High Times Greats: Paul Schrader

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For the July, 1979 issue of High Times, Harry Wasserman interviewed writer and director Paul Schrader, who celebrates his 74th birthday on July 22.


“You talkin’ to me?” sneers psycho cab-driver Travis Bickle, a few loaded guns strapped down to various parts of his taut body, as he quick-draws a revolver and swivels to glare at himself in a full-length mirror. The character is played by actor Robert De Niro, and the scene is from the movie Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay was written by Paul Schrader, who had previously scripted Rolling Thunder, about a returning Vietnam War vet who goes on a bloody rampage (including jamming a man’s hand down a garbage disposal), and Obsession, starring Cliff Robertson as a man who falls in love with his daughter because she reminds him of his dead wife.

After the success of Taxi Driver, Schrader was given the opportunity to direct his next script, Blue Collar, in which three auto factory workers (Richard…

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