Scarface (1932)

Scarface (1932)

Directed by Howard Hawks (Sergeant York (1941)) with a Ben Hecht (Underworld (1927)) screenplay this infamous gangster film was co-produced (with the director) by Howard Hughes. Neither took an on-screen credit due to the controversial nature of the film which was released without the censor’s approval with the subtitle “the Shame of the Nation”. It stars Paul Muni as a Capone-like hood who works his way up through the ranks creating havoc and terror in the city. Initially just the heavy for Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins) Muni’s Tony Camonte character goes after his boss’s gal Poppy (Karen Morley) first and then his job. Then Tony’s coin flipping second in command (George Raft) begins a clandestine affair with Tony’s sister (Ann Dvorak) with tragic results. Boris Karloff plays a rival gang leader who secures a shipment of machine guns Tony finds useful and C. Henry Gordon is the top cop while Vince Barnett plays a goofy gopher (“go for this go for that”) for Camonte. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1994.

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