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Cosmo media presentation

  1. 1. KEY CHANGES/DEVELOPMENTS IN THE GANGSTER GENRE 1920’S THROUGH TO THE PRESENT
  2. 2. 1920’S Underwo rld, 1927 film is now fondly remembe red as Certification: PG Paramount Pictures Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend. The themes are alcoholism, the life of a gangster and elements of a romance. Technical Aspects: Runtime: 80 min|87 min (director's cut) Sound Mix: Silent Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.33 : 1 The film was recognised as a realistic portrayal of the criminal underworld. However “Time” Did not like the reformed villain cliché used. The film is now fondly remembered as a cult film noir film. It is recognised as the first Gangster movie. This title uses the enigma code theory as we try to see how Bull Weed will return to greatness Luxury items were used as a convention The Racket, 1928 Certification:PG Paramount Pictures Due to the controversial portrayal of a corrupt police force and city government both the film and the play were banned at the time in Chicago. Not much of the film is known, there is only one copy of the film left and like many early gangster movies is “lost” Starring Thomas Meighan Marie Prevost Louis Wolheim Although not much of the film is known because of the film being lost for a length of time. Distributed by: Paramount pictures Sound Mix: Silent Colour: Black and White The film was regarded as accurate by the audience. So much so that it was banned in Chicago due to the audience feeling the corrupt nature of the Chicago police being realistic. The film uses the user gratification theory by offering escapism to reflect the grim reality of Chicago. Luxury items were used as a convention George Bancroft as "Bull" Weed Evelyn Brent as "Feathers" McCoy Clive Brook as "Rolls Royce" Wensel Fred Kohler as "Buck" Mulligan Helen Lynch as Meg, Mulligan's girl Larry Semon as "Slippy" Lewis Jerry Mandy as Paloma
  3. 3. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA •Films had changed from silent to talkies •Films were based on real life headlines of the era; on people such as Al Capone •The films of the twenties were to be the most violent for many years due to Hayes code being introduced •Prohibition was a key theme of many films of the era and the glamour of bootlegging; which gave birth to the convention of gangsters having a luxurious lifestyle with the wearing of expensive suits •Gang wars were a theme in 1920’s films; this is due to corruption among police in the era of prohibition meaning film makers wanted to represent the police as a non-threat. •This meant petty personal gang wars became a convention of 1920’s gangster movies
  4. 4. 1930’S Scarface, 1932 Certification:PG The Cado Company Themes: Assassination and murder, turf war, revenge, rise and fall Conventions: violence, guns, male dominated world, sociopath, suits Main Character: Tony Montanna(Howard Hughes), a man who rises to the top of the underworld through violence and drug dealing Montanna is a hero in relation to Propp’s theory but in reality passes for an anti-hero as the audience knows he is a bad person despite being the protagonist. Runtime: 93 min Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Sound System) Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 The reaction to this film was so positive that it launched the star man – George Raft’s career in a new age of ‘talkie’ and is so fondly remembered that it was remade in 1983 starring Al Pacino Bulky cameras meant that panning shots were difficult to perform. Pepe Le Moko, 1937 Certification PG DisCina Themes: Pepe Le Moko lives in hiding and a theme of the film is him trying to regain his freedom. Another theme present in this film which is unusual for this genre is love. Pépé le Moko (Jean Gabin) is a gangster from Paris that hides in Algier's Casbah. In the Casbah, he is safe and is able to elude the police's attempts to capture him. But he misses his freedom, after two years in the Casbah. He meets a gorgeous Parisian tourist, Gaby, and they fall in love. Pepe is the Hero and freedom is his prize according to Propp’s theory. His love interest is the princess that could also be seen as the prize. Technical Specs Runtime: 94 min Sound Mix: Mono (R.C.A. Photophone) Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 Pépé le Moko was recognised as inspiration to Greene’s acclaimed novel ‘the third man’ and was also remade only a year later by an American production company. The film was also so successful that it prompted a Hollywood remake. The movie represented France’s cinema making credentials. Pepe Le Moko uses high amount of tracking shots from medium range shots. The use of panning and tracking was unusual for a movie of this time. The films opening sequence uses a high cutting ratio which was ground breaking at the time as most films used long cuts
