Although this documentary is very short, and thus not very in-depth, it does raise two interesting points.
One, apparently there were only two ways to talk in early films -- with excellent English, or like a gangster. And gangsters talked the way regular people talked. This suggests that it was the people talking correctly who were strange and the gangsters who were actually a good reflection of society. Oh?
And two, the question is raised: did the movies imitate gangsters, or did the gangsters imitate movies? Of course, the correct answer is both. Gangsters who grew up with gangster movies would surely emulate their heroes and borrow the language, and to some degree the films had to be based on real people and events. As for the origins of such terms as "stool pigeons" and "pine overcoats", the answer is never really explored here. Unfortunately.
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