Archive for September 7, 2014

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1932 – Scarface

Yeah, boy. This one works out for me because I get an iconic film (somehow remade into an even more iconic film. Which makes me believe there’s another iconic remake in there somehow if they can hit the right notes. Which… this being Hollywood… they won’t), and I get to talk about pre-Code Hollywood, which is an amazing time period. Sure, it’s more glamorous sounding than it actually was, and it’s not as crazy as you’d think, but when you place it in context, knowing what movies post-Code looked like, it’s actually quite provocative. Hollywood wouldn’t reach those levels of openness for another 30 years after this.

But anyway, it’s Scarface. People know the story. Criminal works his way from the bottom to the top. Meteoric rise. Weird sister relationship. The World Is Yours. Each version is very different. This one is a gangster picture, directed by Howard Hawks. It’s very of its era. Very notable for Paul Muni’s charismatic performance, the stark use of violence, and Hawks’ use of X’s in the frame to represent whenever someone was going to get killed. (Scorsese used this in The Departed as well, which I’m sure everyone knows. It’s pretty well-known, as far as trivia goes.)

But what I really want to talk about here, as I said, is pre-Code Hollywood, which was a fun place to be. (more…)


Pic of the Day: “Listen, Little Boy, in this business there’s only one law you gotta follow to keep out of trouble: Do it first, do it yourself, and keep on doing it.”

Scarface (1932) - 24