CLOSE
getty images
getty images

8 Commercials Directed by Martin Scorsese

getty images
getty images

Although Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese is best known for his gritty crime dramas and two- to four-hour-long films, he also occasionally dabbles in making short-form commercials. Here are eight ad spots he has directed over the years. 

1. Dolce & Gabbana

In 2013, Martin Scorsese directed Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson in Dolce & Gabbana’s commercial for their fragrance The One. The black-and-white ad campaign was titled “Street of Dreams” and followed the pair driving through New York City and reminiscing about love, their desires, and the changing city. It was described as "a celebration of passion, of beauty, and of being unique." 

“My enjoyment is shooting in New York in Manhattan,” said the director while making the commercial. “I just find it real natural to find the frames. It’s also a part of who I am and where I’m from. I’m from downtown New York, downtown Manhattan, so shooting in the streets, for me, is very special, it’s a very freeing experience.” 

2. Apple

Scorsese paid homage to his 1976 film Taxi Driver in a 2012 Apple commercial for the iPhone 4S and its voice assistant feature Siri. The TV spot showed the busy director trying to re-organize his daily schedule while heading downtown in a New York City cab. If you look closely, the taxi’s number, “3S96,” is the same one that Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle drives in Taxi Driver. 

3. Bleu de Chanel

Scorsese directed “THE FILM” for the men’s cologne line Bleu de Chanel in 2010. It starred French actor and model Gaspard Ulliel as a young hot-shot director who remembers his favorite muse and his early days as a struggling filmmaker, when she reappears in his life during a fast-paced press conference. The ad features a number of Scorsese signatures, including its kinetic energy, quick editing, and music from the Rolling Stones—in this case, their 1965 deep cut “She Said Yeah.” Scorsese also paid homage to Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up in the way some of the various modeling scenes were shot. 

4. Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival and American Express reached out to Scorsese to produce an ad spot for the film festival in 2004. The commercial featured festival co-founder Robert De Niro walking through the streets of New York reflecting on his life and the city that he calls home.

5. American Express

In 2007, Scorsese directed a star-studded commercial for American Express’ The Members Project program. The TV spot featured Alicia Keys, Ellen DeGeneres, Shaun White, Andre Agassi, and Sheryl Crow, along with Scorsese playing himself, directing the whole thing. 

BONUS: Scorsese also appeared in a few TV spots for American Express that he didn’t direct, most notably 2006's “One Hour Photo” from veteran commercial director Jim Jenkins and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.  

6. & 7. Armani

Scorsese directed two 30-second commercials for Giorgio Armani in 1986. The first was for the Emporio Armani clothing line and featured a young couple sitting on a bed as the woman teaches the man Italian by pointing to her facial features to help him understand. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Néstor Almendros filmed the scene in black and white.

The second spot, for Armani Cologne, has a man accidently spill a bottle of cologne as he sneaks out of an apartment to avoid an angry confrontation with his girlfriend. This time German cinematographer and longtime Scorsese collaborator Michael Ballhaus filmed the commercial. 

8. City of Dreams Casino in Manila

In 2015, Martin Scorsese directed two of his frequent leading men—Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio—in a pair of commercials for City of Dreams Casino in Manila, Philippines and Studio City Casino in Macau, China. The ad campaign was called “The Audition” and showed De Niro and DiCaprio battling over the lead role in Scorsese’s new film, while Brad Pitt also threw his name in the ring. The two commercials are relatively similar, except Scorsese is welcoming the rival actors to its respective casinos. According to ABC News, each actor took home $13 million to appear in the commercials, while its budget circled the $70 million mark. 

Bonus: AT&T

In 2008, Martin Scorsese appeared as himself in AT&T’s “Be Sensible” public service announcement campaign to urge theatergoers to silence their phones while watching the movie. In the PSA, Scorsese, unhappy with a son’s phone call to his father, interrupts to give direction to the child and his mother on how to properly address this phone conversation.

Originally, Scorsese was expected to direct the commercial, but he ultimately decided to just act in it. Commercial director Jim Jenkins took the reins and praised Scorsese for his humor in the role. “Obviously he’s a natural actor,” Jenkins said in an interview with Creativity Online. “But he was nervous. He just wanted it to be funny. He said, ‘I can’t know if it’s funny. Just make it funny.'”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Warner Home Video
arrow
entertainment
10 Filling Facts About A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Though it may not be as widely known as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has been a beloved holiday tradition for many families for more than 40 years now. Even if you've seen it 100 times, there’s still probably a lot you don’t know about this Turkey Day special.

1. IT’S THE FIRST PEANUTS SPECIAL TO FEATURE AN ADULT VOICE.

We all know the trombone “wah wah wah” sound that Charlie Brown’s teacher makes when speaking in a Peanuts special. But A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which was released in 1973, made history as the first Peanuts special to feature a real, live, human adult voice. But it’s not a speaking voice—it’s heard in the song “Little Birdie.”

