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 one of two women in his life: Poppy, Johnny’s girlfriend to who Tony is attracted; and Tony’s eighteen year old sister, Cesca, who is self-professed to be older mentally than her years much to Tony’s chagrin, he who will do anything to protect her innocence. Cesca ultimately comes to the realization that she is a lot more similar to her brother than she first imagined.

Also Known As: The Shame of a Nation, Narbengesicht, Scarface, el terror del hampa, Yüzü Damgalı Adam, Zjizvená tvár Czech, Scarface, Cara cortada, Лицо со шрамом Soviet, Scarface, the Shame of the Nation, Scarface - Lo sfregiato, A sebhelyes arcú, Scarface - Chicagos siste gangster, Scarface: A Vergonha de uma Nação, Arpinaama, Scarface: Cara cortada, Der Mann mit der Narbe, Czlowiek z blizna, Scarface, o Homem da Cicatriz, Лице с белег, Σκάρφεϊς

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  • ines-dinis-nunes
    ines dinis nunes

    This original version of Scarface, gratuitous disclaimers and all, is a great film for its time due to Howard Hawks’s witty, mile-a-minute style which produces great moments like a man being shot in a bowling alley, the camera indifferently following his bowling ball down the lane where it makes a strike. Big Louis Costillo, last of the old-style gang leaders is slain, and his former bodyguard is taken into custody. He is Tony Camonte, given so much engrossing dimension and profound distinctions which make him memorable, everything from the true lack of any redeeming values in him as a character to how his sweaty, greasy bowl haircut swings to one side when he’s pumping a machine gun. Since Costillo’s body has never been discovered, the police have to release him. Tony begins taking over the rackets in town with murderous, bullet- pilfered insistence, and he becomes a danger to the other bosses unless they work for him. In the meantime, Tony’s sister wants to be more independent and a life of her own, but finds herself smothered and victimized by her brother’s jealous and controlling hold. The frustration of the other bosses and the unyielding pursuit of the police push Tony towards a major confrontation.Hawks’s kinesis makes this film what it is. The manner of telling the story is very much like a 93-minute montage of speeding cars, the endless sound of machine gun fire, and arguing police and politicians. There are countless moments of terrific film-making even by today’s standards, such as when Tony and George Raft’s Rinaldo, Tony’s quiet and loyal sidekick, while in a restaurant being destroyed by machine guns from the street, are so indifferent to the violence that they begin talking about the Tommy gun Tony picks up from a dead shooter and what a neat gun it is.After having watched Little Caesar, I see just how much more capable a good filmmaker was in the early days of talking pictures. Perhaps one always has to take a 1930s movie into consideration due to its time, as it is inevitably very dated. Nonetheless, Scarface is worthy of frequent viewings.

  • heidi-ruud
    heidi ruud

    Scarface is a great early classic of gangster genre. This is probably the most controversial, most brutal and most violent gangster film in the early thirties of the last century. The film is thematically quite clear and represents the beginning, the rise and fall of a gangster leader. If I looked deeper, maybe I made some links with Al Capone. I’ll keep this explanation vague and distant. The inspiration for the script is obvious. The streets of Chicago during Prohibition and accounts of criminal leader.Hawks obviously had the courage to do such a good movie and certainly a lot of money to be faced with censorship. Scarface is extremely fast and exciting movie. No, it is not surprising that at times breathtaking. The amount of explicit violence and depravity of the characters in these years is perhaps counterproductive. However, any other scenario would guarantee an average result. I am glad that the Hawks did not agree with that.Paul Muni (Tony Camonte) is raw, violent, hasty, and at the same time and calculating the main character. Perversity is best seen through a latent homosexual and incestuous relationship with best friend and sister. Tony is crazy and stupid at the same time. Muni was fantastic.Karen Morley (Poppy), Osgood Perkins (Johnny Lovo) and George Raft (Guino Reinaldo) are solid. C. Henry Gordon (Ins. Ben Guarino) and Boris Karloff (Gaffney) are in small roles excellent. Vince Barnett as Angelo is a special character credited with black humor and a bit of relaxation for all of us who watch the movie. Excellent fit in the atmosphere.Ann Dvorak (Francesca Camonte). Cesca is a female character required all films of this genre in the early thirties. Powerful and very well acted female protagonist. When actress in addition to the ubiquitous Muni wins space in the film it is the essence of which is sought. Scarface is rightly a classic and one of the most influential films of the genre.

  • fernanda-farias
    fernanda farias

    I had no idea that this movie was considered the original to Al Pacino’s version. I was thoroughly impressed throughout the film regarding how dark the movie was. Made during the “Pre-Code” era I can only imagine how the film was taken in by general audiences of the time. This was film was one of my first introductions to films in the 30’s and I was not disappointed. The parallels between this film and Pacino’s were unmistakable. Everything ranging from the main characters lust for power and violent ending he receives to being the over protective big brother of young sister made the great. I can only guess that it was the fore-runner to all major gangster films to follow. Overall I would definitely recommend this film.

  • silvija-zalitis
    silvija zalitis

    A friend of mine was so incensed when he told me that the Al Pacino film Scarface was contemplating to be remade. ‘Why do they want to spoil the classics?’I told him that the the 1983 version that he loves so much was a remake!Howard Hawks 1932 original is a pre Hays code version based on mobsters in Chicago at the time. Tony ‘Scarface’ Camonte (Paul Muni) is a bodyguard for a bootlegger Big Louis Costillo who he kills. The ambitious Tony wants a piece of the action, a step up the ladder and joins up with another mobster, Johnny Lovo who arranged the hit and got Tony out of police custody.This is the beginning of the gang wars in Chicago as Lovo expands his operation, Tony who is more aggressive in taking out his rivals is aided by his coin flipping sidekick Guino Rinaldo (George Raft.)Tony is attracted by Lovo’s dame Poppy (Karen Morley) and plans to one day bump off Lovo. After all Tony thinks the world is his and there for the taking. However he also has an almost incestous obsession with his sister, the floozy Cesca who herself is attracted to Guino.This is a violent gangster film, with some grisly dark humour. There is a tabloid feel to this picture. It starts of with some moralising that the government is doing nothing to stop the gang warfare, there is talk at one point of deporting these thugs, they are not even American citizens.I was rather taken aback with how strong the violent action scenes would be for the audience of the time. Tony loves firing that machine gun. The film rattles along at quite a pace and yet also feels strangely offbeat.It is noticeable how much of the fundamental story is later used by Brian De Palma for his updated version.

