood's 1993 piece of counterpropaganda to Oliver Stone's JFK (1991).
Image - View topic - The Bourne Ultimatum: rejecting the CIA
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Re: Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver...MKULTRA

Postby JackRiddler » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:56 pm

Here's a retrospective review of Taxi Driver by J. Hoberman: ... n/2452927/

35 Years Later, Taxi Driver Still Stuns

By J. Hoberman
published: March 16, 2011

Sony Pictures Repertory
Checkered past: De Niro drives angry.

Taxi Driver
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Sony Pictures Repertory
Film Forum, March 18 through 31

Some motion pictures produce the uncanny sensation of returning the spectator’s gaze. Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver—a movie in which the most celebrated line asks the audience, “Are you talkin’ to me?”—is one such film. It came, it saw, it zapped the body politic right between the eyes.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary with a newly restored print and a two-week Film Forum run, Taxi Driver was a powerfully summarizing work. It synthesized noir, neorealist, and New Wave stylistics; it assimilated Hollywood’s recent vigilante cycle, drafting then-déclassé blaxploitation in the service of a presumed tell-it-like-it-is naturalism that, predicated on a frank, unrelenting representation of racism, violence, and misogyny, was even more racist, violent, and misogynist than it allowed.

The 12th top-grossing movie of 1976, Taxi Driver was not just a hit but, like Psycho or Bonnie and Clyde, an event in American popular culture—perhaps even an intervention. Inspired by one failed political assassination (the 1972 shooting of presidential hopeful George Wallace), it inadvertently motivated another (the 1981 attempt on President Ronald Reagan). The movie further established its 33-year-old director as both Hollywood’s designated artist and, after Taxi Driver was awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes, an international sensation—the decisive influence on neo–New Wave filmmakers as varied as Spike Lee, Wong Kar-wai, and Quentin Tarantino.

Scorsese didn’t direct Taxi Driver so much as orchestrate its elements. Lasting nearly 20 minutes and fueled by Bernard Herrmann’s rhapsodic score, the de facto overture is a densely edited salmagundi of effects—slow motion, fragmenting close-ups, voluptuous camera moves, and trick camera placement—that may be the showiest pure filmmaking in any Hollywood movie since Touch of Evil. Certainly no American since Welles had so confidently presented himself as a star director. And yet Taxi Driver was essentially collaborative. It was the most cinephilic movie ever made in Hollywood, openly acknowledging Bresson, Hitchcock, Godard, avant-gardists Michael Snow and Kenneth Anger, and the John Ford of The Searchers. Moreover, the movie’s antihero, Travis Bickle—a homicidal combination of Dirty Harry and Norman Bates who describes himself as God’s Lonely Man—sprang from the brain of former film critic Paul Schrader and, as embodied for all eternity by the young Robert De Niro, all but instantly became a classic character in the American narrative alongside Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield.

Citizen of a sodden Sodom where the steamy streets are always wet with tears, among other bodily fluids, Bickle embarks each evening on a glistening sea of sleaze. Seen through his rain-smeared windshield, Manhattan becomes a movie—call it “Malignopolis”—in which, as noted by Amy Taubin in her terrific Taxi Driver monograph, “the entire cast of Superfly seems to have been assembled in Times Square” to feed Travis’s fantasies. The cab driver lives by night in a world of myth, populated by a host of supporting archetypes: the astonishing Jodie Foster as Iris, the 12-year-old hooker living the life in the rat’s-ass end of the ’60s, yet dreaming of a commune in Vermont; Harvey Keitel as her affably nauseating pimp; Peter Boyle’s witless cabbie sage; and Cybill Shepherd’s bratty golden girl, a suitably petit-bourgeois Daisy Buchanan to Travis’s lumpen Gatsby.

Brilliant and yet repellent, at times even hateful, Taxi Driver inspired understandable ambivalence. (At Cannes, the announcement that it had won the Palme d’Or was greeted with boos.) How could reviewers not be wary? Taxi Driver is nakedly opposed even to itself, as well as the culture that produced it. For Travis, all movies are essentially pornographic; had he met his creators, he would surely, as observed by Marshall Berman in his history of Times Square, consider them purveyors of “scum and filth.” It’s the slow deliberation with which this lunatic kicks over his TV and terminates his connection to social reality that signals his madness—and the filmmaker’s.

Like Werner Herzog’s Aguirre or Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver is auteurist psychodrama. Not for nothing did Scorsese give himself a cameo playing a character even wiggier than Travis. Who can possibly imagine the internal fortitude or psychic cost this movie required or exacted? Certainly no one connected with Taxi Driver ever again reached such heights (or plumbed such depths), although Albert Brooks became a significant filmmaker in his own right, while Scorsese and De Niro would come close with Raging Bull and The King of Comedy—two movies that equal or surpass Taxi Driver in every way except as the embodiment of the historical spirit.

Recalling his youth, Baudelaire wrote of simultaneously experiencing the horror and the ecstasy of existence. So it is with Taxi Driver . The pagan debauchery the child Scorsese saw in Quo Vadis is played out in the Manhattan of 1975 A.D. Hysterical yet sublime, the movie crystallizes one of the worst moments in New York’s history—the city as America’s pariah, a crime-ridden, fiscally profligate, graffiti-festooned moral cesspool. Scorsese ups the ante by returning endlessly to his boyhood movie realm of 42nd Street, which, in the mid-’70s, was a lurid land of triple-X-rated cinema, skeevy massage parlors, cruising pimp mobiles, sidewalks crammed with hot-pants hookers, and the customers who on any given weekday evening, according to NYPD stats, were patronizing porn-shops at the rate of 8,000 per hour.

It was while Taxi Driver was in post-production that the Daily News ran the headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.” The movie is Scorsese’s hometown farewell (a love letter quite different from Woody Allen’s). Like Nero, he torches the joint and picks up his lyre. Taxi Driver is a vision of a world that already knows it is lost. A third of a century later, the Checker cabs are gone, as are the taxi garages at the end of 57th Street and the all-night Belmore cafeteria. Times Square has been sanitized, the pestilent combat zone at Third Avenue and 13th Street where Iris peddles her underage charms has long since been gentrified. New York is no longer the planet’s designated Hell on Earth. (Six years after Taxi Driver, Blade Runner would dramatize a new urban space.)

No nostalgia, though: In other aspects, the world of Taxi Driver is recognizably ours. Libidinal politics, celebrity worship, sexual exploitation, the fetishization of guns and violence, racial stereotyping, the fear of foreigners—not to mention the promise of apocalyptic religion—all remain. Taxi Driver lives. See it again. And try to have a nice day.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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