Tomorrow, Gangster Squad hits theaters (click here for my review). The crime flick takes place in 1949 Los Angeles during mobster Mickey Cohen’s rise to power in the City of Angels. America has had a fascination with the gangster throughout cinema history. They’ve been seen as folk heroes and the scourge of society. In the era of the Production Code, Hollywood tried to have it both ways with mandated-warnings paired with exhilarating, charismatic characters. Gangsters may always fall, but it’s a thrilling, infamous ride.
I’ve compiled a list of five gangster movies worth checking out. To stay in line with Gangster Squad, all of these films were made before 1950, so they lived in the era of the glamorous underworld and all the seedy, ruthless behavior it entailed. Hit the jump to check out the list.
To state something obvious, unless you die, you get old, and may live long enough to outlive your usefulness. Hemmingway had a solution. When he felt he couldn’t write, fight, or fuck like he used to, he decided he’d rather be dead. Both John Ford and Howard Hawks worked their way out of the film business. Their careers were long and storied, and both worked for over four decades, making great films at all points during their long and varied journies. But they also ran out of steam. Both made great autumnal works – without a doubt – but both the films celebrated here in Paramount’s Centennial collection also show some fatigue.
The Man who Shot Liberty Valance may be more the important of the two. John Wayne stars as Tom Doniphon in the first time he ever called anyone “pilgrim.”