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How Martin Scorsese helped Edgar Wright through lockdown

@Russellisation

After long last, the seventh professional feature film from director Edgar Wright is finally due to hit cinemas in 2021, following months and months of Coronavirus-related delays. Last Night in Soho stars Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy and Terence Stamp and acts as Edgar Wright’s own love letter to the theatrical capital of London city, exploring the ghosts of an era long forgotten. 

Having initially intended to have been released in September 2020, the pandemic long-delayed the film’s release, allowing Wright to work on his other project The Sparks Brothers that was also released in 2021. Forced to restrict his filmmaking output, Wright instead focused on developing his own knowledge of cinema, “the yawning gaps in my film knowledge” as the director stated in an interview with The Guardian

In particular, Wright focused on a list of essential international cinema that Martin Scorsese had put together in 2007, and described his “profound experience” of discovering the likes of Sansho the Bailiff, Rocco & His Brothers and Umberto D. Writing to the Goodfellas director to thank him for his list, Wright mentioned: “I’ve always been curious as to what some of your favourite British films were growing up,” before Scorsese sent him a list of his 50 most influential British films in response. 

Edgar Wright forwarded the coveted list to his friend and fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, where the two directors discussed the wonders of Scorsese’s choices. As Wright noted, “Watching the list was like completing a jigsaw puzzle; lesser known films from directors that I was aware of, darker off-beat films from famous studios and most rewardingly, films that might have fallen through the cracks if directors like Martin Scorsese didn’t recommend them”. 

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Continuing, he adds, “He’s seeing these films objectively and perhaps without some of the snobby baggage that we sometimes attach to films and filmmakers from our home country. The very reason I asked him to recommend me some British films was to see what outliers he might stump for. ‘Best of’ lists can very quickly become aggregates and when the same lists get recycled, you realise a whole section of film history is being left behind”.

‘Helping the director through lockdown,’ Edgar Wright has picked out his very favourite British films from Martin Scorsese’s list, which you can find listed below. 

Edgar Wright’s favourite Martin Scorsese recommendations

  • Underground (Anthony Asquith, 1928)
  • Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942)
  • The Queen of Spades (Thorold Dickinson, 1949)
  • Stolen Face (Terence Fisher, 1952)
  • Sapphire (Basil Dearden, 1959)
  • The Flesh and the Fiends (John Gilling, 1960)
  • The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
  • Whistle and I’ll Come to You (Jonathan Miller, 1968)
  • The Asphyx (Peter Newbrook, 1972)
  • The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973)