What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (Martin Scorsese, 1963, USA)

What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? is a short film directed by Martin Scorsese in 1963. A student film Scorsese made while attending New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Girl seems to be the first Scorsese film in circulation - Vesuvius VI, made in 1959, does not seem to be available anywhere. Inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2, along with the French New Wave, Girl tells the story of a writer named Algernon who becomes fixated on a picture in his apartment.

The film is shot in 16mm and is shot in an almost stream-of-consciousness style. Algernon first relays his arrival in New York City, and we are treated to photography of Manhattan. Then we see his studio - soon filled up with furniture. Algernon relays to us his purchase of the picture, and we see here Scorsese's early talent for the montage. The montages he would become so famous for later on emerge in their infancy in Girl. There is also something of this kind of male obsession and loneliness that would recur in later Scorsese works. "I figured that all of this was because of my intense sensitivity," Algernon tells us.

The voice of the auteur is very much present in this film, as the visual experimentation continues throughout. There is also a unique sense of humor in the film - almost deadpan. When Algernon describes something about himself, a man will appear in a chair as one of his friends and repeat the expression. Algernon meets and courts a woman, and this seems to solve his problems. He marries the woman. Algernon is also seeing an analyst, and we are able to see one of his sessions. Despite being a student film, Girl definitely shows the distinct voice of its future award-winning director. 



Popular Posts