Mean Streets – Please Mr. Postman

| April 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

M ean Streets, Mr. Postman

Martin Scorcese’s third movie was Mean Streets. It was released in 1973. Two actors who became lifelong collaborators with Scorsese are in the movie and boy are they young, Robert Deniro and Harvey Keitel. Deniro’s character, Johnny Boy is truly maniacal and very scary.

The clip above includes a scene in which the gang, of which Keitel’s character is the leader, are visiting a pool hall to conduct some sort of nefarious business. The “negotiation” is clearly pretty unscripted and also very funny. Things deteriorate when the pool hall owner called one of Keitel’s gang “a mook.”

“A mook???” the gang member says. “What’s a mook?” And the brawl begins, with the song “Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes in the background. The scene includes Scorcese’s trademark tracking shots as he follows the combatants in the various scrums around the pool tables. Deniro is seen swinging pool cues wildly at all comers.

A couple of police officers show up, the music stops and we’re back to comedy. The pool hall owner offers a bribe for the cop to ignore the nail clipper he finds in Keitel’s pocket claiming it’s a dangerous knife. The owner offers to pay for transportation for the cop and asks the cop where he’s going?

“New Jersey,” says the cop. Owner gives him money.

Cop says, “actually we’re going to Philadelphia.” Owner gives him more money.

Mean Streets is my all time favorite movie, in part, because it reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in in Boston. But this scene is one of my favorites because of the music. While the scene depicts a violent brawl, the music keeps it light and, frankly, fun. The movie overall cycles between comedy, tragedy and violence. This scene hits all those notes, as well.


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