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Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 25-JAN-2005
Media Type: DVD
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1930, with newsreel, Spencer Tracy short "The Hard Guy," cartoon "Lady Play Your Mandolin," and theatrical trailers
- New featurette: "Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero"
- 1954 release foreword
Top Customer Reviews
At the beginning of the film, Robinson is Rico Bandello, the 'Little Caesar.' He drifts into Chicago and invites himself as a member of the ruling gang. Even then, with nothing but his gravitas and physical presence, he could take words that were meant to be conciliating and twist them into a snarl laden with menace. What I found interesting was that whenever Robinson went face to face with an adversary, Robinson forced him to look down at his own diminutive height as if to say, 'Your size means nothing, fool.' It becomes soon clear that the mob boss will surrender his place through default. Rico Bandello manages to cram into little more than an hour a case study in the ephemerality of the solitary gangster who relies more on his brutal personality than on some hired brains to run his criminal enterprise.
On a technical note, the sound track was at times incomprehensible, an excusable flaw since sound engineering had just begun the year before. Further, the dialogue sounds incredibly cliched, but again, to the audience of 1930, Rico's words were jarringly original. When a gasping, dying, Little Caesar spits out as a last snarl of defiance, 'Is this the end of Rico?', Edward G. could not have known that his ending of this gangster film was but the prologue of a series of crime movies that are as popular today as when Rico Bandello lay on a filthy street, shocking America with his surprisingly emotional epitaph.
A word of warning, this was made in 1930 and the sound cinema was still in it's infancy. Some of the acting is still between the mnore obvious emoting of silent cinema and the more subtle sound acting to come. Also, this was the start of a genre and so it is probably not as sleek as its successors.
That out of the way, this is the tale of the rise and fall of Rico (Edward G. Robinson) known as Little Caesar. A small time gunman who claws his way to the top of the mob and then tumbles from his throne. His downfall is caused, inadvertantly at first, by Joe (Fairbaks), his best friend from his small time hood days who became a nightclub preformer and wants to leave the mob behind.
Robinson chews up scenery as Rico and it is a joy to watch, in spite of sharing top billing, Fairbanks isn't in it all that much in the middle. Honorable mention goes to the actor who portrayed the head detective so well, he seemed to take almost satanic glee in catching crooks in their own egos.
Another sidepoint, Rico is not likable because he was never meant to be. Sure, his determination is interesting but underneath it all he is just a petty operator. This movie really has no hero (Joe is a bit weak and the detective is off his rocker in my opinion) and to have this in mind before watching will keep things enjoyable.
I suppose you start by saying it's a great movie, but it sure feels old. Action takes place around concealed microphones, musical underscoring is virtually nonexistent, and some of the melodramatic elements - like the scene with the doting Italian mother - seem to belong to the age of Victoria, paper collars, and gas footlights. On the other hand, Robinson's performance as the brutal and ambitious gangster is timeless and close to perfect. There's a glowering, guttural, feral quality to it that pulls the movie up with him. His best scene comes towards the end of the film. The fallen and unrecognized Rico, unslept eyes dark and watery, hip flash of hooch nearly drained, listens as a couple of other flophouse denizens read aloud a newspaper article about the great, missing Little Caesar. Robinson grunts and mewls as the newspaper is read aloud, responding to what he hears. With nothing but facial expressions, body language and grunts Robinson pulls back the skin covering Rico's psyche and presents it for public inspection. It's a marvelous bit of business tucked into one of the greatest movie acting jobs ever.
The transfer print isn't pristine, but acceptable - usually pretty good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I absolutely love the golden era and its celebrities, including Mr. Robinson. (Not to mention he has Hungarian roots like myself). I love this movie. Mr. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Elle
Little Caesar is one of the first of the gangster genre movies. The dialogue is tough, and star, Edward G Robinson gives a bravura performance as a small time hood who moves... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael Drumstix
Great product. Quick delivery. Will buy again....5 star....thanks.Published 8 months ago by Norma Swede
Ordered for my father. Came in a timely manner and with no product issues.Published 9 months ago by student1963
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