Scarface

1932

Action / Crime

0
IMDb Rating 7.8

Synopsis


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1.79G
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English
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93 min
P/S 102 / 180
1.13G
Normal
English
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93 min
P/S 30 / 55

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10

Unlike James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson in their career making roles as gangsters, Paul Muni after Scarface was able to avoid being typecast for his career. Only rarely did Muni return to a gangster part in his career.<br/><br/>It must not have been easy for him because Muni is absolutely mesmerizing as the totally amoral Tony Camonte. After Scarface was released Muni was inundated with offers to play gangsters which he rejected. Interesting because without knowing it another of the cast in Scarface, Boris Karloff, would be ultimately trapped in the horror film genre. Muni assuredly avoided Karloff&#39;s fate.<br/><br/>Another cast member, George Raft, got his big film break playing Muni&#39;s right hand man. For Raft this was art imitating life, these were the people who were his pallies in real life, there was never any acting involved. Raft never really had too many acclaimed performances away from the gangster/big city genre.<br/><br/>Camonte is the ultimate killing machine. He knows only one law the law of the jungle. He&#39;ll rise by any means possible, use anyone it takes, kill anyone who gets in his way. He has only two weaknesses, an obsession that borders on incestuous desires for his sister Ann Dvorak and a kind of affection for his factotum Vince Barnett. That&#39;s the kind of affection you have for a pet.<br/><br/>Barnett who usually played drunks and hangers-on got his career role out of Scarface. What comic relief there is in the film he provides. He&#39;s got some good moments as a &#39;secretary&#39; trying to take a phone message with bullets flying all around him. Had he been not dispatched to take the message the machine gun bullets would have found their mark easily in the taller Muni.<br/><br/>Scarface is also art that imitates life. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of gangland war in the Chicago of the Twenties will recognize Muni as Capone, Boris Karloff as Bugs Moran, and Osgood Perkins as Johnny Torio. Capone could have sued, but right about then he was having much bigger problems with Internal Revenue.<br/><br/>We can&#39;t forget Karen Morley who played Poppy the girl who likes to go with a winner. She shifts from Perkins to Muni and away from Muni when it becomes necessary. In her own way, she&#39;s as amoral as Muni.<br/><br/>Scarface along with Public Enemy and Little Caesar set the standard for gangster films. The updated 1983 remake with Al Pacino in Muni&#39;s part is a good film itself and got a lot of its audience with some really gory scenes.<br/><br/>Muni did it with talent alone.

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Reviewed by sryder-1 10

Inevitably, Scarface will be compared with the near-contemporary gangster films, Little Caesar and Public Enemy, and Paul Muni with their stars Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney. What does it tell us about that era: that all three careers took off with portrayals of gang leaders? The three performances significantly differ. Robinson rises to the top by the use of a crafty intelligence as well as violence; Cagney by a type of shrewdness and personal charisma. Paul Muni&#39;s Tony Comonte is neither intelligent nor personable; his manners are crude; and at times he is almost childlike in his behavior: for instance, when he is enjoying a play and is interrupted after the second act, summoned to do another killing,and leaves a henchman behind, who can tell him later how it came out, then is delighted to hear that the &quot;guy with the collar&quot; didn&#39;t get the girl; rather, the rougher suitor. He can be described as cunning and animistic: a young wolf who eliminates any rival who stands in his way; finally the leader of the pack One can be moved by Robinson&#39;s last words, &quot;Is this the end of Little Caesar?&quot; or by Cagney&#39;s body falling through the open door of his family home, he having been killed off-screen. Comonte&#39;s death is that of a trapped or cornered animal, wordless in a beautifully staged sequence,as brutal as his life, depicted for the audience in every detail. Of the three portrayals, Muni&#39;s comes across to me as the most chilling, in its enactment of instinctive evil. How ironic that He would later win his greatest fame for his performances as Emile Zola and Louis Pasteur.

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Reviewed by Don-102 10

The early 1930&#39;s produced a whirlwind of mobster films, commenting on the real-life problem of organized crime throughout Prohibition America. LITTLE CAESAR and PUBLIC ENEMY were the first significant films of the genre, but not until Howard Hawks tour-de-force smash, SCARFACE, did the public get to see what was going on. Hawks&#39; film came out in 1932 and has been a mainstay in filmmaker&#39;s minds and fans alike ever since. Scorsese, Coppola, and especially De Palma, have all drawn inspiration (and the &#39;83 remake) from Hawks and Ben Hecht, the picture&#39;s screenwriter. Paul Muni was loosely based on Al Capone, and SCARFACE begins with yet another message to the government telling them to get off their butts and rid the country of Tony Carmontes everywhere. I think the picture works more as brutal, realistic entertainment than moral message. In hindsight, SCARFACE made it all look fun.<br/><br/>This searing flick looks so spooky and dark, you truly get the feeling of the real &quot;underworld&quot; and how uncompromising it was and still is. Some brilliant images grace the screen: the passage of dates on a calendar by machine gun; Muni&#39;s gruesome scar; an opening murder scene done with such subtly the mere sound of Muni&#39;s whistle triggers doom; a sideshow of possible incest between &quot;Tony&quot; and his tortured sister. No joke. It appears almost blatantly in varying scenes of building jealousy and murder. Many of the elements show up in De Palma&#39;s remake, such as the sister, her relationship with Tony&#39;s best friend, and his disapproving mother. The original packs more substance into a shorter film and is clearly better than the flashy remake (which I also loved).<br/><br/>This was one of Howard Hawks&#39; 1st films and he continued to make pictures that differed so completely, one after the other. SCARFACE is his landmark film, a must-see that was considered by many to be unreleasable to the audiences of 1932. It is a predictable rise and fall portrait of a brooding goon, however the techniques and blunt force of the film make you come back for more. Watch it before the Pacino remake and see what you think. They are excellent representatives of Hollywood storytelling then and now. Keep an eye out for a svelte Boris Karloff in civilian clothing (a rarity) as a sinister enemy of the scarred one. He rolls quite a memorable strike in a bowling alley. A masterpiece of character, story, mood, and bullets flying.<br/><br/>RATING: 10 of 10

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