  • ryan-nichols
    ryan nichols

    I just watched “Scarface” for the 3rd or 4th time, and was surprised to find out that I no longer find it utterly perfect. Vince Barnett’s vaudevillian comic bits are too long, and the constant underscoring of the film’s anti-violence “message” is awkward. But I still think the film has a lot of great things in it, and I would definitely recommend it. As everyone else mentioned, Paul Muni is excellent as dopey gangster Tony Camonte, and this time I was knocked out by Karen Morley’s performance as a no-nonsense moll; I hope I can find some other films of hers. I’m not sure the movie works as the anti-violence film it claims to be: Although Tony Camonte has a lot of faults, the non-gangster characters are mostly undeveloped and dull, if not downright problematic, like the police inspector who apparently likes to beat up arrestees. Edwin Maxwell’s tough-talking Chief of Detectives has the right idea about the “lice” who shoot innocent bystanders during their crime sprees, but his character is a bit too one-note to compete with Paul Muni and George Raft. In fact, I think George Raft’s character is subtly made into the hero of the film, despite all the illegal things he does. Interestingly, the film is probably just as violent as many modern pictures–there are an awful lot of gunshot victims–but because it’s in black and white, and each killing goes by quickly, audiences of today might find it rather tame. But Hawks makes excellent use of sound to try and convey the horror of some of the crimes: a woman screams chillingly, a dog barks in the distance. Did this film help rouse the public against Prohibition-era gangsters, or did it just continue the public’s romance with them?

  • francisco-casarez
    francisco casarez

    As far as gangster movies go, “Scarface”, together with “Little Caesar”, and “Public Enemy” are at the top of the best of this genre. Director Howard Hawks showed a tremendous courage in getting involved in this project. which had the subtitle “Shame of a Nation”, when it was first released. Ben Hecht, one of the best screen writers of all times shows why he was a genius the way his screen play unfolds on the screen. It also help to have had Lee Garmes, one of the best cinematographers of the time placing his cameras at angles that enhance the film in unexpected and original ways.This is the story that follows the rise and fall of Tony Camonte, who loosely resembled Al Capone in the story. Tony Camonte, a poor kid from Chicago had the ambition and the wherewithal to go far, as he proves in the story. Tony, in addition, was ruthless to his enemies. His lucky break comes in the person of Johnny Lovo, a higher up in the crime family of the “Roaring 20s”. Tony, who has an eye for Johnny’s paramour, Poppy, was a man that clearly understood what to do to make it in the underworld.It’s interesting to watch how Howard Hawks inserts the symbolism in the letter X, as Tony and his men keep on eliminating the opposing factions. Tony’s sister, Cesca, gets involved with his right hand man, Guino Rinaldo. The deception proved to be too much for Camonte. The film served, perhaps, as a cautionary tale to an impoverish nation that was going through that black period of its history during The Great Depression.Paul Muni, an actor that came from the theater, tended to overact in much of his work. This side of him served to emphasize that Tony was an awkward man without much sophistication. George Raft, another actor who played enough gangsters during his career, makes a wonderful contribution to the success of the film playing most of his scenes opposite Paul Muni. Ann Dvorak is seen as the rebellious Cesca, who fell in love with Guino Rinaldo in one of her best roles. Oswood Perkins plays Johnny Lovo with his usual style. Boris Karloff has some good opportunities with his Gaffney, Tony Camonte’s rival. Karen Morley, C. Henry Barnett, and the rest of the cast do excellent work for Mr. Hawks.”Scarface” is a classic movie that shows a great director, Howard Hawks, at his best. The remake by Brian DePalma pales in comparison with this enormously entertaining film.

  • dott-matilde-farina
    dott matilde farina

    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.

  • jose-ignacio-villar-esteve
    jose ignacio villar esteve

    As other have accurately pointed out, this is an unusual film for Hawks. For one thing, there really is no hero. Muni looks rather anthropoid in this movie. He seems to live in a dump and is content to let his mother and sister live in a similar dump. He throws his mother around too, the swine. There is little of the male solidarity we’ve come to expect from Hawks. Everyone in the film seems manipulative.There are a couple of other uncharacteristic features here. Some fancy editing takes place as a chattering tommy gun seems to blow away the pages of a calendar. And the later Hawks would have considered the symbolic use of all those Xs to be pretentious. (Hawks claimed he got the idea from a photo in a tabloid newspaper of a murder scene after the body had been removed, but an X was entered into the pic to denote the body’s position.) Of course many of his characters had little quirks, rubbing their noses with a finger or whatever, but they were behavioral touches rather than artifactual. After this film he seems to have given up on built-in symbolic oddities and gone with George Raft’s coin flipping instead. But, the main plot aside, Tony Camonte’s attitude towards his sister, a characteristically non-obedient babe with melanic eye rings like a panda’s, is straightforwardly covert. I’ve never been sure he knew exactly what he was doing with forbidden impulses like incest or homosexuality. I mean, the guy was from Goshen, Indiana! He didn’t know from Freud. As he once put it in an interview, “They attribute all these things to me. . . . It’s completely unconscious.” Ann Dvorak, as the sister, does a mean kootchy kootchy for Raft in the nightclub vestibule, by the way. This is definitely worth catching, although it doesn’t seem to be shown much on TV. It belongs with Little Caesar and Public Enemy as one of the films to establish an entire genre.

  • dipl-ing-sieglinde-langern-b-a
    dipl ing sieglinde langern b a

    ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Hawks’ question begins this film along with a claim that it is ‘an indictment of gang rule in America and of the callous indifference of the government’. This film is not an indictment against organized crime and crooked politicians but rather an entertaining rise and fall story of an ambitious and arrogant gangster wrapped around an impossible unrequited love for his own sister. Loosely based on the life of Al Capone, it is wanting to know when this wild cannon will get mowed down in gunfire as he continuously ups the stake to increase his power, that keeps me riveted, not the depiction of a wronged society. Pocked with symbolism and shadowy cinematography, Howard Hawks takes us right into the underworld of the gangster through the life of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni), the rough but charming gangster whose goal is to take total control of the bootleg beer business, with the help of machine guns. Realistic car chases, crashes, rat-tat-tat drive by shooting and plenty of violence are shown to us as part of this gangster’s working day. While it follows the Classical Hollywood Style and low-key lighting for the stark dark world of crime, the film runs at a steady building pace. This gangster life is exciting – it comes with girls, silk robes and fancy cars, but it is always choked with danger from enemies, a double-crossing boss to police who are keen to do final judgment on the spot. But it is this danger that increases the urgency of Tony Camonte to ‘take over the world’ and with this urgency is the chance that he will make a mistake – and we wait for this mistake. Each scene tops the last in terms of the stakes and danger. He does make a mistake and that is revealed in a slow build up with warning signs splattered as often as machine gun fire. All of his actions up to that was part of a strategy to gain complete control of the booze empire; once he crosses a sacred line, he is doomed.In the life of Scarface, we see his personal life as the only son in a poor fatherless broken home with a reproachful mother and fun loving sister whom he protects violently. We see his career life with his smart Brutus style crime. He is a keen strategist with a strong grip on reality. He can clearly spot weaknesses in his bosses and his enemies and then quickly take advantage of them. Camera close-ups to his steely looks let us know he is always on the verge of violence or a joke but you never know which. He disregards authority but recognizes the power of the gun. His strategy is made clear when he points to the machine gun in his hand ‘There is only one thing that gets orders and gives orders and this is it’. In an earlier scene he tells his right hand man Guino ‘Do it first, do it yourself and keep on doing it’. This clearly shows how he intends to go about his goal. However, what does he really want? This is symbolized in an obvious way by the neon sign for a travel agency outside his apartment window ‘ The World is Yours’ But why does he want it? This is hinted throughout the film as we jump into both his personal and ‘business’ life and spot his own weakness. Though Tony seeks the pretty girl the real girl he wants is his sister, There are several examples in the film where the relationship was less than squeaky clean – see if you can spot them, but look at the poster for this film shows Tony going for his Sister in a lecherous way with her in a skimpy dress. No sign of supposed love interest, Poppy the platinum blonde. This relationship with his sister certainly makes the movie more interesting and is a theme often copied in more difficult American showpieces such as in Arthur Miller’s play ‘ A View from the Bridge’ (1960) . The production code was not in full use until 1934 but the censors had plenty to say about the indecent relationship between the two, requesting that some scenes be reshot. His sister is quite a cookie; passionate, sexy and has designs on the opposite sex. ‘I have adult ideas’ she tells Guino.The film makes plentiful use of symbols. The X for death is used liberally, I spotted 5 scenes with the X, see how many you can find. This X seems to symbolize the fatalistic nature surrounding Tony; when he decides someone is to die, death itself comes and helps him out. Other techniques such as a man whistling every time someone is killed is copied in more recent movies like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction when Jules recites Ezekiel from the bible before killing people.The film opens with a statement of purpose as an ‘indictment’ against gangsters. But the film clearly is no such thing. There are however, several scenes where this opening statement ties in and each scene has it’s own purpose though they definitely distracts us from the ‘full’ life of the gangster we are connected to and I wonder why they are really there. The police chief, symbolizing the good solid American, elucidates what is wrong with gangsters, lawyers and politicians. The ruling-class meetings discuss the problem and decide that it is the lack of gun laws and illegal immigration that supports the gangsters. These topical issues are cited as root cause. Whether they are or not is irrelevant, what is important is that they incite public reaction. The opening statements only purpose is to get the viewer even more riled up about the film. Hawks cared less about society’s gangster problem than his film as he rejected censors requests for inclusion of changed scenes.The movie’s dark substance is complemented with humor and romance. There is a running joke throughout the film where Scar face’s secretary can’t answer the phone properly until the very end, which is funny. Sexual humor surrounds Scar face’s ambition to claim Poppy. In an early scene she is bent over with her rear to the camera and says ‘Why don’t you do it’ (in reference to sending flowers), the next shot is of him giving a protracted gaze in the direction of her butt only to be moved on by Johnny Lovo.‘What are you going to do about it?’ Well, enjoy this well made, fast paced gangster flick! A great show of tough monkeys, sultry dames and great car chases. A film about blind ambition for an impossible love.Scarface was one of Howard Hawks most famous movies and is the standard for the gangster genre, influencing future directors such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Though Scarface was not the first gangster movie, similarities and copycats followed quickly and often.

