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, and 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. 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... Written by
Screenwriter Ben Hecht got producer Howard Hughes to green-light the film by telling him it would be a modern-dress version of the lives of the Borgias. See more »
In the alternate ending, Tony is sentenced to hang December 10, 1931. The method of execution in Illinois in 1931 was electrocution. The last judicial hanging in Illinois occurred in 1928. See more »
Ah, he ain't so tough. Hanging out in a flower shop. You afraid of a guy like that?
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"This picture is an indictment of gang rule in America and of the callous indifference of the government to this constantly increasing menace to our safety and our liberty. Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government: "What are you going to do about it?". The government is your government. What are YOU going to do about it? See more »
Howard Hawks directs this harsh and frank and sometimes humorous look at a small time gangster's(Paul Muni) taste of success before his mob world crumbles around him. This is one of the best gangster movies of the 1930's. Very well written and full of terrific characters. Fast paced and free flowing story line.
My favorite scene is when the Muni character first gets his hands on a machine gun. This arrogant, violence driven mobster becomes child like with a brand new toy. Others in this fine crime drama are Osgood Perkins, George Raft, Ann Dvorak, Boris Karloff and C. Henry Gordon. Also notable are Karen Morley and Edwin Maxwell as the Chief of Detectives.
Ambition, greed and pride come before a fall. The mob way or no way is a tough way to live. Excellent flick.
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