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Amsel’s Lost Art: NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The song “New York, New York” has become so synonymous with the city of its namesake, that it’s now widely regarded as an official anthem. (Well, at least Mayor Ed Koch thought so; he proclaimed it as such in 1985.)

Frank Sinatra’s crooning cover forever immortalized it, but many New Yorkers might be surprised to learn that the song actually originated from a 1977 movie musical by Martin Scorsese.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK starred Liza Minelli and Robert DeNiro, both fresh off their Oscars wins. The film, which was a lavish, expensive, and troubled production, received widely divisive reviews. Given its large budget, it was considered a box office failure, and reportedly drove its director into a steep depression, and fueled his increasing drug use. (But c'mon, this was the 1970's, after all.)

Nevertheless, the film has its champions, and there’s certainly a lot to admire. The musical and jazz numbers are particularly memorable.

The film’s final poster art was a rather bland montage of photographic elements, and it’s another baffling example of a marketing campaign that could have seriously benefitted from a more dynamic, illustrated poster.

Richard Amsel did a number of comps for the film that, sadly, were not used.


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