The "Layla" thread got me thinking.... A year or two ago in SGHT I read an interview with Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese's editor. She is very deferential to Scorsese yet I'm trying to figure her influence on his editing process. Every time I go back to Goodfellas I see more and more to like. Right after I got the DVD I kept going over the long stedicam "introductions" shot in the Bamboo Lounge and the corollary "Avon party introductions" shot. Why do they seem so similar when the filming process in each is so different? I considered the theme of each shot yet there was something very similar visually. I also keep going over the Jimmy Conway "clearances" section where the results of his greed are measured in bodies (sorry for the wordiness, didn't want to make a spoiler here). This led to a whole bunch of Metz-like semiotical notions which rather frightened me because I realized the French might be right; the film might just be the message. yet narrative in each of these scenes is strongly enforced by the voice-overs. I tend to think of this kind of thing as an uniquely American device (strong montage mated with strong narrative quality). Boy I hope I'm describing this correctly. I keep looking for flaws in Goodfellas and I keep looking for lack of balance. Short of the questionable denouement, which I'm not sure is questionable because it works in some ways though isn't quite satisfying, I'm not seeing any bad choices; any drop in narrative or expressive strength. And this kind of frightens me because I think I've found a van Gogh in the attic. Goodfellas is recognized as a good film, but not a great one. Though its status seems to be slowly increasing I'm willing to put it on a pedestal with other truly great films right now. I might even say that this film will be recognized in the future as one of the best films of all time; if not necessarily for the subject matter then certainly for its (pardon the pun) execution. The jewel in the crown of Goodfellas is certainly its editing. Which brings me back to Thelma. So much of Scorsese's work has been done with Schoonmaker it makes me wonder just where she fits. I know they work collaboratively and I know he loves editing. If it's all him then why bother with an editor at all? Unions? Good form? She has to bring something to the mix. She is not a formally-trained film editor and got her first job by answering an ad in a newspaper-- Woodstock nonetheless! I want to talk about what makes this film tick and why I have this suspicion it might be a whole lot better than most critics give it credit for and what role editing, and Schoonmaker, and narrative, have in it. P.S. - Sorry about the HTML in the title. If a mod reads this could you fix it plz?