2. IT WASN’T JUST ANY ADULT WHO LENT HIS VOICE TO THE SPECIAL.

Being the first adult to lend his or her voice to a Peanuts special was kind of a big deal, so it makes sense that the honor wasn’t bestowed on just any old singer or voice actor. The song was performed by composer Vince Guardaldi, whose memorable compositions have become synonymous with Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang.

“Guaraldi was one of the main reasons our shows got off to such a great start,” Lee Mendelson, the Emmy-winning producer who worked on many of the Peanuts specials—including A Charlie Brown Thanksgivingwrote for The Huffington Post in 2013. “His ‘Linus and Lucy,’ introduced in A Charlie Brown Christmas, set the bar for the first 16 shows for which he created all the music. For our Thanksgiving show, he told me he wanted to sing a new song he had written for Woodstock. I agreed with much trepidation as I had never heard him sing a note. His singing of ‘Little Birdie’ became a hit."

3. DESPITE THE VOICE, THERE ARE NO ADULTS FEATURED IN THE SPECIAL.

While Peanuts specials are largely populated by children, there’s usually at least an adult or two seen or heard somewhere. That’s not the case with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving may be the only Thanksgiving special (live or animated) that does not include adults,” Mendelson wrote for HuffPo. “Our first 25 specials honored the convention of the comic strip where no adults ever appeared. (Ironically, our Mayflower special does include adults for the first time.)”

4. LUCY IS MOSTLY M.I.A., TOO.

Though early on in the special, viewers get that staple scene of Lucy pulling a football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute, that’s all we see of Chuck’s nemesis in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. (Lucy's brother, Linus, however, is still a main character.)

5. CHARLIE BROWN AND LUCY STILL KEEP IN TOUCH.

Though they only had a single scene together, Todd Barbee, who voiced Charlie Brown, told Noblemania that he and Robin Kohn, who voiced Lucy in the Thanksgiving special, still keep in touch. “We actually went to high school together,” Barbee said. “We still live in Marin County, are Facebook friends, and occasionally see each other.”

6. CHARLIE BROWN HAD SOME TROUBLE WITH HIS SIGNATURE “AAARRRGG.”

One unique aspect of the Peanuts specials is that the bulk of the characters are voiced by real kids. In the case of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 10-year-old newcomer Todd Barbee was tasked with giving a voice to Charlie Brown—and it wasn’t always easy.

“One time they wanted me to voice that ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG’ when Charlie Brown goes to kick the football and Lucy yanks it away,” Barbee recalled to Noblemania in 2014. “Try as I might, I just couldn’t generate [it as] long [as] they were looking for … so after something like 25 takes, we moved on. I was sweating the whole time. I think they eventually got an adult or a kid with an older voice to do that one take."

7. LINUS STILL GETS AN ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE.

While Barbee got a crash course in the downside of celebrity at a very early age—“seeing my name printed in TV Guide made everyone around me go bananas … everybody … just thought I was some big movie star or something,” he told Noblemania—Stephen Shea, who voiced Linus, still gets a pretty big reaction.

"I don't walk around saying 'I'm the voice of Linus,'" Shea told the Los Angeles Times in 2013. "But when people find out one way or another, they scream 'I love Linus. That is my favorite character!'"

8. THANKS TO LINUS, THE THANKSGIVING SPECIAL GOT A SPINOFF.

As is often the case in a Peanuts special, Linus gets to play the role of philosopher in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and remind his friends (and the viewers) about the history and true meaning of whatever holiday they’re celebrating. His speech about the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving eventually led to This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers, a kind of spinoff adapted from that Thanksgiving Day prayer, which sees the Peanuts gang becoming a part of history.

9. LEE MENDELSON HAD AN ISSUE WITH BIRD CANNIBALISM.

In writing for HuffPo for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’s 40th anniversary, Mendelson admitted that one particular scene in the special led to “a rare, minor dispute during the creation of the show. Mr. Schulz insisted that Woodstock join Snoopy in carving and eating a turkey. For some reason I was bothered that Woodstock would eat a turkey. I voiced my concern, which was immediately overruled.”

10. MENDELSON EVENTUALLY GOT HIS WAY ... THOUGH NOT FOR LONG.

Though Mendelson lost his original argument against seeing Woodstock eating another bird, he was eventually able to right that wrong. “Years later, when CBS cut the show from its original 25 minutes to 22 minutes, I sneakily edited out the scene of Woodstock eating,” he wrote. “But when we moved to ABC in 2001, the network (happily) elected to restore all the holiday shows to the original 25 minutes, so I finally have given up.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Shout! Factory
arrow
entertainment
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios