Sunday, August 22, 2010


Directed by: HOWARD HAWKS
1932, TSPDT Rank #453

The original Scarface is a classic, quintessential gangster movie and, despite what some might think, not as good as the remake. This film is no-nonsense, gritty, and exciting - getting into the same basic storyline and themes looked at in Brian de Palma and Oliver Stone's overdone and way too complicated '80s remake. Granted, Pacino's role in that movie is iconic and great, but his character isn't so much a true American gangster as a political refuge looking for some sort of liberation or freedom. Paul Muni plays Tony Camonte with a sharp edge and: a totally convincing killer, who had all sorts of hang-ups (the same sister obsession featured in the remake is done much better here), and lived the gangster lifestyle to the fullest. This is definitely a pre-code film, with rampant violence (just as shocking to audiences in the '30s as the remake was in the '80s, for sure), and that long-lost method of witty sexual innuendo (which is what basically all that Trouble in Paradise, another pre-code film, consists of). So maybe you just can't let go of that chainsaw scene in the remake, or the ending battle (pretty cool, admittedly), but look to this original for the real deal.

(Rating: 9/10)

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