In "The Persisting Vision," he champions comprehensive film preservation, citing the case of Hitchcock's Vertigo , the final entry on his list, now named the greatest film of all time by Sight and Sound 's critics poll. "When the film came out some people liked it, some didn’t, and then it just went away." When, after decades of obscurity, Vertigo came back into circulation, the color was completely wrong," and "the elements — the original picture and sound negatives — needed serious attention." A restoration of the "decaying and severely damaged" film eventually happened, and "more and more people saw Vertigo and came to appreciate its hypnotic beauty and very strange, obsessive focus." I, personally, couldn't imagine the world of cinema without it — nor without any of the other pictures Scorsese calls his favorites.
Time will more and more reveal, I think, that the bad directors are the ones whose visual styles we are required to notice. Go to see Antonioni’s "The Red Desert" on the same bill with Fellini’s " 8 1/2 ," as I once did, and you will feel the difference instantly: Antonioni, so studied, so self-conscious, so painstaking about his plans, creates a movie we can appreciate intellectually, but it bores us. Fellini, whose mastery of the camera is so infinitely more fluid, sweeps us through his fantasies without effort, and we are enthralled.