Scarface (1932)

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Detail from Movie Poster for the Film "Scarface"

Scarface (1932). 94 minutes.  Directed by Howard Hawks.  Starring Paul Muni (as Tony Camonte), Osgood Perkins (as Johnny Lovo), George Raft (as Guino Rinaldo), Boris Karloff (as Gaffney), Ann Dvorak (as Cesca Camonte), and Karen Morley (as Poppy).  Produced by Howard Hughes.

“Oh, I knew Luciano and Costello, and even Capone, and lesser lights.  It was easy to be in movies and not know them, but almost impossible to be in show business—Broadway—without knowing them, unless you never went out at night to a nightclub and never knew anybody in any form of show business.  Unless you were the Lunts or Katharine Cornell, it was virtually impossible not to get to know them—they were so anxious for you to.  Capone used to take four rows at the opening night for every play in Chicago and come backstage and see everybody.  You couldn’t get to a nightclub without Costello sending over a bottle of champagne, or sit in Lindy’s without Luciano Read the rest

M (1931)

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M (1931)

M (1931).  110 minutes.  Directed by Fritz Lang.  Starring Peter Lorre (as Hans Beckert), Gustaf Gründgens (as The Safecracker), and Otto Wernicke (as Inspector Karl Lohmann).

It has often been pointed out that M is a terrific example of a film that bridges the silent and talkie periods.  M was German director Fritz Lang’s first talkie, and it makes use of sound in a very interesting way.  For many early filmmakers, their first ventures into sound became opportunities to show off the new technology by using sound constantly and extravagantly — hence the large number of musicals in the early days of sound films.  Lang’s M was different, though, in that it actually contained many evocative, intensely silent passages and, at other times, very carefully and strategically used sound.  For example, early in the film, we come to know that young Elsie Beckman (played by Inge Landgut) has disappeared for good when we spy her balloon silently trapped in the … Read the rest