  • nevenka-pavic
    nevenka pavic

    At the start of the movie the filmmakers offer these words as a sort of preface: “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 a 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 government is your government. What are YOU going to do about it?” Having asserted some sort of moral value to their depiction of organized crime, the story proceeds. It’s the story of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni), who rises through the ranks of bootlegging and enforcing until he runs his outfit, but only after he escalates the territorial wars and ups the violence level. He supplants his boss and patron and takes his girl, Poppy (Karen Morley), and furnishes his apartment with steel shutters. His two closest companions are the quintessentially cool Rinaldo (George Raft), small, well dressed and barbered, stoical of expression, and much given to flipping a coin over and over, and the comic henchman Angelo (Vince Barnett), with his big ears, ill-fitting dandy’s hat, poor grasp of the language, and dogged loyalty. Tony also has a family, which he bullies, especially his little sister Cesca (Ann Dvorak). Boris Karloff plays a gaunt rival gang leader, Gaffney. The whole city is under siege, and in the one false note of the movie a newspaper publisher indulges in a demagogic set speech along the lines of the preface, calling for martial law if necessary. But the story must have its sad end. Cesca marries Rinaldo while Tony is out of town, and Tony, misunderstanding, shoots him. The police come down on Tony for the murder, and Cesca plans to kill him in revenge for her husband’s death, but can’t. First the loyal Angelo dies in the siege, and then Cesca, and then Tony makes a dash out the front door to die in a hail of bullets. So much of the style of the gangster ethos seems to be set here, the calm, the swagger, the maniacal edge, the long periods of quiet and the explosive violence, the edge of menace. Raft is brilliant at all this, so much so that he almost steals every scene, except that he just stands there and waits. Very cool. Chilling. Muni is brilliant too, even though the part calls for him to be a little slow on the uptake, perhaps, and practically demented in the final scenes. His goofy courtship of Poppy and the running joke about his taste for the garish and expensive shouldn’t work, but it does. And his Italianate gestures—the toss of the hair, the sardonic touching the rim of the hat, the grin and nod—all seem to be the prototype for countless later actors who follow Muni in portraying Italian criminals with style.

  • estela-prieto-valadez
    estela prieto valadez

    The name Scarface is most notably associated with the 1983 remake of the same name. That iteration raises the violence level and modernizes the film for that particular time. It’s highly acclaimed and for good reason, it’s a fine film. However, the original is no slouch either. My initial reaction to hearing about the original Scarface piqued my interest, as I was unaware there was an original. That being said, I was worried it wouldn’t have the same gritty atmosphere as the arguably more well known version. My expectations were blown out of the water. Even as an older film, the 1932 Scarface portrays a believable rise to power for an aspiring gangster, and it’s a great watch. Paul Muni’s depiction of Tony is definitely different from his 1983 counterpart, but it’s still a riveting performance. The film may not dabble in cocaine and fantastical scenes of bloody shootouts, but the tone is ever present. Visually it may seem more tame, but it has the same heart as the 1983 version, and it’s a solid film because of it. I’d argue this iteration is even better, albeit a bit dated. Even with its age, Scarface is a great film that entertains to this day.

  • rachel-jones-wilkinson
    rachel jones wilkinson

    Rat-rat-a-tat goes Hawks’s direction, opening and closing with a bang, and what’s in between is pretty sensational, too. Muni, who could be an awful ham, is just right here — slick and sexy and a little stupid, a hot-tempered paisano unable to control his ambitions or passions. The incest subplot, never overtly stated but always close to the surface, makes the movie seem startlingly modern. And the dialogue goes snap, snap, snap. The only place the movie stumbles is in a civics-lesson scene where the self-important newspaper editor spells out exactly what’s wrong with the criminal justice system of 1932 and delivers his dull speech straight to the camera, like a high school lecture. It’s the briefest of lulls in one of the most exciting early talkies, and certainly one of the greatest of all gangster flicks.

  • fatigul-corlu-safak
    fatigul corlu safak

    …And never lets go of it’s frantic pace. Howard Hawks ‘Scarface’ is an amazing product of the 30’s, a Pre-Code gangster film that broke many, many boundaries.Muni’s Tony Camonte is an ugly, ape-like figure who is supposed to represent Capone (scarred cheek and all). Camonte is psychotic, primitive, volatile and ambitious, ardently believing in a sign that beams ‘The World Is Yours’. His Napoleonic delusions and drive lead him to break more than a few vital ‘mob rules’, and he quickly goes from being the hunter to the hunted as he rises in power.The first time I viewed Muni in the role I thought he wasn’t very good at all, with over-the-top gesturing and crude attempts at psychology…then I re-watched. Now I believe that Muni’s performance is one of the best you’ll find in in the gangster/crime genre. So, why the change of heart? Well, at the time I wasn’t very exposed to early 30’s (talkie) acting styles, so I thought he was overblown. Then I realised how convincingly brutal and animalistic Muni is in the role, and I was bowled over with his skill. Needless to say, I’m a Muni fan now.This film is Pre-Code and has, to put it bluntly, a lot of sex in it. Most of the women we see in the film are prostitutes like Poppy, scantily clad tart who Muni leers over. But the most interesting sexual element is the incest angle. Muni may make a play for Poppy, but it’s blatantly obvious that it’s his kid sister Cesca, who he lusts after and truly loves. Their encounters are raw and brutal, but tinged with a steamy, very sexual element. In one encounter, Muni rips off half of Dvorak’s dress, revealing her bra, in anger and jealousy. In another, he shoots down Cesca’s lover/husband Guino Rinaldo because he believes that Guino has violated her (what Tony wishes to do to her himself?). Strong stuff.Dvorak is quite good in her role, nailing most of her scenes with an effective manner. She overacts a little, but her last scene with Muni is great. She’s also sexy. George Raft seems to be doing little more than coin-flipping in his role, and it does bug you after a while. But he has a strong screen presence despite his lack of dialogue, so he comes out of it OK. Karloff even portrays a gangster! I’m not too sure whether it comes off that good, but it’s an interesting role for him and he does get the best death sequence in the film.This is a very fast paced movie; the action never lets up. Hawks made a name for himself with this film, and his direction is a credit to the film’s success. The only thing I wonder about is the material that would have been left on the cutting room floor…Hawks is having a lot of fun here with Camonte. The film is very entertaining, and one gets the sense that the moralizing typed prologue is only half-hearted, slipped in occasionally to appease film executives who couldn’t possibly be seen to be glorifying the mafia (How times have changed- look at Penn’s 1967 effort ‘Bonnie And Clyde’).The expressionistic lighting and sets would contribute to the noir genre that took off in the 40’s.10/10.

  • kara-mccall
    kara mccall

    Action-wise, this movie was 60 years ahead of its time, at least in terms of the amount of action in it. I think it’s safe to say most classic films, including the crime movies, are much slower in pace than today’s fare. Not this one.Since they didn’t show much blood in these old films, it isn’t gory but it is action- packed with few lulls. Paul Muni, as “Tony Camonte,” the head gangster, is compelling and fun to watch. He’s tough-as-nails until the end. The women n here – Ann Dvoark and Karen Morely – are interesting, too, as is one of Muni’s sidekicks, a big dumb guy who was funny. Don’t be fooled by the billing of George Raft and Boris Karloff. They got it because they turned out to be big names later. In this film, they have very small roles.This is Muni’s show, though, all the way and few actors could ham it up in his day like him. It’s a wild ride for the full 93 minutes.p.s. To anyone misreading my opening remarks: more action doesn’t always mean more interesting. Some times it does; some times it doesn’t.

  • parowyr-zak-aryan
    parowyr zak aryan

    Paul, George and Boris get it started.Anyone who has seen the wide array of gangster films over the past 80 years will find so many images originating with this gritty tale mixing portions of Al Capone’s story with the Borgias. Viewers who know just the basics of Capone can identify most of the characters by their real-life names. This is so much more than simply the original version of the Al Pacino cult flick. Paul Muni, a brilliant and flexible actor, is the lowest of low-lifes, base and amoral with incestuous leanings. There isn’t a hint of respect for human life. There is nothing glamorous in his portrayal of Tony or in the film at all. As repellent as he is, Muni is riveting.Of huge importance in the long-range scope of crime film is George Raft’s image here. Though his Guino “Little Boy” Rinaldo is a still man with few lines, he leaves a whammy of an impression. His constant flipping of a coin – suggested by Howard Hawks – created a prototype for nearly all gangster films and spoofs to follow. It was also an inside joke in “Some Like It Hot.” Every gangster film needs a sharp-dressing wise-guy coin flipper – and you’ll even see it in softies like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Guys and Dolls” and even the weasels in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” This is where it started. When other gangster film stars got a “break-through,” it was in a starring role. Raft’s came here, as a killer and ladykiller hovering in the background with a face the camera loved like a woman. It helped that he was surrounded by plain and ugly thugs.Like the cinematic use of the X’s, Hawks used the coin flip as a signal of death. And there are a lot of deaths. Such imagery by cinematographer Lee Garmes contributes significantly to the power of this film. By the time Raft meets his stunningly restrained end, the audience has already had the warning of it telegraphed through these images. While this is a very black, violent film there is also bleak humor, such as Boris Karloff’s fate in a bowling alley. And the added scenes sternly disclaiming the adulation of such criminals can also provoke a laugh.

  • lindsay-hunter
    lindsay hunter

    According to a book about the films that Howard Hughes produced, while SCARFACE was being produced in Hollywood, the director Howard Hawkes got a visit from two rather unfriendly gentlemen. They had been sent by their employer, one Alphonse Capone of Chicago, to find out the truth that the movie Hawkes was directing was about him and his career. Hawkes assured them that it wasn’t, as everyone knew what a smart man Mr. Capone was, while the central figure in this film ended up dead. Somehow Hawkes’ reassurances worked, and the great director did not find his career ended prematurely with a “cement kimono” or a severe case of lead poisoning. How he was able to get away with this I can’t figure out. Capone was known (behind his back) as “scarface” because of a knifing scar which was given to him (and which he well earned) when he insulted the knife wielder’s sister in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn in the late teens of the 20th Century. The name of the anti-hero at the center of the film is “Tony Carmonte”, which sounds vaguely like “Capone”. He is brought to the city to bump off the old boss by Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), just like Capone was brought to Chicago by his uncle Johnny Torrio to kill Torrio’s friend and boss “Big Jim Colosimo” in 1920. Maybe various incidents are not precisely like those Capone did, but enough were left in to leave little doubt. SCARFACE is to Capone as ALL THE KING’S MEN is to Huey Long and CITIZEN KANE is to William Randolph Hearst.SCARFACE has frequently been put into a select group of gangster films that popped up between 1930 and 1932 (LITTLE CAESAR and THE PUBLIC ENEMY are the other two that are grouped with it). Each has elements of real violence in it, and it is amazing that Paul Muni, Eddie Robinson, and Jimmy Cagney all became stars from these three performances. This is not to knock their performances (they are all great ones), but the acceptance of the three stars as stars for portraying such anti-social types is incredible. My guess is the growing disillusionment of the public with federal and state and local government in the depression may have affected the audience’s low threshold of normal tolerance for the gangsters in society. Suddenly they were supermen who knew how to get things done and how to force their views on society.Muni’s performance has been likened to that of an “ape” or “gorilla” man, as his body movements are not very gentle bur forceful and all threatening. He is only capable of feeding his own desires at everyone else’s expense. Yet Muni does manage to leaven this monster’s habits. First, most of the people he deals with are little better. Lovo is not as obviously murderous as Carmonte, but he brought him to Chicago, and (until Tony starts muscling Lovo out of his center of power and his relationship with Poppy – Karen Morley) he turns very nasty. George Raft’s Rinaldo is loyal to Tony (until he romances and marries Tony’s sister Cesca – Ann Dvorak), but he is a merciless killer to all of Tony’s enemies. Tony’s habit of whistling an air from an opera before he shows his vicious streak is mirrored by Rinaldo’s now celebrated coin flipping. Vince Barnett’s Angelo is the type of low-live hanger-on that services these criminals. We tend to like Angelo because he is so stupid at times (and his death scene is a pathetically sad one) but he is not a good citizen. As for the opponents of Carmonte in the underworld, a typical one is Boris Karloff’s Gaffney (a British criminal? – possibly based on Owney Madden, the English born, New York criminal). He is not only vicious when his gang was active, but his Gaffney mirrors Carmonte when he is in hiding, trembling about being bumped off (as Tony does at the end).Tony does have some cultural pretensions (unlike Capone, who openly preferred sports like baseball and boxing). Not only his whistling habits, he also enjoys plays – we see him watching a production of RAIN by Somerset Maugham. He likes the character of Sadie Thompson and he even notes how the production keeps a steady stream of rain going on stage. But it is pure veneer. He leaves the theater to commit a murder.He also shows a degree of incestuous interest towards Cesca. It leads to a growing series of confrontations with his sister over her behavior with men (he wants her to remain pure, at home). He even kills the loyal Rinaldi before he learns the latter married Cesca. Yet it is a curious relationship – Cesca is the last loyal member of his mob, and dies for him at the end.As a study of uncontrolled brutality run amok, SCARFACE is still powerful. One might say that Muni’s performance goes over the top, with lines about allowing his machine gun to “spit”. But so did Al Pacino in the remake, introducing his enemies to “his little friend.”

