Scarface (1932) starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, George Raft, Boris Karloff
Regarded the best of the classic gangster films, Scarface tells the story of organized crime’s brutal control over Chicago during Prohibition
Tony Camonte: 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.
Johnny Lovo rises to the head of the bootlegging crime syndicate on the south side of Chicago following the murder of former head, Big Louis Costillo. Johnny contracted Big Louis’ bodyguard, Tony Camonte, to make the hit on his boss. Tony becomes Johnny’s second in command. Johnny is not averse to killing anyone who gets in his and Johnny’s way. As Tony is thinking bigger than Johnny and is not afraid of anyone or anything, Tony increasingly makes decisions on his own instead of following Johnny’s orders, especially in not treading on the north side run by an Irish gang led by a man named O’Hara, of whom Johnny is afraid. Tony’s murder spree increases, he taking out anyone who stands in his and Johnny’s way of absolute control on the south side, and in Tony’s view absolute control of the entire city.
But Tony’s actions place an unspoken strain between Tony and Johnny to the point of the two knowing that they can’t exist in their idealized world with the other. Tony’s ultimate downfall may be one of two women in his life: Poppy, Johnny’s girlfriend to who Tony is attracted; and Tony’s eighteen year old sister, Cesca, who is self-professed to be older mentally than her years much to Tony’s chagrin, he who will do anything to protect her innocence. Cesca ultimately comes to the realization that she is a lot more similar to her brother than she first imagined.
Chief of detectives: Colorful? What color is a crawling louse? Say, listen, that’s the attitude of too many morons in this country. They think these hoodlums are some sort of demigods. What do they do about a guy like Camonte? They sentimentalize, romance, make jokes about him. They had some excuse to glorify our old Western bad men. They met in the middle of the street at high noon and waited for each other to draw. But these things sneak up and shoot a guy in the back and then run away. Colorful. Did you read what happened the other day? A car full of them chasing another down the street, broad daylight. Three kiddies playing hopscotch on the sidewalk get lead poured in their little bellies. When I think what goes on in the minds of these lice, I wanna vomit.
Cast of Characters
- Paul Muni (Angel on my Shoulder) … Tony
- Ann Dvorak (Merrify We Live) … Cesca
- Karen Morley … Poppy
- Osgood Perkins (I Dream Too Much) … Lovo
- C. Henry Gordon (Conquest) … Guarino
- George Raft (Ocean’s 11) … Rinaldo
- Vince Barnett (The Corpse Vanishes) … Angelo
- Boris Karloff (Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome) … Gaffney
- Purnell Pratt (Grand Hotel) … Publisher
- Tully Marshall (Night of Terror) … Managing Editor
- Inez Palange (Monster from the Ocean Floor) … Tony’s Mother
- Edwin Maxwell (Mystery of the Wax Museum) … Detective Chief