| ▶ PLAY TRAILER |
Search for streaming:
| With: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, George Raft, Boris Karloff |
| Written by: Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin, W.R. Burnett, based on a novel by Armitage Trail |
| Directed by: Howard Hawks |
| MPAA Rating: Unrated |
| Running Time: 93 |
| Date: 31/03/1932 |
| || |
X Marks the Spot
By Jeffrey M. Anderson Howard Hawks' Scarface stars Karen Morley as a gangster's moll who attracts the eye of up-and coming Tony Camonte (Paul Muni).
Hawks was never a show-off director, but Scarface is full of delicious imagery, like the "X" symbol that shows up whenever anyone is dead or as good as dead. Or the scene in which Camonte's men are roughing up a bootleg bartender. Hawks zeroes in not on the violence, but on the beer tap running over onto the floor. Or the scene that Truffaut immortalized, when rival gang leader Boris Karloff gets rubbed out while bowling, and a single pin remains spinning and standing for a second longer before falling.
Morley gets off a few great zinger lines on dumb brute Muni, courtesy of screenwriter Ben Hecht and his team. Scarface is unquestionably one of the greatest talking American movies ever made, and has been terribly underrated all through this century.
Note: This is the first Howard Hawks movie to ever play the San Francisco International Film Festival. It's here in tribute to this year's "The Unvanquished" tributee, Karen Morley, who was blacklisted in the 1950's for supporting an actors' strike. But she continues to be active today in her 90s. Two of her best movies are screening at the festival, Scarface (1932), and Gabriel over the White House (1933).
In 2012, Universal released a new DVD as part of the studio's 100th anniversary.