  5. 5. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • Hayes laws properly introduced in 1934; taking away from the glamour of spraying machine guns and giving way to suggested violence; • Despite bulky cameras; directors were becoming more ambitious with panning and tracking shots but needed lighter cameras to further develop this. • Cuts became quicker during this era; directors moved away from the use of very long one take frames and would now incorporate many frames per scene. This was the beginning of scenes containing many frames. • Scarface saw films increase in violence with the use of more realistic guns as props. • A mixture of real life stunt-driving as well as motion screen background were used in scarface • Movies were now firmly away from the silent era; these films were all talkies. • Movies increasingly became based on Al Capone’s life; albeit loosely. • The early 30’s films being based on Al Capone represented a theme of nostalgia which would be continued arguably until the 80’s when Ronald Regan’s ‘cocaine invasion’ of America became the modern day prohibition • Luxury items were continually used as a convention • Pepe Le Moko represented a key change which would be mirrored in to the 1940’s era; gangster films became less about mobs and more about either a disgraced gangster with nothing (White Heat) or a gangster with loose associates • Films became based on modern day news story’s compared to future nostalgia; these films were contemporary • James Cagney was the first star to be almost exclusively associated with the genre
  6. 6. 1940’S I walk alone, 1947 Wallis Productions Themes: Returning from prison, freedom, money, loneliness, love Conventions: Guns, Violence, Frankie Madison (Burt Lancaster) returns to New York after 14 years in prison. Noll Turner, Frankie's former partner in bootlegging, is now a wealthy nightclub manager, and Frankie is expecting him to honour a verbal '50:50' agreement they made when he was caught and Noll got away however this is not the case and Frankie tries to find a way to get his money back Technical Specs Runtime: 97 min Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording) Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 The film was received negatively by critics as it pushed the boundaries of its time; however is now viewed as a classic due to its impressive cast. White Heat, 1949 Warner Brothers Themes: Psychopath, Mother Complex, job gone wrong Conventions: Guns, Heists, fire Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) is the sadistic leader of a ruthless gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his 'Ma,' Cody is a volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Technical Specs Runtime: 114 min Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound System) Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 Certification: PG13 Critically the film was very well received at the time; it has now gone on to be recognised as a classic. The film was recognised in “Time” magazine top 100 films. White Heat inspired many heist films that followed in the early 50’s.
  7. 7. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • Directors were beginning to gain more power over the studio; allowing for more creative productions • Hayes Laws abolished; allowing for more violence and arguably more realism • Actors were no longer bound to contracts to studios; allowing for more up and coming film makers and less of a monopoly • White Heat introduced the theme of psychopathy and loneliness to the genre rather than the conventional Gangster Heads of Al Capone • Films remained ‘noir’ due to the lack of money both during and after the war • Films were stylized • Pulp fiction became the focus of movies of the era rather than the previous contemporary works on Al Capone • James Cagney’s performance in White Heat personified one of the changes of the era. Cagney was the most iconic star of his era and whilst he used to appear in gangster movies about glamorous mobs; his performance in White Heat showed ‘gangster’ films could now be about one man’s struggle rather than a mans glorious mob
  8. 8. 1950’S Armoured Car Robbery, 1950 RKO Radio Pictures Themes Heist, crime, job gone wrong Conventions: Guns, Suits, Swing, Cars, Noir Dave Purvis (Charles McGraw) takes pride in being unknown to the law, though famed among fellow crooks as a planner He plots a holdup in meticulous detail; but things go wrong, a cop and two robbers are killed, and Purvis hides out with the money while Lieut. Cordell, friend of the dead cop, investigates. Purvis's new getaway plan shows promise, but may have one tiny flaw. Technical Specs: Runtime: 67 min Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound System) Colour: Black and White Certification: PG Critics response was mixed, some calling the film “an okay cops and robbers melodrama” The film is now seen as a base for other gangster films of its time. And is analysed at universities as a noir classic. On The Water Front, 1954 Columbia Pictures Themes: Police Corruption, retirement Conventions: Guns, Violence, Noir An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman (Marlon Brando) struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. Technical Specs Runtime: 108 min Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording) Colour: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 The movie was well received and helped further launch Brando as a star; leading to his eventual leading role as ‘The Godfather’
  9. 9. This is a shot clearly influenced by film noir from ‘Armored Car Robbery’. The shot is clearly influenced because of the use of shadow on the walls which often foreshadows danger in ‘noir’ films. The use of shadow was a key theme due to the limited budget following the war; directors had to be subtle and savvy with their use of stage equipment such as lighting.
