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Al Capone (1959)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  25 March 1959 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 975 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 9 critic

This factual biography of gang lord Al Capone follows his rise and fall in Chicago gangdom during the Prohibition era.

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Title: Al Capone (1959)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Maureen Flannery
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Sg.t Schaefler
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Mac Keeley
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Murvyn Vye ...
Robert Gist ...
Lewis Charles ...
Joe De Santis ...
Sandy Kenyon ...
Bones Corelli
...
Lawyer Brancato
...
Tony Genaro
Louis Quinn ...
Joe Lorenzo
Ron Soble ...
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lain ja oikeuden voitto  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Balsam's character, Mac Keeley, was based on a real-life Chicago Tribune reporter named Jake Lingle. Lingle, a "legman" who ran down gang-related stories for the paper, had close ties to Al Capone and other gangsters as well as the notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Department, and he was well-paid by both mobsters and a police commissioner as a "go-between." Lingle was gunned down on June 9, 1930, much as depicted in the movie, after "getting too big for his hat", as Capone put it, and demanding too much for his services (though a Capone rival likely paid for the hit). Apparently legal concerns prevented the producers of this film from using Lingle's name. However, just a few months after this film was released, the TV series The Untouchables (1959) told Lingle's story in its third episode and used his actual name. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's Not Me, It's Him (1980) 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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