Siskel & Ebert — Taxi Driver. Split vote. Roger thought it was a great character study, Gene thought it was too lurid and violent.
Roger Ebert wrote the first film review that Martin Scorsese ever received—for 1967’s I Call First, later renamed Who’s That Knocking at My Door.
I had been a film critic for seven months when I saw his first film, in 1967. It was titled I Call First, later changed to Who’s That Knocking at My Door. I saw it in “the submarine”—the long, low, narrow, dark screening room knocked together out of pasteboard by the Chicago International Film Festival. I was twenty-five. The festival’s founder, Michael Kutza, was under thirty. Everything was still at the beginning. This film had a quality that sent tingles up my arms. It felt made out of my dreams and guilts. I consider him the most gifted director of his generation, and have joked that I will never stop writing film reviews until he stops making films. —Roger Ebert, an excerpt from Scorsese by Ebert
Martin Scorsese on the passing of Roger Ebert:
“The death of Roger Ebert is an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. And it’s a loss for me personally. Roger was always supportive, he was always right there for me when I needed it most, when it really counted – at the very beginning, when every word of encouragement was precious; and then again, when I was at the lowest ebb of my career, there he was, just as encouraging, just as warmly supportive. There was a professional distance between us, but then I could talk to him much more freely than I could to other critics. Really, Roger was my friend. It’s that simple. Few people I’ve known in my life loved or cared as much about movies. I know that’s what kept him going in those last years – his life-or-death passion for movies, and his wonderful wife, Chaz. We all knew that this moment was coming, but that doesn’t make the loss any less wrenching. I’ll miss him — my dear friend, Roger Ebert.” —Martin Scorsese, April 4, 2013