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The First Drive By Shootings From The Classic Gangster Movies

Aug 17, 2007
Sometimes a person just wants to see a good crime solved. Take mobster films for example, these black and white classics still have the potential to entertain audience of all ages. So if you're getting tired of the same old story, try watching one of these old school crime dramas. Actors like James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson will have you on the edge of your seat.

Cagney made his re-entry into the mobster film genre with the film White Heat. Cagney had grown tired of producers stereo typing him, placing him in the same roles over and over again. But after significant pressure, he gave in to the producers' whims and gave viewers one of his best performances ever. Cagney's character, Cody Jarrett, finds himself with two problems: he can't stay out of prison, and he's obsessed with his mama. Once he finally makes his way out of jail, he tackles his next job. Cagney made movie history with the final scene of White Heat. Those who watch this movie will have its images permanently burned in their minds.

With two versions, Scarface made it impact during two separate decades. The 1932 version still shocks viewers in the twenty-first century. And the Brian De Palma edition put out decades later is most famous for just one thing: Al Pacino. In the original film, the main character, Tony Camonte, is played by Paul Muni. Police arrest Tony for suspected murder when his boss Big Louis Costillo goes missing. But the body never turns up, and the police let Tony go. Like any good mobster, Tony then goes through town with the purpose of controlling the mafia territory by using stereotypical muscle. The film reaches a climax when Tony has to deal with his enemies, friends, family, police, and ultimately, his own destructive personality.

Because of its gratuitous violence, the 1932 version of Scarface directed by Howard Hawks, faced censorship for decades. Because of its independent production, producer Howard Hughes flexed his creative muscles and allowed much more violence than any other producer would. Scarface offers a shocking and powerful film experience.

Warner Brothers released the film Public Enemy in 1931. Cagney stars in this film as well, playing the part of real-life Chicago mobster, Earl "Hymie" Weiss. The social overtones alone make this film stand out above the rest. Instead of the wanting the audience to just accept Cagney's violent character, producers aimed to explain why the character has fallen into a life of crime.

Even classic literature makes its way into mobster film. The Killlers is based on an Ernest Hemingway film. Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O'Brien create a film that viewers won't forget soon.

Finally, Cagney also made his mark through the film Angels With Dirty Faces. The genuine warmth in this film makes it unique, with a cast full of children. Unlike other mobster films, this one makes the viewer think about the social aspect of the mob.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as movie posters at
http://www.moviepostersandcollectibles.com
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