Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Sept. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781335016508. $29.99. FILM
Goodfellas is arguably director Martin Scorsese’s most popular film, and while many books have capitalized on its fame—including a volume on leadership and even a cookbook—this is the first title in almost 20 years to take such a thorough and highly entertaining look at the creation and legacy of what many consider one of the best mob movies of all time. Kenny (formerly, film critic, Premiere) has written an engaging first-person narrative, making readers feel they are right there as he interviews Scorsese, co-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, actor Robert DeNiro, and producer Barbara De Fina. This extensive study explores Saul Bass’s opening credit sequence and the racist and discriminatory language used by characters in the film and in other works by Scorsese. Kenny also considers editor Thelma Schoonmaker’s relationship with Scorsese and devotes an entire chapter to the film’s music. Every aside, every reference to something as simple as why the coda to Eric Clapton’s “Layla” was used in one scene grows into a fascinating behind-the-scenes exploration. Using original interviews, existing criticism, and even the DVD commentary track, Kenny leaves no thread unpulled, no stone unturned.
VERDICT A must for any fan of Goodfellas, Scorsese, or movies in general. [See “Turn the Page,” p. 18.]

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