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and Moments

Scarface (1932)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Scarface (1932) (aka Scarface, The Shame of the Nation)

In this brutally realistic crime-gangster film produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks (and a great screen story by Ben Hecht), with its many X images signifying an impending murder:

  • the character of reptilian maniac gangster Tony Camonte (Paul Muni), revealed in an early scene in a barber's chair with his face and body wrapped in a towel and sheet - when unwrapped, the sheet revealed an immigrant face, an ugly X-shaped scar on his left upper cheek, and slicked-back, pomaded oily hair - the X on his face identified him as the title character of Scarface
  • George Raft in his famous coin-flipping role as Tony's unflappable and dapper right-hand man Guino Rinaldo
  • Tony's overprotective, close and almost-incestuous relationship with his sister Cesca (Ann Dvorak)
  • the ambush, drive-by shooting sequence at the Columbia Cafe-Restaurant, where Tony was sweet-talking tall, slender blonde moll Poppy (Karen Morley): "I'm not hungry - except for you. You got something I like...Say, I've been waiting a long time. I'm crazy about you...I've got everything BUT what I want. Ya understand?"; the two had to duck for cover as rival gangster O'Hara's slow-moving hearse followed by other black cars (in a fake funeral procession) drove by the window-fronted restaurant and sprayed it with gunfire from their repeating tommy guns
  • Tony's excitement at acquiring one of the gang's tommy guns: "Hey Johnny, look what I got!...Lookit, Johnny, you can carry it around like a baby...We don't give 'em time. We go after them. We throw them micks up for grabs... There's only one thing that gets orders and give orders. (He tapped the gun) And this is it. That's how I got the South Side for ya and that's how I'm gonna get the North Side for ya. Some little typewriter, eh? I'm gonna write my name all over this town with it in big letters...Get outta my way, Johnny, I'm gonna spit!"
  • the many murder/massacre scenes, including the execution in a bowling alley (signified by a strike on a score sheet) of one of the last members of O'Hara's gang, Tom Gaffney (Boris Karloff as a gangsterish-like Frankenstein)
  • in one later scene, Tony's jealousy and overprotectiveness led to a raging argument with Cesca: "Yeah, runnin' around with the fellas, huh? Lettin' 'em hold ya like that. Lettin' 'em look at you. Dressin' up like that for the fellas to see, huh?" (He ripped her spaghetti shoulder strap, baring her bra and slip); Cesca screamed back: "What I do with fellas is MY business!" (He slapped her repeatedly)
  • the scene in which Tony took possession of his murdered ex-boss Johnny Lovo's (Osgood Perkins) mistress, the icy-cold and scheming blonde Poppy - and pointed out to her the blinking THE WORLD IS YOURS sign outside the window to reinforce his current position at the top of the underworld: ("Hey. Come here. Look at that. Do you remember what I told ya?")
  • Tony's misguided, cold-blooded murder of Guino at his apartment building's doorway, and then Cesca's revelation of their recent secret marriage - she cursed her brother for being a "murderer" and a "butcher" in the fratricidal killing: "Tony, it's my Guino. I love him. We were married yesterday, Tony...We were going to surprise you - weren't we, Guino? Oh, God. He's dead. He's dead. He loved me, really loved me. (She pushed Tony away.) Don't touch me. Don't come near me. (He staggered toward her.) Stay away from me. You're not my brother. Don't you think I know? Murderer! He kills people. He kills everybody. He kills everything. He's a butcher. That's what you are. You're a butcher. You're a butcher"
  • the climactic and prolonged final shootout sequence that included two death scenes: first Cesca who was mortally-wounded when hit by a stray bullet in the mid-section (Tony reacted: "I'll be here all alone. You can't leave me here all alone...Cesca! You're all I've got left...I'm no good without you, Cesca. I'm no good by myself. Cesca!")
  • and then Tony's stumbling, staggering descent down the stairs to the front door where he made a cowardly plea for his life ("Gimme a break, will ya? Don't shoot. You got me covered. I can't do nothin'"), but many police guns opened fire and riddled his body with hundreds of bullets when he made a break for it, and died in the street's filthy gutter
  • the film's final ironic image: the camera moved up and away from Tony's sprawled body toward the flashing electric sign that promised Tony the world: "THE WORLD IS YOURS"
Cesca's and Tony's Death Scene

Tony (Scarface in Barber Chair)

Coin Flipping Guino (George Raft)

Cesca (Ann Dvorak)

Drive-By Shooting at Cafe

Tony's Excitement Over Tommy Gun

X's in Film Signified Murder

Tony with Cesca - Incestuous and Extremely Jealous

Tony's Misguided Murder of Guino (with X in background)


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