Sunday, October 20, 2013

Scarface (1932)

Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson

Writers: Armitage Trail, Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks, Fred Pasley

Composer: ???

Starring: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, C. Henry Gordon, George Raft, Vince Barnett, Boris Karloff, Purnell Pratt, Tully Marshall, Inez Palange, Edwin Maxwell

More info: IMDb

Plot: Big Louis Costillo, last of the old-style gang leaders is slain, and his former bodyguard Tony Camonte (Muni) is taken into custody. Since Costillo's body has never been found, the police have to release him, though they strongly suspect Johnny Lovo paid Tony to remove Big Louis. Tony begins taking over the rackets in town with violent enforcement, and he becomes a threat to Johnny and the other bosses unless they work for Tony. Meanwhile, Tony's sister wants to be more independent, but finds it difficult to escape from her brother's overprotective grasp. The dissatisfaction of the other bosses and the relentless pursuit of the police push Tony towards a major confrontation.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

This is great storytelling.  Muni is fantastic as the ruthless gang leader.  Raft, Karloff and Dvorak are lots of fun in their roles.  The camera work and staging are most impressive.  For a movie that's 81 years old now, it's very violent.  That's probably the shocking part when you take the time it came out into consideration.  Tony is one violent sumbitch.  For as much fun as this is, nothing is going to beat James Cagney's ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (1938) but this one comes close.  And don't get me started about Brian DePalma's remake from 1983.  The original is superior.

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