Considered one of the greatest early gangster films, Paul Muni’s performance in Scarface ranks alongside James Cagney in The Public Enemy and Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar, and would influence the genre for generations to come, from The Godfather to The Sopranos.
Scarface chronicles Tony Camonte’s rise through the grisly, realistic underworld of the ’30s sound film, when the riccochet of bullets, wiseguy banter and tough-talkin’ dames could finally be heard.
Directed by Howard Hawks, Scarface features a cast of classic Hollywood A-Listers: Academy Award winner Muni, George Raft (who had ties to real life gangster Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky), the lovely Anne Dvorak, and Boris Karloff, who, despite being an established horror star, also appeared in a handful of gangster films; the two genres would meet in 1937 in The Walking Dead.
Glorifying a life of easy crime, the film was indeed controversial upon its release — so much so that it did not play a single Toronto cinema until September of 1937, when it premiered at the Madison, now the Bloor.
Come delight in a rarely screened classic! It might not have as much cocaine or Cuban blackface as Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake, but it packs a surprisingly mean punch.
But that’s not all! Before the feature, enjoy an assortment of shorts and cartoons, all from 1932!
Classics From The Vault is a new monthly series which aims to highlight various genres of seldom-seen gems from Hollywood’s golden age.
We premiered last month with The Four Marx Bros. in Animal Crackers, and we will return next month with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat. In September, join us for The Big Sleep and we will wrap up our first season with Universal’s She-Wolf of London in late October.
All features & pre-show material shown on real film, kids.