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The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, History | 30 June 1967 (USA)
Al Capone's Valentine Day surprise for the rival Bugs Moran gang in 1929 Chicago.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Myrtle
Clint Ritchie ...
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Nick Sorello
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Albert Wienshank
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John Scalise
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Frank Gusenberg
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Johnny May
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Jake 'Greasy Thumb' Guzik (as Joseph Turkel)
Milton Frome ...
Adam Heyer
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Storyline

Chicago February 14th 1929. Al Capone finally establishes himself as the city's boss of organised crime. In a north-side garage his hoods, dressed as policemen, surprise and mow down with machine-guns the key members of Bugs Moran's rival gang. The film traces the history of the incident, and the lives affected and in some cases ended by it. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The shocking truth about events leading up to one of the most violent days in American history! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 June 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le massacre de la Saint-Valentin  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(DeLuxe)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles was originally picked by director Roger Corman to play Al Capone, while Jason Robards was to play George Moran ("Bugs" Moran). Welles was willing, but Fox vetoed the deal, feeling Welles was "undirectable". Robards took over the role of Capone and Ralph Meeker was brought in to play Moran. See more »

Goofs

The opening credits show the SMC Cartage Company situated on 2122 N Clark Street, with Clark Street ending at a T intersection about a block away. Clark Street is actually a through street running from south of the Loop to the northern city limits. See more »

Quotes

Reporter: Y'know some are sayin' that it really was the cops who shot those men.
Bugs Moran: You must be new to this town, mister. Only Al Capone kills like that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonder Years: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like Fine Wine, Roger Corman's ST. VALENTINE's DAY MASSACRE Has Gotten Better With Age! (of Course, So Have We, Right?)
26 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Chicago, Prohibition, Gangsters, Machine Guns and Hollywood have long been inseparable companions ever since the real Prohibition Era was loosed upon us. Starting with James Cagney in THE PUBLIC ENEMY(1931), LITTLE CEASAR(1931) and SCARFACE(1932) are each powerful films that fit these qualifications like a proverbial glove. Each meets the individual criterion and tell their stories in somewhat different ways of story telling.They each use the point of view of the title characters.

And so that's the way it was, back in the day! And of course there have been revivals of this particular topic and Genre every so often. Hence we have been treated to The Prohibition/Depression Era Gangster films like ROGER TOUHY,GANSTER(1944)*, AL CAPONE and THE PURPLE GANG(both 1959), THE GODFATHER(s), I,II & III(1972,'73, '90) and soon and so forth, down thru the ages.

And of course on TV we had THE LAWLESS YEARS(1959-61) and of course, last but hardly the least,THE UNTOUCHABLES(1959-63)to give further lore to the celluloid underworld. It is probably likely that we'll always have some of these Gangster Soap Operas every so often.

As for this ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE, we must say we saw it at the old Double Drive-In on the Southwest Highway in Chicago when it was in newly released/first run status. We saw it again, recently on cable TV, on Turner Classic Films or Fox Movie Channel. It might sound peculiar, but did you ever hear of a movie getting better? Let me explain.

The original viewing was done by a 20 year old, still wet behind the ears kid, who just viewed any movie as another entertainment to be viewed, (devoured-up, if you will) and forgotten. There was really no sense of a "Medium" or being "An Art Form". With age of course, is supposed to come wisdom, or at least a little experience under one's belt.

After a period of nearly 40 years has passed, this writer has found himself to be not a'movie fan',but rather a 'film buff'. The big difference is in the viewing over the years and,more importantly,all of the reading of film books and periodicals containing the history and background information.

As for the title in question, THE ST. VALENTINE's DAY MASSACRE, well I can't say that it was every bit as good when viewed now as it was then. No, because it is even better! The movie was Produced and Directed by Mr. Roger Corman. Now the brain (mine, for what it's worth) takes one name of The Director/Producer and adds it to the venue of a Drive-In Movie Theatre and it computes to a cheapie, a grade "B" film at best. And to be honest, until just recently, I had thought that this movie was a product of the ever popular, Amerkican-Interntional Pictures. After all, that's where Roger Corman used to hang his hat.

This 20th Century-Fox production is really a well done movie, deserving of a new respect and frequent showings.** The costuming, the autos and the sets are all very good and approximate the real locales in Chicago and nearby suburban Cicero, Illinois. The mock up of the famous and infamous Garage on North Wells Street has a very authentic look to it. Even the type of apartment building used by the conspirators is a Chicago-type building, of which there are still thousands of the yet in use there today.

Mr. Corman pursues a form of the Docudrama to a large degree, in unveiling the story. The voice over narration gives us, the viewers the benefit of all that has been learned since then. Also, we have the information of the official Police Investigation now available for the Public Record.In this we have many conclusions that have been made, but not proved, sort of educated guesses.

The story starts out giving the viewer a great deal of background info about the state of Chicago's Underworld at that time in the late 1920's We are privy to the old Northside, Southside, Westside rivalries that the various Gangs were involved in. The previously mentioned Narrator, Voice Actor Par Excellance, Paul Frees, is very busy from beginning to end in supplying us with factual material about the criminal careers of the peoples involved.

As a historical fact we observe the Gangland Killings of Northside Big Shot Hoods Dion O'Bannion(Chicasgo Native John Agar)and Hymie Weiss (Reed Hadley) and the continued battling over territories. Mr.Corman also includes a seemingly fantastic, but factual raid by the Northside Mob on Capone Gang Headquarters. A really large number of autos, replete with multiple Thompson Sub-Machine Guns attacked the favourite watering hole of the Scarface Mob. They failed to kill Capone or anyone of the gang, in spite of perhaps thousands of rounds of that super fast .45 caliber disbursement at the intended target.

Like any Hollywood treatment of a story taken from real life occurrences, there is a lot of filling in gaps and causes of these incidents. The unknown aspects of the people involved and their behaviour is also subject to guess work, albeit an enlightened, educated guess at that. Whatever was known about the characters in question was used as guidelines for molding on-screen persona.

One last time, please take a new look at it. On Cable/Satellite, in VHS or DVD, Purchase or Rental, make an evening with THE ST. VALENTINE's DAY MASSACRE.

* The real Roger Touhy, a Prohibition Era Gangster Headquartered in Northwest Suburban Des Plaines, Illinois sued 20th Century-Fox over this largely fabricated story. Hint To Hollywood: A realistic Roger Touhy story really would make a great film! Check on it!

** Maybe my own fair city, Chicago, is missing the boat on this one! After all, why can't we have a Yearly Massacre Fest? It could be a rival to events all around the country such as: The Kentucky Derby, Mardi Gras, Sadie Hawkins Day or even The Bull Frog Leaping Contest of Calaveras County.


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