A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.
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
First major film credit for 'George Raft' , who didn't have to go far for inspiration on how to play a gangster in this film. He grew up in a New York City slum alongside gangsters 'Bugsy Siegel' , 'Meyer Lansky (I)' , 'Joe Adonis' and 'Lucky Luciano (I)'. In an ironic twist, after the release of "Scarface", many of Raft's gangster pals would come to him for advice on how to dress, walk, talk, etc. See more »
The scene Tony pushes and punches the man who refuses to obey Johnny Lovo in First Ward Social Club, it's clearly seen that Tony actually punches the man's palm. See more »
"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 »
Due to censorship requirements in several states, a second ending was shot after the film was finished, in which Camonte doesn't try an escape, but is sentenced to death and finally executed on the gallows. This alternate ending was shown only during the original 1932 theatrical run in certain states. All prints, home video, and television versions in current circulation use director Howard Hawks' ending, in which Camonte tries to escape and is shot down. The DVD includes the alternate ending as a bonus feature. See more »
One of the first talking gangster films and a cinematic landmark
This film is based on real events that happened in the criminal career of Al Capone, although Capone's criminal career had already ended with his conviction on charges of tax evasion six months before this film was released in April 1932. You know you're watching a Howard Hughes production when, during the first scene, a bar employee is sweeping up after a party held by one of Chicago's big gangsters and finds a bra among the confetti. The film shares some aspects with its gangster film predecessors - Tony Camonte is motivated by a desire for power just as Edward G. Robinson's Rico was in "Little Caesar", and also like Rico takes over the gang from a boss he perceives as weak. However, Camonte doesn't seem to have the pent-up rage of Public Enemy's Tom Powers. When Tony performs acts of violence it is usually related to gangland business. The actual deaths are strictly business, but the execution of the killings themselves are something Tony takes pride in - a sort of work of art on his part.
Like Tom Powers, Tony Camonte is given a family background, but unlike Tom Powers, Camonte's family is a completely dysfunctional one. What is unique in this gangster picture is Tony's trio of love interests. He wants his boss' girl, Poppy, as a status symbol. He also seems to have a love affair going with the machine gun, acting like he has discovered America the first time he shoots one. Finally, Tony is in love with his own sister Cesca. Tony's only true fits of rage occur when he sees her with another man, and it is this loss of emotional control over this one issue that is ultimately his downfall. George Raft, an ex-gangster of sorts himself, is terrific as the smart and level-headed Guino Rinaldo, Tony's right-hand man. Finally there is Vince Barnett as Tony's extremely inadequate secretary in a bit of comic relief turned tragic at the end of the film.
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