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Early gangster films Fri. 1/21


FredCDobbs
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All times Eastern:

 

8:00pm City Streets (1931)

A racketeer must choose between his criminal life and love.

Cast: Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas, Wynne Gibson Dir: Rouben Mamoulian BW-82 mins

 

9:30pm Scarface (1932)

A murderous thug shoots his way to the top of the mobs while trying to protect his sister from the criminal life.

Cast: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins Dir: Howard Hawks BW-94 mins, TV-PG

 

11:15pm Little Caesar (1930)

A small-time hood shoots his way to the top, but how long can he stay there?

Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell, William Collier Jr. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy BW-79 mins, TV-PG

 

12:45pm Mayor Of Hell, The (1933)

A racketeer goes straight to run a reform school.

Cast: James Cagney, Madge Evans, Arthur Byron, Allen Jenkins Dir: Archie Mayo BW-90 mins, TV-PG

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> All times Eastern:

>

> 8:00pm City Streets (1931)

> A racketeer must choose between his criminal life and love.

> Cast: Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas, Wynne Gibson Dir: Rouben Mamoulian BW-82 mins

>

> 9:30pm Scarface (1932)

> A murderous thug shoots his way to the top of the mobs while trying to protect his sister from the criminal life.

> Cast: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins Dir: Howard Hawks BW-94 mins, TV-PG

>

> 11:15pm Little Caesar (1930)

> A small-time hood shoots his way to the top, but how long can he stay there?

> Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell, William Collier Jr. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy BW-79 mins, TV-PG

>

> 12:45pm Mayor Of Hell, The (1933)

> A racketeer goes straight to run a reform school.

> Cast: James Cagney, Madge Evans, Arthur Byron, Allen Jenkins Dir: Archie Mayo BW-90 mins, TV-PG

 

Not bad, except for Mayor Of Hell. I would have preferred either QUICK MILLIONS (1931) OR another repeat of PUBLIC ENEMY (1931).

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Didn't get to watch "City Streets" yet but I did record it and when I checked the recording I was very happy at how clear and pristine the picture quality was (especially for a movie almost 80 years old).

Did anyone else note the good clear picture quality? This film must have been restored.

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> {quote:title=midnight08 wrote:}{quote}

> Didn't get to watch "City Streets" yet but I did record it and when I checked the recording I was very happy at how clear and pristine the picture quality was (especially for a movie almost 80 years old).

> Did anyone else note the good clear picture quality? This film must have been restored.

 

IMDB says it was ?re-released? in France in 2009, and it looked like a new restoration. Very high quality. This is the way all the new films looked in the theaters back in the old days, with high-quality prints and good sound.

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I was going to watch "Scarface" but forgot it because I had to do my taxes, grrrrr. "Little Ceasar" was on a couple of weeks ago, so I didn't miss anything there.

 

"Mayor Of Hell" (1933), I wonder was the plot based on or inspired by an actual event. How better for a gangster to turn his life around by helping other kids not to go down the same path he did in life. Even today we see ex convicts do similiar things to pay back society for their wrongs in life.

 

Who would think that a gangster would be more kinder and gentler than the former brutal administrator? Shows deep down inside, some still has good inside them. Did I just quote from "Star Wars Episode IV?

 

I like that other gangster that is sort of dopey, he's the one that cuts the cake. I see him in several other gangster movies with the duh attitude, lol. Tell him the expression "shoot the moon" and he will take his gun and shoot at the moon.

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I liked "City Streets" -- a bit different from what I expected. I didn't see gangsters as glamorized. It was clear that they were a bad lot, and the 2 young leads eventually escape from that life. This is different from the Warners' take on things, where becoming a gangster is a way out of poverty and oppression.

 

I was surprised by the brutality of "Scarface." Muni's character is scarcely human, an animalistic coward who responds to the most primitive of emotions. In some ways, this film is more shocking than the remake. Is there a suggestion of incest in his relationship with his sister? Similarly, is there a homosexual subtext in "Little Caesar"? Gee, there's Doug Fairbanks Jr. before he became an Englishman!

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i thought the plot of Mayor From Hell seemed awfully familiar, but I was sure I hadnt seen the movie before (with Cagney). Then RO said after it was remade with Bogie and the Dead End Kids five years later. That was the version I'd seen. Some of the scenes were exactly the same........

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MAYOR OF HELL is no classic. Kind of cute and predictable. But I enjoyed it. Love SCARFACE. Haven't seen LITTLE CAESAR in years. Never heard of CITY STREETS. Wish I'd seen it last night. The one and only time I saw De Palma's SCARFACE, I considered it OK at best. Not a bad action film, but inexplicably popular on the street. Some people subscribe to the "violence is art" theory; the bloodier the better. Need I say the classy and stylish Hawks film is superior?

 

Edited by: redriver on Jan 22, 2011 4:50 PM

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> {quote:title=rosebette wrote:}{quote}

> Is there a suggestion of incest in his relationship with his sister?

 

 

No, not in the movie. That?s just a modern rumor. In the old days, family members cared for each other. Brothers looked after their younger sisters. Sisters took care of brothers.

 

 

 

 

> Similarly, is there a homosexual subtext in "Little Caesar"?

 

No. Believe it or not, men can be friends over a long period of time without ******** ********* ***.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> The one and only time I saw De Palma's SCARFACE, I considered it OK at best. Not a bad action film, but inexplicably popular on the street. Some people subscribe to the "violence is art" theory; the bloodier the better.

 

Very boring. You and I could make a better movie.

 

Ok, here?s what we do... we film it in Miami, we show guys dealing in dope and cussin?, and every 20 minutes we show some killing and murders. That?s it. That?s our modern movie.

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I finally watched SCARFACE today.

 

I really wanted to like it. Maybe it was too hyped. And I get that the violence was part of his lifestyle, as it is for most gangsters, but I felt that anytime there was a slight bit of characterization, we launched back into shooting. It was too plot-driven and I could care less about the people depicted in the film, even about the relationship between him and his sister.

 

Also, the killing scenes seemed hokey. I am sure real-life gangsters who saw the movie at the time it hit theatres had a good chuckle. It lacks realism and authentic characterization. Plus, it's way too preachy, as evidenced by the prologue and some of the dialogue. The scene where the sister tells him he's not her brother, he's a murderer, was insipid at best. Of course he's a murderer. He just shot her husband.

 

And Paul Muni, whom I normally admire, gets rather histrionic, especially during the final sequence. Other scenes he did much better...but overall, this film failed to impress me.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> I finally watched SCARFACE today.

> Plus, it's way too preachy, as evidenced by the prologue and some of the dialogue.

 

That stuff was a way the studios could get away with glamorizing the gangsters. That?s why the standard re-release of ?Little Cesar?, the one we always see, has the comments and rolling text at the beginning and so does ?Scarface?, telling about how ?bad? these guys are, then the films go on to glamorize them.

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Actually apparently Capone was a fan of Scarface.

 

Scarface is actually my favorite of the early 30's gangster films (followed closely by Public Enemy). Some of the acting of minor characters isn't that great but I think Muni is fantastic. I like George Raft too as his second & Boris Karloff.

 

And the film wasn't trying to be preachy. They had to add that message to get it past the censors.

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