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SCARFACE, 1932
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  MOVIE POSTERSCARFACE, 1932
Movie Reviews

Director: Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson

Stars: Paul Muni, Boris Karloff and George Raft

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

The rise and fall of a demented gangster who kills anyone that stands in his way.

REVIEW:

I had always known that two versions of Scarface existed. One of them starred the remarkable Al Pacino, whereas the other was a black and white movie and featured people that I hadn't heard of before. Opting to watch the black and white version first, I recently saw the one starring Al Pacino and was glad that I had seen them in that order because the original is by far superior.

Tony Camonte (Muni) is a rising gangster who wants to be feared by everyone. Although he is warned not to take over Chicago's North Side, he will do anything that he can in order to get what he wants. Battling one crime boss after another, such as Gaffney (Karloff), Tony seems to be winning. However, as his enemies start to grow, Tony finds himself in a corner and with nowhere to run. Will Tony survive?

Although the first ‘talky' movie was released three years prior to Scarface, it had come a long way. Gangster films were made in abundance during the 1930's because people wanted a form of escapism during the Great Depression. Scarface remains one of the greatest gangster films of all time, especially as there is a great deal of violence yet we never see much blood. Therefore, it is left to our own imagination to presume what happens.

Muni sets the screen alight as Tony Camonte. A highly regarded actor throughout his career, Muni shines in Scarface and when he kills another gangster or someone who he doesn't like the look of, it seems that Muni means it. Others in the film do very well alongside Muni, such as George Raft. Playing the role of Rinaldo, who famously keeps flicking a coin without looking at it, Scarface was one of his first leading roles and continued to do so throughout the rest of his career. Not many film critics dismiss the 1983 version of Scarface but I am. Compared to the original, it does not even come close in terms of quality. Outdated and lacklustre, Pacino doesn't quite fit the role even though he was superb in all three Godfather films. I suppose that once the role has been played to perfection, as Muni did, it's impossible to do any better.

ACTORHoward Hawks
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORRichard Rosson
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ACTORPaul Muni
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ACTORAnn Dvorak
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ACTORBoris Karloff
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ACTORGeorge Raft
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ACTORKaren Morley
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ACTOROsgood Perkins
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SCARFACE, 1932