Shot on studio sets designed by Boris Leven with non-naturalistic lighting by cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, New York, New York's expressionist look recalls both classical musicals and film noir, casting a shadow over even the most exuberant musical interludes. The myths of Hollywood romance are laid bare as Scorsese celebrates the style of such musical directors as Minnelli's father, Vincente Minnelli, and the vocal power of such stars as Minnelli's mother, Judy Garland. Originally released without its elaborate "Happy Endings" number, the 153-minute film was greeted with ambivalence on all sides; the release of Star Wars shortly after showed that audiences preferred their nostalgia trips to be positive rather than darkly complex. Considered a failure in 1977 (the famed Kander-Ebb title song was never even nominated for an Oscar), New York, New York was re-released in 1981, with "Happy Endings" restored, to great acclaim. Surrounding a troubled relationship with high style and great music numbers, New York, New York fondly yet ironically evokes a past whose innocence is no longer tenable.
by Lucia Bozzola review