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I enjoyed the gangster films that were produced from the 1930's thru the 50's. Since then only on the first 2 " Godfather " films," Bugsy ", " The Usual Suspects " L.A. Confidential ", and " Once Upon a Time in America ", have engaged my interest. My favorite " gangster " film is " The Roaring Twenties " directed by the great Raoul Walsh, with a mesmerizing performance by Jimmy Cagney. Both Walsh and Cagney are Irish of course !

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Did you see Reservoir Dogs? The language is filthy and the violence grotesque, but the peformances - especially Keitel and Buscemi - are first rate. I'm not a particular fan of Tarantino, but if you can get past the violence and the language, the plot twists are I think very clever and the ending makes it all worth the trip. Lawrence Tierney is also featured as the mob boss.

 

You'll also recognize a device borrowed from The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, that being the use of colors as surnames for each of the bad guys.

 

Like noir, gangster/mob movies are most appealing to me when the dialogue is crisp and interesting.

 

Anyway.

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I find Quentin Tarantino's work very unappealing, and that is putting it mildly, to say the least.. No, I haven't seen " Reservoir Dogs ", but because of your suggestion I will have to give it a look see. Thanks.

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I'm glad to see that someone else likes "Bugsy." I thought that was terrific when I first saw it, and I usually don't like Warren Beatty.

 

I've also noticed a few people in books here and there expressing praise for John Milius' film "Dillinger," from 1975. i've always liked that one too. Warren Oates is terrific as Dillinger, and Ben Johnson superb as the FBI agent who tracks him down.

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"Reservoir Dogs" (1992) is a great modern gangster film. I would agree with the fact that Tarantino's work in general is not that good, but RS is an exception to the rule.

 

Much of the films plot was taken from a Japanese flick called "City on Fire" (1987), but Tarantino puts his own spin on things and his gift for dialogue really works here with great actors who can bring his lines to life.

 

Another recent gangster film I like is "Millers Crossing" (1990). Great characters and nice little homages to classic gangster and noir films while at the same time creating it's own unique story.

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I went back to Blockbuster last night and Miller's Crossing was in. I enjoyed it. Byrne's accent was hard for me to follow at some points but the dialogue, especially between him and Marcia Gay Harden was just the sort of thing I enjoy in gangster films. It recalled Bogie and Bacall in that respect.

 

The plot twists, especailly the one involving the title location, were smart, but I couldn't help but conclude that the two bosses, especially Polito, seemed a little too dim to be bosses. Still, the manipulations worked out by Byrne's character were clever and kept the action moving forward in an interesting way.

 

John Turturro's lively performance was a nice counterpoint to Byrne's more seething, subdued master of manipulation. And seeing Steve Buscemi's cameo was a nice surprise. Miss Harden was appealing as the woman who unwittingly sets it all in motion.

 

I've been trying to think of a movie that might be a good companion piece for Miller's Crossing, and I guess I don't know enough noir films to come up with a good one, but Treasure of Sierra Madre comes to mind, since they are both heavily dependent on psychology.

 

Thanks for the recommendation, Arkadin. It was a fun watch that will stand up to repeated viewings.

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I don't know if it can be classified as a " gangster film ", but Q & A, starring Nick Nolte, as a hate filled Irish police detective, is a great " cop - noir " movie ( ? ) with the interactions of the various ethnic - religious groups, Irish - Catholic, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Jewish, and Italians playing a big part of the film. Sidney Lumet Directed.

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Probably one of the best things about the film was that Johhny Caspar who was supposed to be "the evil boss" believed in honor and commitment to his people which ultimately caused his death. He also intuned the performance with lots of fun and humor (did somebody hit you?) reminding me at times of Akim Tamiroff (Uncle Joe Grande) from "Touch of Evil" (1958).

 

The ending is obviously a nod to "The Third Man" (1949) and there are other little homages here and there. I also liked the use of color and lighting.

 

Not a perfect film by any means, but a fun one.

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I read somewhere that "Miller's Crossing," (which I like. Next to "Fargo" it is my favorite Coen Brothers film) is deeply indebted to "The Glass Key," an Alan Ladd film from the Forties. (And a novel by Dashiell Hammett.)

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"The Glass Key" (1942) was a great film. I can see maybe a nod to that here and there (Allan Ladd and V. Lake having a little something going on behind his bosses back, getting beat up alot, Bendix character is vicous like Eddie Dane, but not as smart).

 

Rats, you guys are making me want to pull it out and watch it again!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm a fan of the "gangster film" Pete Kelly's Blues. Can't find any copies of anywhere. Where else would you find Jack Webb,Peggy Lee and Janet Leigh together.Plus Andy Devine,Lee Marvin,Ella Fitzgerald and Edmond O'Brien.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Those interested in the 20th Century Fox documentary style ganger films shot in New York should check out Robert Siodmak's "Cry of the City," starring Victor Mature and Richard Conte. It is the film debut of 14-year old Debra Paget as Conte's lover. Shelly Winters also appears in a supporting role.

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