Stool Pigeons and Pine Overcoats: The Language of Gangster Films (2006)

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Credited cast:
Drew Casper
Larry Cohen
Haden Guest
Patricia King Hanson
Lincoln Hurst
Rick Jewell
Eric Lax
Nicholas Pileggi


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Documentary | Short





Release Date:

18 September 2006 (USA)  »

Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)

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This short documentary is included on the DVD of EACH DAWN I DIE, part of the 2006 Warner Home Video DVD release "The Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection". See more »

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They Were Just 'Regular Guys,' See?
3 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary mainly points out the difference between the "haves" and the "have-nots," how gangsters in these 1930s films talked in a more realistic way than most of the other characters in films of that decade, meaning the "rich men sounded English and snooty."

This also is a tribute to James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart and George Raft, four guys who "talked like normal people" and were men that the public could relate to "because they talked liked us," according to people interviewed in this documentary. Cagney, it seems, has the most fans.

These 1930 gangsters were a shock to the audiences because they guys talked so differently than the refined, fake-sounding accents and dialogs that so many actors used in so many of the other films.

I am repeating some of this but that's what the documentary does, too, emphasizing a similar point but expressing it in different, with different people. You get film historians, critics and modern-day actors (i.e. Michael Madsen, Theresa Russell, Talia Shire) all comment about how these old-time guys (and women) sounded. The consensus is the same: everyone related to them and loved 'em.

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