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Scarface
Scarface: Shame of a Nation

USA 1932
produced by
Howard Hughes for Caddo/United Artists
directed by Howard Hawks
starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, C.Henry Gordon, George Raft, Vince Barnett, Boris Karloff, Purnell Platt, Tully Marshall, Inez Palange, Edwin Maxwell, Harry J. Vejar
screenplay by Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin, W.R.Burnett, based on a novel by Armitage Trail

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) is the bodyguard of Lou Castillo (Harry J.Vejar), a big time gangsterboss - but then one day Lou gets bumped off, & the police have the distinctive idea that Tony did it ... but they can't pin it onto him & have to let him go ...

... but of course Tony did it, & he & his right hand man Guino (George Raft) are soon on the payroll of Lou Castillo's arch-rival Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), where Tony not only rises to second in command in record time but also eyes Lovo's moll Poppy (Karen Morley), who at first gives him the cool treatment though.

With brutal methods Tony soon helps Lovo to control all of the southside, delivering every speakeasy with alcohol, however, Lovo forbids Tony to move in on the Northside too, since this is the territory of O'Hara & Gaffney (Boris Karloff), & Lovo doesn't want to risk a gangwar yet. Tony however soon thinks he has grown too big for Lovo & orders Guino to shoot O'Hara - which he does -, much to the dismay of Lovo. But Tony has no intention to stop just there & - in a version of the actual Valentine's Day Massacre - lines up Northside gangsterbosses in a garage & has them gunned down.

Only Gaffney, who has arrvide late, has missed his appointment with death ... & he soon goes into hiding out of sheer terror - as does Lovo, realizing the murderous potential his second-in-command has, even on him ... which leaves Tony plenty of room to move in on Poppy, & this time she softens up & the 2 soon start an affair.

Tony is soon able to find out & kill Gaffney in a bowling alley, & it seems he has made it ... but then Lovo finds out about his affair with Poppy, & out of jealousy sends some out-of-town hitmen to bump Tony off ... but with some luck Tony survives, & it doesn't take him long to figure Lovo was behind it all, so he & Guino pay him a visit ... which soon has Lovo pleading for mercy before he is riddled with bullets.

Now the town belongs to Tony, & with all the competition gone he decides it's time to take a vacation & he goes to Florida.

Right-hand man Guino has meanwhile started an affair with Tony's sister Cesca (Ann Dvorak), & they even marry. Upon homecoming though, Tony only learns that his sister has an affair, goes to her appartment, rings the bell & shoots the man who opens ... despite it's his best friend Guino. Only then does he learn that he & his sister were married, & he returns to his own appartment, deeply disturbed ...

By now though the police have found evidence against him & soon put his house under siege ... only Cesca seems to somehow be able to sneak in, /& she threatens her brother with a gun ... when the police starts riddling the house with bulletholes, & Cesca, in a sudden change of heart, sides with her brother & helps him in a desperate attempt to shoot himself free ... but receives a fatal bullet doing so. Tony, realizing he is now all alone, turns into a wimpering coward & pleads the police for mercy ... but in the end idies from multiple bullet holes even though ...

 

This highly fictinalized recounting of the Al Capone-story is a compact & straightforward gangstersaga that nevertheless offers a host of multilayered characterisations & cahracter portrayals as well as directorial finesse that goes beyond just giving a pictorial account of the screenplay (best exemplified in the scene where Karloff is shot in the bowling alley, where his death is expressed by a falling pin). In 1983, Brian De Palma remade this movie as a blunt (if competently made) actioner devoid of all these subtleties.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD