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Al Capone (1959)
Topic Started: Jun 3 2017, 03:55 PM (118 Views)
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Al Capone (1959) Dir. Richard Wilson
An Allied Artists Picture
104 min. / B&W / 1.85:1
On DVD from Warner Archive

The rise (from a small-town Brooklyn hood called to Chicago to be an enforcer for Big Jim Colosimo) to his days as the King of the City to his fall and final days: the story of Alphonse "Scarface" Capone, as portrayed by Rod Steiger, who chews both cigars AND scenery with equal relish.

Highly enjoyable, gritty, dark movie and while Steiger is nobody's idea of a subtle actor, his bombast creates an unforgettable version of Capone that's fun to watch. Mostly, I love the fact that the movie never pretends that he's more than a ruthless, rather stupid underworld character with delusions of grandeur (ever see the movie with Armand Assante as John Gotti? Sweet JESUS, if he weren't dumb as a horsefly I would've thought Gotti directed that himself). Fay Spain (well known to me from her career-not-quite-making turn in Dragstrip Girl) is the widow (courtesy of Al) who becomes his paramour; James Gregory is the tough, honest cop after him; Martin Balsam is terrific as the crooked journalist taking money from both cops and robbers; Nehemiah Persoff is Johnny Torrio, the guy ahead of Capone on the mob ladder.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Al, explaining to his buddies how he's gone straight by pointing to his businesses: "We got trucking, the garages, we got cleaning, and dining, and milk, and all these people are gonna pay protection!"
Bugs Moran: "Protection? From who?"
Al: "From who? Protection from us."

Well shot and directed, fast moving, holds back no punches, and yeah, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is shown in all its notorious glory. Very nice print from Warner Archive, too. Highly recommended.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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