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One of the most influential movies of all time, the original Scarface is an exciting story of organized crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Academy Award winner Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Camonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss. Produced by the legendary Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, this compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and revenge is a groundbreaking masterpiece that influenced all gangster films to follow. Filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship shaped the way movies were made, "this powerful gangster film is the most potent of the 1930s" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide).
Howard Hawks's Scarface was one of the first "talkies" to reclaim the fluidity of the late-silent masterpieces, while also tapping into a feral new energy that came with talking smart and moving smarter on the motion picture screen. Outgunning such contemporaries as Little Caesar and The Public Enemy--in terms of both its ferocious death-dealing and dynamic style--the movie was interfered with by censors and kept out of circulation for decades thanks to its eccentric producer, Howard Hughes. It remains the gold standard among classic gangster pictures. Paul Muni's portrayal of Al Capone surrogate Tony Camonte etched a screen original: a merciless assassin who's not only reflexively criminal but pre-civilized, almost pre-evolutionary, a simian shadow ready to rub out the world if he can't have it for his own. This is still one of the greatest, darkest, most deeply exciting films American cinema has produced. Those demonically ubiquitous X's--starting with that titular scar gouged into Tony's cheek--rival "Rosebud" for resonance. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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 liberty.
Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurrence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government:
`What are you going to do about it?'"
The above is printed on the screen at the beginning of this realistic movie based on Armitage Trail's 1929 novel "Scarface."
This movie is loosely based on the life of Al Capone (1899 to 1947) whose nickname was "Scarface." It was filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship (even though there was attempted censorship that delayed this movie's release by almost a year.)
It stars Paul Muni (1895 to 1967) who gives an electrifying performance as well as George Raft (1901 to 1980). (This movie launched Raft's career as a leading man.) Even horror icon Boris Karloff (1887 to 1969) has a small role.
It was produced by billionaire Howard Hughes Jr. and the legendary Howard Hawks (who also directed).
The first Howard Hughes movie I ever saw was "Hell's Angels." I was surprisingly impressed by this movie and equally impressed by `Scarface."
Note that a version of the "St. Valentine's day massacre" (1929) is also shown in this movie.
Note also that an "X" motif is used throughout this film. It appears many times (but not all) when a death is portrayed.
In 1994, this movie was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
There are no blemishes or other distracted artifacts onscreen.Read more ›
Tony Camonte (Muni) is brutal, arrogant, stupid, and, dare I say, ape-like. He is a killer who revels in gaudy clothes and fast cars. But Tony is also insanely jealous of his slinky sister (Ann Dvorak), to the point where his feelings toward her are obliquely incestuous. Sick of working for middle level gangsters, Tony sets out to make a name for himself written in the (unseen!) blood of his enemies (including rival gangster, Boris Karloff!). Tony's boss Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins) not only has the power that Tony desires....but also the woman he wants, Poppy (Karen Morley). Among the film's inventiveness, a visual X motif appears throughout to signal that a murder is imminent. The X symbol takes such prolific forms as shadows, gown straps, wooden cross-beams, a facial scar, and a strike symbol on a bowling score sheet.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Prior to purchasing this, I've heard of its existence and through the years, many have referred to this movie as pivotal and influential to the mobster/mafia movie genre. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2013 by Amazon Customer
i find it amazing to think of all of those scarface fans out there that haven't heard of or haven't seen the original. Read morePublished on May 13 2004 by B. Fitzgerald
Paul Muni the greatest character actor of all time. Paul never liked film acting, he loved the stage. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2003 by Kevin
Howard Hawk's Scarface will always stand as the epitome of the early 1930's gangster film. The early talkie stars Paul Muni as Tony Camonte loosely based on the real life Al... Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003 by Bryan A. Pfleeger
"Scarface", belongs to the trio of classic gangster films with "Public Enemy", and "Little Caesar", of the early thirties that defined forever what a gangster or crime tale should... Read morePublished on May 18 2003 by Simon Davis
One of the greatest (if not THE greatest) gangster films of all time, Scarface outdistances the 80's remake as surely as Van Sant's PSYCHO is outshined by its predecessor. Read morePublished on April 3 2003 by Edward M. Erdelac
The life and death of a Chicago gangster in the twenties. Famous for it's silvery cinematography by Lee Garmes and it's unique stylish touches by director Howard Hawks, SCARFACE... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2002
Crazysexycool is the best way I can describe Paul Muni's character in Scarface. Muni,as always is excellent. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by S. M. Rhyne