  • honore-jacob-du-gomez
    honore jacob du gomez

    “Scarface” is the film of the Thirties which is most often brought up in discussions on the gangster movie… According to Hawks, he directed “Scarface” with the idea of telling the story of the Capone family as if they were the Borgias living in Chicago in the Twenties…. This may well be- true… At the time, however, there was much publicity to suggest that “Scarface” was the Capone story – which it certainly wasn’t… It was a very good, exciting gangster film, and it stands up well when viewed today, more than 70 years on… Paul Muni gave a great performance as Tony Camonte, the scarred gang-leader, but it bears little resemblance to Capone as he really was… Camonte is tough, ruthless, a handy man with a gun and – at the end – a figure hysterically afraid of death as he battles it out with police from his steel-shuttered fortress… Capone was certainly tough and ruthless, but he tried to avoid gunplay himself and employed others to do his dirty work… He was not cowardly, and he did not die in battle… “Scarface”should be seen and remembered as a film devised to exploit the Chicago of its day – and it must be remembered that Chicago gang wars made front-page banner headlines all over the world… It is the story of a battle for power between two gangster figures: Tony Camonte and Gaffney, played by Boris Karloff… A secondary plot hinges on Camonte’s strength of feeling for his sister, Cesca (Ann Dvorak), and the romance between Cesca and Camonte’s henchman, Guino Rinaldo (George Raft).Eventually Camonte kills Rinaldo in the belief that he has violated Cesca – though the pair are actually married… This is the famous scene in which Rinaldo, whose trademark throughout the picture is his constant flipping and catching of a gold coin, drops out of picture as he dies… and the coin this time falls to the floor… Gaffney, the rival gang-leader, is sometimes likened to Edward “Spike” O’Donnell, with whom Capone fought a war for control of the Chicago South Side… In the film, however, the Gaffney character is totally unlike the real Spike, who was a rough-and-ready criminal of Irish descent with a tendency towards practical jokes… He and his three brothers, Steve, Walter and Tommy, did just about everything in their time, from bank robberies to strike-breaking, with a little pick-pocketing on the side… “Spike” was a devout Catholic who attended services regularly… yet his most-quoted remark is: “When arguments fail – use a black-jack.”

  • debora-valdes-gomez
    debora valdes gomez

    One of the best directors ever makes one of the best films ever: Howard Hawks makes “Scarface”. Everything is outstanding in this masterpiece of cinema, the exciting, neatly told story of the raise and fall of Tony Camonte (Al Capone’s alter-ego). Powerful script, magnificent black and white photography, excellent camera-work, an important and courageous social message, just four years after the St. Valentine’s massacre.Great action and great psychological design of the characters are perfectly woven into the story. One brilliant, innovative idea follows another. An example is the not-shown-scene of the St. Valentine’s massacre. Another beautiful intuition: a key-point of the story is the arrival on the scene of the machine guns, destined to bring the gang-wars to an unheard-of level of violence. Look at Tony’s scaring bliss when he handles the terrible weapon for the first time… The montage is extraordinary. Take the celebrated bowling-hall scene: we have a dozen of distinct, splendid shots, perfectly tied together. “Scarface” has a pace impressive for intensity. Not a single second is wasted in its narration.The cinematic language attains its highest level. Look how Guino Rinaldo (the great George Raft) is introduced. A man is reading a newspaper in a barber shop. The approaching siren of a police-car is heard. Without even leaving his chair, the man throws his gun in the basket of towels, and, impassive, he restarts to read. In few seconds we have got a precise hint of the personality of Guino: smart, cool-headed, laconic, professional. Soon we will see that in fact he is the cornerstone of Tony’s power and success in crime.Another gem of cinematic language. Tony and his boss Lovo in the chamber of Poppy, Lovo’s girl-friend. Poppy is doing her make-up. Tony tries to chat with her. Poppy doesn’t pay attention. She is even rude with him. Her dressing-gown has slipped, showing Poppy’s legs. Tony peeps at them. Poppy clearly notes it and she DOES NOT fix the dressing-gown… George Raft, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley (Poppy), Osgood Perkins (the spine-less boss Lovo) make a fantastic job. And then there is Paul Muni as Tony Camonte… how good an actor he is could only be eye-witnessed, words can’t describe the power of his performance. Tony is cruel, loathsome, brutal, hideous: we all hate him. Tony’s clash with Lovo, with the sadistic suspense he deliberately creates, is a really ghastly scene. Nonetheless, Muni succeeds to be even touching, when Tony shows his childish enthusiasm for bad-taste “expensive” stuff, ties, silk shirts, luxury restaurants etc. Tony’s final nervous breakdown is essential for the moral message of “Scarface”, but it could have been a weakness of the film. Yet Muni is so great, so intense, that he can render Tony’s disgusting sudden cowardice in a smooth, realistic way, and without provoking in the audience any sympathy for the gangster (an important aim for the film-makers).A crucial theme of the movie is Tony’s morbid affection (to say the least) toward his sister Cesca (Ann Dvorak). Well… “Scarface” would deserve a book, not just a comment. Let me skip this important motive of “brotherly love”, which is extremely difficult to judge correctly, in my opinion.How can a comic character like the illiterate “gangster-secretary”, who never gets the name at the telephone, fit so well in the tragic, action-packed story of “Scarface”? The answer is: Hawks’ artistic genius.”Scarface”, Muni, Hawks… That is great Art of Cinema.

