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Al Capone (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 25 March 1959 (USA)
This factual biography of gang lord Al Capone follows his rise and fall in Chicago gangdom during the Prohibition era.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Maureen Flannery
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Sgt. Schaefler
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Mac Keeley
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Robert Gist ...
Lewis Charles ...
Joe De Santis ...
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Bones Corelli
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Lawyer Brancato
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Tony Genaro
Louis Quinn ...
Joe Lorenzo
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John Scalisi
Steve Gravers ...
Albert Anselmi
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Storyline

In this unusually accurate biography, small-time hood Al Capone comes to Chicago at the dawn of Prohibition to be the bodyguard of racketeer Johnny Torrio. Capone's rise in Chicago gangdom is followed through murder, extortion, and political fraud. He becomes head of Chicago's biggest "business," but moves inexorably toward his downfall and ignominious end. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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His True Shocking Story...Filmed with Bullet Force! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 March 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lain ja oikeuden voitto  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Al Capone died of advanced syphilis which had become neurosyphilis. Due to the production code in effect at the time, the narrator (James Gregory) attributes Capone's death to an "incurable disease". See more »

Connections

Edited into The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Down Memory Lane
13 April 2003 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This 1959 picture is yet another cinematic retelling of the life of mobster Al Capone, and is better than most I've seen. Rod Steiger as Big Al seems miscast at first but wins me over in the end. Steiger was a born ham, but a fine actor for all his Methodish mannerisms, and has moments in the movie in which he's almost hypnotically effective. Yes, it's a performance, I kept on telling myself, but so was Capone himself. Over the top, perhaps, but Capone was himself more than a little touched, and Steiger nails this aspect of Capone to perfection, and is more effective in capturing the big guy's capriciousness than Robinson or Muni before him. Steiger's Capone isn't merely a gangster, he's a man possessed.

Director Richard Wilson's keeps this fairly modestly budgeted film moving at a fast pace, and it's never boring. In supporting roles, Fay Spain, Martin Balasm, James Gregory and Nehemiah Persoff are all effective. The black and white of this film evokes the late fifties more than the roaring twenties, and the movie at times feels a little like an episode of The Untouchables, at other times like Some Like It Hot. The Jazz Age was itself hot as the Eisenhower era was drawing to a close. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels were coming back into vogue. O'Neill revivals on and off-Broadway were becoming commonplace. Al Capone captures this nostalgic mood, but really makes me nostalgic for the fifties more than for the twenties, for a time when fairly recent history could still be viewed as larger than life, the stuff of serious art and contemplation, not just fashionable nostalgia. Al Capone the movie is more nostalgia than serious art, but it touches on important issues, concerning violence, friendship, the role of government and the press as they pertain to and often collude with the criminal element, that still resonate today.


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