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

Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

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"Gabriel over the White House" featured image. Detail from original movie poster.

Gabriel Over the White House (1933). 86 minutes.  Directed by Gregory La Cava.  Starring Walter Huston (as President Judson Hammond), Karen Morley (as Pendola Molloy), Franchot Tone (as Hartley Beekman), and C. Henry Gordon (as Nick Diamond).

“The good news: he reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace.  The bad news: he’s Mussolini.”

Film Series on Religion and the Founding
of the American Republic, Library of Congress

Gabriel Over the White House has been called one of the most bizarre movies of the 1930s.  It is also the rare film that people will stress is notable but not many will say they actually liked.  The movie focuses on a Depression-era American president who, following a car accident, appears to be possessed by an other-worldly spirit and is turned into a raging totalitarian dictator who ameliorates hard times by doing away with Congressional, and other, limitations on his power.  Among … Read the rest