  • nikon-lumperes
    nikon lumperes

    Howard Hawks directs this harsh and frank and sometimes humorous look at a small time gangster’s(Paul Muni) taste of success before his mob world crumbles around him. This is one of the best gangster movies of the 1930’s. Very well written and full of terrific characters. Fast paced and free flowing story line. My favorite scene is when the Muni character first gets his hands on a machine gun. This arrogant, violence driven mobster becomes child like with a brand new toy. Others in this fine crime drama are Osgood Perkins, George Raft, Ann Dvorak, Boris Karloff and C. Henry Gordon. Also notable are Karen Morley and Edwin Maxwell as the Chief of Detectives.Ambition, greed and pride come before a fall. The mob way or no way is a tough way to live. Excellent flick.

  • giovanna-moraes
    giovanna moraes

    Many purists would jump at this as being the definitive “Sacrface,” but so much had changed in the fifty-one years between the two movies that it is nearly impossible. Whereas the Al Pacino cult classic spanned close to three hours and included almost every imaginable cause of death, this version is a mere hour and a half, give or take a few minutes, and unlike the remake, takes place entirely in Chicago.Made as an anti-gangster film, with a message buried under the many bodies that pile up, this is a surprisingly brutal movie for its time, and got a reputation as such. This was just before the so-called “Golden Age” of cinema, and in a time like that, chances are a movie this unapologetic wouldn’t get made. But it is a masterful gangster film.Paul Muni is Tony Camonte, a pseudo-Capone psycho who believes in doing the dirty work himself, is a sleazebag. He talks in a lisp that holds him apart from the gangsters of Cagney and Bogart as a man who, even then, seems ethnic. To boot, his “secretary” is an immigrant who is only semi-literate and can’t hear people well on the phone. Boris Karloff shows up as an Irish gangster, Gaffney, who falls under Camonte’s gun. Aside from an entire segment where Camonte goes seemingly from point A to point B with the same tommy gun and kills off the competition, this is a brilliant milestone in the gangster genre, and probably the best of the era. Even now, it proves what people could accomplish by mere suggestion, sparing much of the language that is in movies (and, indeed, used in real life) today.

  • luc-lemaire
    luc lemaire

    Film chronicles the rise and fall of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) an ugly, stupid and violent gangster.This film was originally shot in 1930 but was held from release until 1932 because the censor demanded cuts. Watching it, I can only imagine how bad the missing material was. The film is full of shootouts and gun fights–they’re quick, violent and just incredible. The body count has to be in the triple digits. The best scene has Boris Karloff as a gangster (!!!) shot to death in a bowling alley. As incredible as the violence is, the film condemns it–they make it clear that Scarface and his gang are cold-blooded killers and nothing more.Also the film has PLENTY of sexual innuendo. Ann Dvorak plays Scarface’s sister and it is made clear that she and her brother are VERY interested in each other. Also she does a very sexy dance in front of George Raft which is more than a little suggestive. I’m surprised that the censors let all this get by! The acting is superb. Muni plays Scarface as dumb, stupid, violent and ugly–and, in a way, very sexy. When he shoots down people it seems that he’s actually getting a sexual charge from it! Also Muni, a very handsome man, was purposely made to look ugly. He looks more like an ape than human. George Raft as his best friend is also good–cold-blooded and heartless. Dvorak overplays it a bit but she is incredibly sexy. Hell, even Karloff is good as a gangster! The film is very well-directed by Hoaward Hawks–he pulls no punches. The script is quick and intelligent–it never stops moving.After it was released (to great acclaim) in 1932 it was abruptly pulled–many people said glamorized gangsters (which is just ridiculous). It didn’t surface until 1979 (Francis Ford Coppola helped get it re-released) and it was finally recognized for the classic it is.Quite simply a GREAT film. Don’t miss this one!

  • eliza-ziarno
    eliza ziarno

    In an attempt to try and snap some sense into the public and the government about the crime wave (mostly in due to Al Capone, who was a major inspiration for Tony Camonte), Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks brought to the screen one of the landmark early gangster pictures. It’s a film that does take its subject seriously (while on one hand one argues that the film is an indictment of crime and peoples responses, one could also argue that it’s a subtle indictment of the prohibition), however it’s also an exciting, and sometimes wickedly funny, take on a genre that would flourish in the thirties and forties. What comes most surprising (and I mean that as a big compliment) is how it hasn’t lost much of its vitality in seventy years. The implied violence in the film is, in fact, shocking in places, and while it lacks the blood content and major shocks of the De Palma remake, it doesn’t compromise to showing the (slightly Hollywood-ized) truth of the matter- crime doesn’t pay, but sometimes it’s all people know.Tony Camonte is played by Paul Muni, in a performance that wonderfully ranges from angry to sarcastic, funny to romantic, and just down-right crazy; it’s no wonder that Pacino was inspired by his performance to take on Tony Montana in the remake (though one could argue that Muni’s bravura presence and delivery in this film out-ranks Pacino’s in the later). He is surrounded by supporting players that also give very good work as well, with the story being told in various threads that work perfectly. There’s one semi-comic story around one of Camonte’s assistants who is rather illiterate and slow (though it’s also a subtle commentary on the lack of prospects for immigrants at the time). Another (which was given much prominence in the remake) involves the power-struggle between Tony and his younger sister. And then there’s the good-old mixture of solid, fascinating bits with the cops and other criminals, not to mention a boss that has to control Tony’s manic ideals of taking over the city (and, perhaps, the world).I once heard Quentin Tarantino in an interview say that Howard Hawks is the ‘single greatest storyteller in the history of cinema’. Although that could be a heavily debatable statement, with this film Hawks proves that he definitely can do so very well, and of the few I’ve seen of his so far, this is my favorite. On the technical side of things, some of the technique is very straight-forward, but then there is also proof that Hawks was a step-ahead of the crowd that would bloom out in the film-noir period a decade later. Shadows used with a fine flair; great over-head and dead-on shots of cars riding and shooting; a couple of really keen close-ups. Add to that a script from Hecht that doesn’t go too deep into character for too long, and you got your basic powerhouse gangster picture. And, believe me, it’s a must-see if you’re into the genre, or if you’d like to have a comparison test with the highly revered remake.

