The Gangster Film and Film NoirHoward Hawks, Scarface(1932) and The Big Sleep(1946)Scarface: Links to YouTube videos provided in this .ppt.Source for TBS:orm/006?T=W49002
Gangster Films and The Code: Short History •Early gangster fil ms explored gangster life and often used gangsters as the protagonists of their scripts•As the Production Code began to be enforced decisively starting in 1934, gangsters could no longer be represented sympathetically or cast as protagonists. Gangster films started to include a police officer or private detective as the protagonist, with gangsters as antagonists•The Code began to relax in the 50s and was abolished in 1966; as a consequence, gangsters could become film protagonists again, and gangster characters became more complex.
Gangster Films: Criticizing Social Problems•They represent the dark side of American individualism – in the form of recklessness, selfishness, sadism, and a self-defeating spiral of violent self-assertion.•They criticize hegemonic American values and discrimination: these films reveal that, for certain categories of immigrants, a life of crime in the margins of civilized society was the only possibility of advancement or even survival.•“The Family”: implicit criticism of the traditional understanding of society as modelled after the family structure (only sectarian pursuits can result from this ideological association).•Since the “gangster revival” of the 60s and 70s, the gangster organization, as represented in film, parallels the organization of corporate America•More recently, gangster films have started to integrate the experiences of African American and other minorities, showing to what extent many youths’ recourse to a life of crime is the result of systemic social failure
Gangster Films: Beyond Hollywood•Soviet Union: domestic crime = an ideological impossibility – for many decades during the communist regime, no gangster films were made•France and Britain have solid gangster film traditions (but their gangsters are usually not the equivalent of the larger-than-life figures present in many American films)-tragic ambitions, tragic failures: The Long Good Friday(John Mackenzie, 1980), Get Carter(Mike Hodges, 1971)-later: highly stylized (Sexy Beast, Jonathan Glazer, 2000; Gangster No. 1, Paul McGuigan, 2000) or semi-comic gangster films (Snatch, Guy Ritchie, 2000)•French gangster films: more slow, more sophisticated character construction•Japanese cinema: tradition of Yakuza films since the 1930s•South-American cinema: focus on poverty and the slums
Scarface(Hawks 1932):This is a very important early film, but it is not available from any of the databases we have access to through the Fanshawe Library.I didn’t want to ask you to pay to see this film from an online source, so I made a selection of clips from this film available on YouTube – just to give you an idea of what it looked like and how it represented the gangsters, the cops, etc.