Monday, November 25, 2013

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)

Director: Roger Corman

Writer: Howard Browne

Composers: Lionel Newman, Fred Steiner

Starring: Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker, Jean Hale, Clint Ritchie, Frank Silvera, Joseph Campanella, Richard Bakalyan, David Canary, Bruce Dern, Harold J. Stone, Joe Turkel, John Agar, Alex Rocco

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A WARNING! This motion picture depicts without flinching the most shocking event of America's most lawless era...

Plot: Chicago February 14th 1929. Al Capone finally establishes himself as the city's boss of organised crime. In a north-side garage his hoods, dressed as policemen, surprise and mow down with machine-guns the key members of Bugs Moran's rival gang. The film traces the history of the incident, and the lives affected and in some cases ended by it.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Absolutely.

I LOVE the occasional narration by Paul Frees.  When you meet the principal characters he gives you a little bit of deadpan, ala DRAGNET, facts about their life and eventual death.  It's a great technique that I've never seen before and it works beautifully with this kind of picture.  Jason Robards does a fine job as Capone despite not looking an ounce like him.  For me, though, the scene-stealing performance came from George Segal as gangster Peter Gusenberg.  He's really laying it on thick but he's having fun with it.  So besides lots of gangster action and scenery chewing it's really neat that it's a Roger Corman picutre.  This is so unlike any of his other films.  The budget it larger, the subject is different and his direction is different.  And because it's a Corman picture you get some bit parts filled by the likes of Dick Miller and Jack Nicholson.  It's a fun flick and a must see for fans of Depression-era gangsters.

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