  • dott-cecco-martini
    dott cecco martini

    The early 1930’s produced a whirlwind of mobster films, commenting on the real-life problem of organized crime throughout Prohibition America. LITTLE CAESAR and PUBLIC ENEMY were the first significant films of the genre, but not until Howard Hawks tour-de-force smash, SCARFACE, did the public get to see what was going on. Hawks’ film came out in 1932 and has been a mainstay in filmmaker’s minds and fans alike ever since. Scorsese, Coppola, and especially De Palma, have all drawn inspiration (and the ’83 remake) from Hawks and Ben Hecht, the picture’s screenwriter. Paul Muni was loosely based on Al Capone, and SCARFACE begins with yet another message to the government telling them to get off their butts and rid the country of Tony Carmontes everywhere. I think the picture works more as brutal, realistic entertainment than moral message. In hindsight, SCARFACE made it all look fun.This searing flick looks so spooky and dark, you truly get the feeling of the real “underworld” and how uncompromising it was and still is. Some brilliant images grace the screen: the passage of dates on a calendar by machine gun; Muni’s gruesome scar; an opening murder scene done with such subtly the mere sound of Muni’s whistle triggers doom; a sideshow of possible incest between “Tony” and his tortured sister. No joke. It appears almost blatantly in varying scenes of building jealousy and murder. Many of the elements show up in De Palma’s remake, such as the sister, her relationship with Tony’s best friend, and his disapproving mother. The original packs more substance into a shorter film and is clearly better than the flashy remake (which I also loved).This was one of Howard Hawks’ 1st films and he continued to make pictures that differed so completely, one after the other. SCARFACE is his landmark film, a must-see that was considered by many to be unreleasable to the audiences of 1932. It is a predictable rise and fall portrait of a brooding goon, however the techniques and blunt force of the film make you come back for more. Watch it before the Pacino remake and see what you think. They are excellent representatives of Hollywood storytelling then and now. Keep an eye out for a svelte Boris Karloff in civilian clothing (a rarity) as a sinister enemy of the scarred one. He rolls quite a memorable strike in a bowling alley. A masterpiece of character, story, mood, and bullets flying.RATING: 10 of 10

  • joann-morrison
    joann morrison

    Unlike James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson in their career making roles as gangsters, Paul Muni after Scarface was able to avoid being typecast for his career. Only rarely did Muni return to a gangster part in his career.It must not have been easy for him because Muni is absolutely mesmerizing as the totally amoral Tony Camonte. After Scarface was released Muni was inundated with offers to play gangsters which he rejected. Interesting because without knowing it another of the cast in Scarface, Boris Karloff, would be ultimately trapped in the horror film genre. Muni assuredly avoided Karloff’s fate.Another cast member, George Raft, got his big film break playing Muni’s right hand man. For Raft this was art imitating life, these were the people who were his pallies in real life, there was never any acting involved. Raft never really had too many acclaimed performances away from the gangster/big city genre.Camonte is the ultimate killing machine. He knows only one law the law of the jungle. He’ll rise by any means possible, use anyone it takes, kill anyone who gets in his way. He has only two weaknesses, an obsession that borders on incestuous desires for his sister Ann Dvorak and a kind of affection for his factotum Vince Barnett. That’s the kind of affection you have for a pet.Barnett who usually played drunks and hangers-on got his career role out of Scarface. What comic relief there is in the film he provides. He’s got some good moments as a ‘secretary’ trying to take a phone message with bullets flying all around him. Had he been not dispatched to take the message the machine gun bullets would have found their mark easily in the taller Muni.Scarface is also art that imitates life. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of gangland war in the Chicago of the Twenties will recognize Muni as Capone, Boris Karloff as Bugs Moran, and Osgood Perkins as Johnny Torio. Capone could have sued, but right about then he was having much bigger problems with Internal Revenue.We can’t forget Karen Morley who played Poppy the girl who likes to go with a winner. She shifts from Perkins to Muni and away from Muni when it becomes necessary. In her own way, she’s as amoral as Muni.Scarface along with Public Enemy and Little Caesar set the standard for gangster films. The updated 1983 remake with Al Pacino in Muni’s part is a good film itself and got a lot of its audience with some really gory scenes.Muni did it with talent alone.

  • polunike-papademetropoulou
    polunike papademetropoulou

    Inevitably, Scarface will be compared with the near-contemporary gangster films, Little Caesar and Public Enemy, and Paul Muni with their stars Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney. What does it tell us about that era: that all three careers took off with portrayals of gang leaders? The three performances significantly differ. Robinson rises to the top by the use of a crafty intelligence as well as violence; Cagney by a type of shrewdness and personal charisma. Paul Muni’s Tony Comonte is neither intelligent nor personable; his manners are crude; and at times he is almost childlike in his behavior: for instance, when he is enjoying a play and is interrupted after the second act, summoned to do another killing,and leaves a henchman behind, who can tell him later how it came out, then is delighted to hear that the “guy with the collar” didn’t get the girl; rather, the rougher suitor. He can be described as cunning and animistic: a young wolf who eliminates any rival who stands in his way; finally the leader of the pack One can be moved by Robinson’s last words, “Is this the end of Little Caesar?” or by Cagney’s body falling through the open door of his family home, he having been killed off-screen. Comonte’s death is that of a trapped or cornered animal, wordless in a beautifully staged sequence,as brutal as his life, depicted for the audience in every detail. Of the three portrayals, Muni’s comes across to me as the most chilling, in its enactment of instinctive evil. How ironic that He would later win his greatest fame for his performances as Emile Zola and Louis Pasteur.