This exercise asks that the student watch the famous long-take scene from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and answer the questions below. The scene from Goodfellas is linked here.
What does this scene tell you about the main character ?
The scene reveals the main character, Henry Hill, to be well known and connected. He appears dapper, showing that he takes pride in his personal appearance. He is extremely confident, and very much a person of importance and influence, a person to be respected, even feared.
How does it do this ? List the ‘clues’.
Henry Hill leaves his car on the street under the watch of a man he pays, skips the queue, using the a service entrance which leads through a maze that is the kitchen area. He is very familiar with the route. He tips generously, and is acknowledged by the doorman, a waiter and head chef. He knows the couple kissing in the hall, revealing that he is a regular to the club. The colour red in the hall is representative of danger and romance, while the narrowness of the route through the club connotes the fine line between the two. The maître d’ knows Henry by name, and instantly has a table set up for him in front of the stage, disregarding the queue of people awaiting tables. The maître d’ ensures Henry’s comfort, treating him like royalty. All who know Henry, wish to acknowledge his arrival. A bottle of wine or champagne is brought to his table, compliments of an acquaintance, and a toast is offered to him.
This was a very simple and interesting exercise. It reveals how effectively Scorsese’s scene is able to establish the main characters position and status, through a rhythmic and flowing sequence.