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‘You Talkin’ To Me? I Don’t See Nobody Else…’

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RELATED: The generally accepted consensus among Scorsese proselytes cites this sequence, from John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) as Robert DeNiro’s prime source of inspiration behind Travis Bickle’s legendary mirror scene in Taxi Driver. The following findings are about to throw film history a curve ball. After decades of eye-straining research, the truth behind the source of Travis’ psycho-soliloquy can at last be revealed. The following scene was lifted verbatim from Michael Gordon’s relatively obscure 1965 Rock Hudson/Leslie Caron romantic comedy, A Very Special Favor. MORE

THE COLONEL: So untrue. Bobby De Niro and Marty Scorsese were both huge fans of Bruce Springsteen back in the 1970s. Just before those guys went on to shoot “Taxi Driver,” Springsteen’s career was exploding with the album “Born to Run” which was released in September of 1975. It was around that time, when Springteen’s audience began shouting “Broooooooooooouce!!!” at his concerts, to which the singer began pointing at himself, and then saying, “You talkin’ to me?” De Niro and Scorsese became friends with Bruce and the E Streeters. Miami Steve once told me that he mentioned to De Niro how much he loved that Hawaiian shirt which Bobby wore in the film, “New York, New York.” Van Zant went on to tell me that De Niro had the shirt sent to him. So, maybe Bruce stole it from that Rock Hudson movie, but Travis Bickle stole the line from The Boss! As Thomas Stearns Eliot a.k.a. T.S. Eliot once remarked, “Good poets borrow, but great poets steal.”

RELATED: In the years leading up to John F. Hinckley Jr.’s attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, he became obsessed with the movie “Taxi Driver.” Hinckley saw the movie at least fifteen times, read and re-read the book it was based upon, and bought the soundtrack to the film, listening to it for hours on end. Hinckley even began to model certain aspects of his life on the actions of the main characters. Most importantly, Hinckley developed an intense obsession with an actress in the film, Jodie Foster. The film stars Robert DeNiro as the main character, Travis Bickle, a violent taxi cab driver alienated from http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7004/6462085529_9407da4661_m.jpgsociety. Bickle becomes interested in a woman named Betsy who works for a presidential candidate, and tries to attract her attention, but is unsuccessful. Rebuffed by both society and the object of his affection, Bickle decides to assassinate the presidential candidate so that he may win Betsy’s admiration. He is never able to get close enough to the candidate, however, to complete his assassination attempt. Bickle then becomes interested in saving Iris, a young prostitute played by Jodie Foster. He goes to the hotel where twelve-year-old prostitute brings her customers, and shoots her pimp, the hotel manager, and a client, rescuing Iris from the horrible environment. At the end of the movie, Travis Bickle holds a bloody finger to his temple, acting like a man who is blowing his own brains out. In the context of the movie, however, it is a gesture of triumph. Travis Bickle is a hero. One of Hinckley’s defense experts at trial, Dr. William Carpenter, Jr., stated that John Hinckley identified in many ways with Travis Bickle and “picked up in largely automatic ways many [of his] attributes.” Hinckley began to imitate Bickle’s preference for army fatigue jackets and boots, and developed a fascination with guns. He adopted Bickle’s preference for peach brandy and, like the movie character, began keeping a diary. According to Carpenter, Hinckley’s isolation from society and vulnerability led him to unconsciously begin to mimic Bickle’s traits. In Carpenter’s words, Hinckley “absorbed the identity of Travis Bickle.” Carpenter even believed that when Hinckley took a bus cross-country from Los Angeles, Washington was merely a stopover on his route to Yale, and another attempt to “rescue” Jodie Foster as the film script demanded. MORE

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7156/6462101163_941450048f_m.jpgRELATED: John W. Hinckley Jr. should be granted more freedom from a psychiatric hospital so he can ultimately be released to live with his mother in Williamsburg, an attorney for the presidential assailant told a judge. “Although he is flawed, he is fundamentally decent,” Barry Wm. Levine said as his client sat quietly at the defense table. “This man is not dangerous. The evidence shows he is not dangerous.” Levine’s assertion came during opening statements of hearings before U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, who must decide whether to grant a request by St. Elizabeths Hospital to expand Hinckley’s visits to his mother’s home. Hinckley has been held at the hospital since being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan and three other men in 1981 outside the Washington Hilton hotel.In recent years, Hinckley has been granted more freedom and has been visiting his mother for up to 10 days unaccompanied by hospital personnel. The hospital is asking to expand Hinckley’s visits to as many as 24 straight days. If those trips go well, doctors are also asking Friedman for the authority to allow Hinckley to live as an outpatient in Williamsburg. As they have in the past, federal prosecutors are aggressively fighting the expansion of those privileges, arguing that Hinckley remains dangerous and cannot be trusted with the new privileges. They have raised questions about his relationships with women and accused him of being deceptive about them and other matters. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Chasson said Wednesday that Hinckley misled his doctors about two visits to the movies in recent months. In a July visit to Williamsburg, he told his doctors he had been dropped off by his mother at a theater to see “Captain America” and even gave a glowing review of the film to his treatment team. In reality, Chasson said, Secret Service agents watched Hinckley talk briefly with a clerk at the box office and then leave. He headed to a bookstore, where he was spotted browsing books about Reagan and presidential assassinations. The Secret Service, which protects presidents, routinely monitors Hinckley’s movements. MORE

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