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Gangster Film Reader

Overview

In the 1930s the gangster film in the United States coincided with a very real and very sensational gangsterism at large in American society. Little Caesar (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), and Scarface (1932) borrowed liberally from the newspapers and books of the era. With the release of just these three motion pictures in barely more than a year's time, Hollywood quintessentially defined the genre. The characters, the situations, and the icons-from fast cars and tommy-guns to fancy fedoras and fancier ...

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Overview

In the 1930s the gangster film in the United States coincided with a very real and very sensational gangsterism at large in American society. Little Caesar (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), and Scarface (1932) borrowed liberally from the newspapers and books of the era. With the release of just these three motion pictures in barely more than a year's time, Hollywood quintessentially defined the genre. The characters, the situations, and the icons-from fast cars and tommy-guns to fancy fedoras and fancier molls-established the audience expectations associated with the gangster film that remain in force to this day. As with their Film Noir Reader series, using both reprints of seminal articles and new pieces, editors Silver and Ursini have assembled a group of essays that presents an exhaustive overview of this still vital genre. Reprints of work by such well-known film historians as Robin Wood, Andrew Sarris, Carlos Clarens, Paul Schrader, and Stuart Kaminsky explore the evolution of the gangster film through the 1970s and The Godfather. Parts 2 and 3 comprise two dozen newer articles, most of them written expressly for this volume by Ursini and Silver. These case studies and thematic analyses, from White Heat to the remake of Scarface to "The Sopranos," complete the anthology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879103323
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 422
  • Sales rank: 1,027,854
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction   Alain Silver     1
Seminal Work
The Gangster as Tragic Hero (1948)   Robert Warshow     11
Scarface (from Howard Hawks, 1968)   Robin Wood     19
The Gangster Film (1970)   John Baxter     29
Iconography of the Gangster Film (from Underworld USA, 1972)   Colin McArthur     39
Little Caesar and Its Role in the Gangster Film Genre (1972)   Stuart M. Kaminsky     47
Yakuza-eiga: A Primer (1974)   Paul Schrader     65
Big Funerals: The Hollywood Gangster, 1927-1933 (1977)   Andrew Sarris     85
Post-Code Gangster Movies (from Gangsters on the Screen, 1978)   Frank Manchel     97
All in the Family: The Godfather Saga (from Crime Movies, 1980)   Carlos Clarens     107
Case Studies
A Gangster Unlike the Others: Gordon Wiles' The Gangster   Reynold Humphries     119
White Heat: I Am Cody Jarrett, Destroyer of Worlds   Glenn Erickson     135
The Gangster According to Aldrich   Alain Silver     155
A Study in Ambiguity: The Godfather and the American Gangster Movie Tradition   Geoff Fordham     165
De Palma's Postmodern Scarface andthe Simulacrum of Class   Ronald Bogue     183
Yoked Together by Violence: Prizzi's Honor as a Generic Hybrid   Tricia Welsch     195
Way of Life: GoodFellas and Casino   Constantine Verevis     209
Takeshi Kitano: Melancholy Poet of the Yakuza Film   James Ursini     225
Contemporary Views
The British Gangster Film   Tony Williams     237
Reforming Hollywood Gangsters: Crime and Morality from Populism to Patriotism   Sheri Chinen Biesen     259
A New Kind of Girl for a New Kind of World   Dominique Mainon     277
The Gangster and Film Noir: Themes and Style   Alain Silver     291
Hits, Whacks, and Smokes: The Celluloid Gangster as Horror Icon   Catherine Don Diego     325
Fukasaku and Scorsese: Yakuzas and Gangsters   Joaquin da Silva     343
The Hong Kong Gangster Movie   Tony Williams     357
Family Values and Feudal Codes: The Social Politics of America's Fin-de-Siecle Gangster   Ingrid Walker     381
Notes on Contributors     407
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