Obsessive as any Robert De Niro character in one of his own movies, Martin Scorsese may well be the world’s most fanatical video collector. It’s not just the sheer volume of movies the director has amassed on tape and disc — a vast library that numbers far into the thousands. It’s the breadth and range that staggers, since Scorsese is devoted to owning strange and obscure flicks that can only be found on late-night TV broadcasts, such as Sam Fuller’s 1950 The Baron of Arizona and the 1953 British drama The Holly and the Ivy. With the help of a full-time curator, Scorsese says he keeps ”seven or eight VCRs” humming constantly. ”I’ve taped practically everything since 1979,” he claims.
”He knows instantly if a copy he’s already got has credits cut off, or if there was a moment of static in the reception,” says one former assistant, ”and he’ll insist on getting it again.” And you thought only Scorsese’s actors had to suffer through retakes.