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Scarface (Universal Cinema Classics)

4.6 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

One of the most influential movies of all time, the original Scarface is an exciting story of organized crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Academy Award winner Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Camonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss. Produced by the legendary Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, this compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and revenge is a groundbreaking masterpiece that influenced all gangster films to follow. Filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship shaped the way movies were made, "this powerful gangster film is the most potent of the 1930s" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide).

Special Features

  • Exclusive Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host and Film Historian Robert Osborne
  • Alternate Ending

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, George Raft, C. Henry Gordon
    • Format: Mono, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: English, French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      PG
      Parental Guidance Suggested
    • Studio: Universal
    • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
    • Run Time: 94 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000N3T0H8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,969 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Scarface (Universal Cinema Classics)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: VHS Tape
    A gritty, fast-paced gangster film that ranks among the best. Made with a purpose in 1932, take into consideration for example the complete title; 'Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation' and the beginning credits that ask you 'what are you going to do about it?', very straightforward but naïveté aside this is one of the best gangster films of all time. Paul Muni delivers a powerful performance, he is a driving force throughout the movie. Muni plays Tony Camonte, a character that is more than 'loosely' based on Al Capone. He easily dominates every scene he's in except one or two scenes that get stolen by Ann Dvorak as his sultry little sister. George Raft is equally impressive as Tony's best friend and partner in crime. Boris Karloff, fresh from the success of 'Frankenstein' just one year earlier, also appears as one of Tony's competitors. Ann Dvorak is excellent as Tony's sultry sister who is also in love (or is it lust?) with Tony's best friend (Raft). Scandalous at the time particularly because of the unhealthy relationship between Tony and his sister. Those hints of incest are still kind of shocking today. Some of the elements were taken from real life like the 'St. Valentine Day Massacre' for example and the name 'Scarface' is directed at Al Capone himself. The ending is a knockout. An intense and brutal gangster drama that's brilliantly directed by Hawks. A remake was attempted in the 80's with Brian DePalma and Al Pacino in the role of Tony Montana, but was much more graphic and violent not to mention overlong. This remains the best of the Scarface films. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film an 8!
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    Format: VHS Tape
    ----- * IN A NUTSHELL: NO GLAMORIZING OF PUBLIC ENEMIES HERE -*

    A dark and dank insight into the depraved and exciting world of bootlegging gangsters at their worst.

    WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: [WARNING -- CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS BELOW]

    Tony Camonte [Paul Muni], is the lead, and a character patterned after Al Capone (also called "Scarface")but not in every way. The obviously amoral Camonte gradually seizes control of the bootlegging racket, from Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), his boss, through a series of barbaric murders which eventually include Johnny Lovo. Apparently, Camonte's ambition is translated into brutality as his sole constructive force, which is hardly constructive at all. There is no bargaining, communicating or making deals, Camonte simply kills everyone that stands in his way even if it is really not needed. I think I counted 26 murders in the film, but others have stated that they counted 28.

    BACK TO THE ACTION:

    After bumping off his boss Lovo, with the aid of henceman Guino Rinaldo [George Raft], Camonte took up with Lovo's mistress, Poppy [Karen Morley]. Though he has lusted after Poppy from the start, Tony has shown oddly incestuous interest in his own sister, Cesca [Ann Dvorak] that seemed more emotionally deep than that for his newly found trophy girl. There were hints about the incestuous nature of their relationship throughout the film with their mother, who Tony never implied was anything more than a domestic servant, constantly warning Cesca about Tony's intentions in veiled but unmistakable language.

    Believe it or not, there is actually humor woven into "Scarface" throughout, with one of the best examples being the murder of Gaffney, [Boris Karloff] while he was bowling.
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I see reviews here dating back to the year 2000. This review is for the Universal Cinema Classics release of Scarface that came out in May 2007. First off, the video and audio on this print are excellent. There is no hissing in the audio, and there are very few artifacts in the video. The extras are another matter. First there is an introduction by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne who provides the same excellent short introduction that he would were Scarface playing in prime time on TCM and he were introducing it there - no more, no less. The only other extra is an alternate ending scene for Scarface. There is no commentary track, which is a shame considering this film, along with "Little Caesar" and "The Public Enemy" form the founding trio of the gangster film in the sound era of the motion picture.

    As for the movie itself, it is based on real events that happened in the criminal career of Al Capone, although Capone's criminal career had already ended with his conviction on charges of tax evasion six months before this film was released in April 1932. You know you're watching a Howard Hughes production when, during the first scene, a bar employee is sweeping up after a party held by one of Chicago's big gangsters and finds a bra among the confetti. The film shares some aspects with its gangster film predecessors - Tony Camonte is motivated by a desire for power just as Edward G. Robinson's Rico was in "Little Caesar", and also like Rico takes over the gang from a boss he perceives as weak. However, Camonte doesn't seem to have the pent-up rage of Public Enemy's Tom Powers. When Tony performs acts of violence it is usually related to gangland business.
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