Scarface (1932) directed by Howard Hawks and starring Paul Muni, the proto-ganster flick, has just been released on DVD from a pristine transfer. Buy the DVD
The New York Times review yesterday by David Kehr:
this is the greatest of the early-30s gangster films. Paul Muni, in what would remain his most uninhibited performance, is the simian title character, a thinly disguised Al Capone who machine-guns his way to the top of the Chicago rackets. (In a darkly playful touch, each of his assassinations is marked, somewhere in the frame, by an X.) Universal has made a new transfer of this essential title, making it available for the first time on DVD apart from its perverse inclusion as an extra in the deluxe edition of Brian De Palma’s dimly satirical, ultraviolent 1983 remake with Al Pacino.
Hawks’ film begins as an uncomfortably exhilarating comedy about the joys of unchecked desire, and ends as an expressionistic horror movie with howls of madness and intimations of incest. This disc includes a censor-pleasing alternate ending in which Muni’s Tony Camonte is caught, convicted and hanged, instead of going down, still a compelling force of nature, in the heat of battle.