The Maltese Falcon is considered to be one of the key films cementing the genre in the respect of the public, as well as establishing its archetypes. The end result has been such quintessential crime films as Scar Face, The God Father, The Departed and the most recent American Gangster. These films are notorious for depicting East inner city life, and no director has become more known for this than Martin Scorsese.
No New York director has more authentically imbedded New York ideals into popular culture than Martin Scorsese. Classified as a contemporary auteur he has carved a niche as a New York Hollywood director. The auteur theory protests that the director's films reflect the particular director's personal creative vision, as though he or she were the sole author of the work. The French word for author, many film producers have notably been credited for having auteur like influences on film projects. It has also had a major impact on film criticism, since it was erected by film director and critic Francois Truffaut in 1954. This is partly why Auteurism is most immediately connected with French New Wave. This of course, was a connection made most commonly in the mid 1950's to 60's before American filmmakers embodied the theory. Today, no contemporary American director more deserves the title of auteur than Martin Scorsese. He has presented his genuine Italian New York culture in such an authentic way that, for so long, it is unclear whether his work is a reflection of the city, or the city is a reflection of his work.
Martin Scorsese is the perfect example of an auteur because he uses the same thematic consistencies throughout all of his work. These entail Catholicism, virgin/whore conflict, redemption, ethnic pride, and of course crime culture. On top of this, he supports all of his plots with very eclectic soundtracks. The cinematography he uses is very similar in all of his films. He utilizes the fluid motion of the camera with each shot, while making the mis-en-scene of each frame valuable to the plot of the story. He is also know for using some of the same actors in his films, specifically Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel. Of his large body of work, Mean Street symbolizes the blue print to the archetype that has become his unique style (Raymond, 2002). It was his first film and it contains all of the key characteristics with which he modeled his style.
Scorsese has a visual style that relies on the city of New York. Mean Street embodies the culture that comes with this location. In the film, the audience is subjected to getting to know characters who spend their time womanizing, hustling, fighting, and drinking. Centered on the struggles of four men in their mid-20's and all residents of Little Italy, who are working their way up the rungs of gangster culture, some are loan sharks, and some are just plain hoods. Tony (David Proval) is a big friendly guy who runs the neighborhood bar; Michael (Richard Romanus) is a small-time loan shark who tends to rip off Brooklyn adolescents. Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) is an irresponsible hood who borrows money from loan sharks that he never intends to pay back, and Charlie (Harvey Keitel) is the nephew of the mafia boss Giovani (Cesar Danova). Charlie's only aspiration is to run his own restaurant. Mean