Death warmed up
But Donald Clarke sees the announcement of a sequel to Scorsese’s classic as the start of a slippery slope . . . – if you must; – er, OK;
EVERY NOW AND then a popcultural snippet arrives that causes one to wonder whether we are actually living through a particularly absurd episode of The Simpsons. Such intimations have been stirred by the news that a gang of opportunists is attempting to make a sequel to Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. The new film seeks to prod those corners of boxer Jake LaMotta’s life not covered by the 1980s classic.
Well, that’s all right then. Isn’t it? It’s not really a sequel, as such; it’s just a further study of certain historical events. You fools! Lest the punter be in any doubt, the makers of the project really have decided to call it Raging Bull 2. Not surprisingly, MGM (or what’s left of that withered studio), custodians of the Scorsese film, have kicked their lawyers into action.
Should we be surprised? Probably not. The modern world is awful and the desecration of cultural treasures has become an international sport. But it did seem reasonable to assume that sequel jockeys would leave more esoteric films alone. Scorsese’s grim monochrome study of obsession never seemed likely to spawn a franchise. Whatever next?