The Unknown

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“Are you looking at me” are the famous words one of our 3 leading men Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) says by looking at himself in the mirror. He displays perfectly the idea of a child playing around with his toys; however unlike a child he has a purpose, a will to do what he is ‘supposed’ to. It has been stated that The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) has been a reference point for Paul Schrader’s writing in Scorsese’s classic film Taxi Driver. Scorsese uses the plot line, the character study, and the violence in The Searchers and transforms it to his movies such as Taxi Driver and Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973). He both draws upon and breaks away from set norms and dissects the tortuous truth in an intense character study, showing through it his own life and character.

In order to comprehend the connections between the films, we will need to look, generally, at the genres and story structures used to convey the story. A Western usually takes place in wide, open spaces and starts a violent lead that has lived through the civil war. A person who has no family, but on that has a morality of revenge. The Horror of Personality Genre entails a “deinstitutionalizing of the mentally ill” in a world with vast societal changes, a man who has lived through the debacle of Vietnam and is now grappling with the unknown (189) . The Gangster genre is about a poor immigrant desperate for the American dream, the glamorous lifestyle with money, clothes and cars whose life ends with a violent death.

The story structure of The Searchers entails “an obsessed man who searches for someone – a woman, a child, a best friend – who has fallen into the clutches of alien people. But when found the sought one doesn’t wa...

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