“Hey, have you seen the new Scorsese yet?”
With The Irishman finally arriving on Netflix, that’s the question many people will likely ask over the long holiday weekend. (That’s “long” weekend as in “long-enough-for-a-3-1/2-hour-movie.”) But no matter the answer, it’ll be wrong, because the question is incorrect. That’s not because of some semantic issue over whether The Irishman counts as a movie because most people won’t see it in theaters, and even fewer will watch it without breaking it up into chunks, or at least pausing for a quick ice-cream break. No, it’s because of an entirely different, even more nitpicky semantic issue: the director’s name.
Go back and read the first sentence of this post aloud. You said “Scor-SAY-zee,” didn’t you? You are in good company. Here are George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, his friends of 30-plus years, pronouncing it that way as they read off Scorsese’s nomination and win for Best Director at the 2007 Academy Awards.
And here’s one of his most frequent and greatest collaborators, Robert De Niro, doing the same as he presents the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille tribute.
It’s a truly touching moment, especially the bit where De Niro fantasizes about Scorsese having sex with a reel of black and white 35mm film. But keep watching and you’ll hit a discordant note when Leonardo DiCaprio takes the mic from De Niro and offers his appreciation of the man he calls “Martin Scor-SEH-zee.”
Scorsese’s has been synonymous with American filmmaking for nearly 50 years, so it’s a little bit amazing that people are still getting that name wrong. It’s not as if he hasn’t been telling us. Here he is on Charlie Rose setting the record straight.
And for those who aren’t big fans of public television (or alleged serial sexual harassers), here he is on Entourage, introducing himself to Vincent Chase.
Note not only the vowel sound, which Leo, to his credit, nailed, but the soft s: Scor-SEH-see. That part is a little idiosyncratic, but it’s his name, and he gets to make the call. When it comes to identifying the director of The Irishman, there’s only one right way to do it. It is what it is.