  10. 10. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • Films had now moved away from the film noir trend due to an increase in funds meaning more extravagant sets • The move away from Film Noir in the mid 50’s was arguably vulgar but was motivated by the one thing studios are around for; money. Crowds did not go wild for film noir • Gangsters had now become more business like as a convention in the Gangster genre; covering tracks by tipping off police • Film noir films remained minimalist and suggestive for example in ‘Rififi’ the most violent scene is a pjone dropping to show a woman had her throat slit. Despite some films being liberated by more relaxed studios on violence; some still preferred subtlety • Heist movies were born as a gangster sub genre to gangster films e.g Rififi • Nostalgia had once again become a theme for Gangster Movies
  11. 11. 1960’S Point Blank, 1967 Themes: Individual against many, loneliness, womanising, murder, psychology of a criminal mind, retribution, noir Conventions: Smart suits, guns, Los Angeles After being betrayed and left for dead, our protagonist must try to get back the money taken from him by any means possible. Lee Marvin is double crossed by his partner and left by his partner in crime, he aims to get back his money by any means possible. Technical Specs Running time: 92 minutes The film was not a box office success but has gone on to become a cult classic amongst fans of Film Noir and is regarded as a classic. However the film was regarded as an excellent film by some forward thinking critics at the time. Listed in “1,001 films to see before you die” Bonnie and Clyde, 1967 Warner Bros Themes: Romance, robbery, on the run Conventions: Smart suits and hats, Guns The female Bonnie and Clyde live a life on the run, earning their money by robbing shop. They are two of the most wanted criminals in America at the time. The movie is a biopic of Bonnie Technical Specs: Bonnie And Clyde was seen as the birth of modern cinema, with more explicit violence and sex than before it broke many cinema ‘taboos’. This made the film hugely popular with the teen demographic. Arguably, it was the forefather of films such as ‘mean girls’ and ‘twilight, it showed there The film was a romantic and almost comic take on traditional gangster movies. However the director, Arthur Penn looked to incorporate ‘French New Wave’ cinema techniques in to the film such as high cutting ratio. The film was highly sexualised for its time, it includes Bonnie suggestively caressing a gun as the film sexually glamorised crime. Slant Magazine reviewer Nick Schager notes in a 2003 review: "What makes Point Blank so extraordinary, however, is not its departures from genre conventions, but Boorman's virtuoso use of such unconventional avant- garde stylistics to saturate the proceedings with a classical noir mood of existential torpor and romanticized fatalism.” The film has a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  12. 12. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • The genre came dangerous close to going stale and dying before increased violence from movies such as Bonnie And Clyde • The lull in the genre meant more nostalgia meaning more movies about prohibition were created for example even Bonnie And Clyde was based on an event 20 years old • Bonnie And Clyde pushed the boundaries of sex and violence in movies, by doing so it created it’s own conventions of the gangster genre such as sex sacenes that would soon be copied in The Godfather and future iconic movies • Sex within films had now become a shattered taboo • Blood was now increasingly used as a prop or effect in films; marking films becoming increasingly violent • Bonnie And Clyde introduced an unusual theme of love to a previously male dominated convention of Gangster movies
  13. 13. 1970’S Get Carter, 1971 Certification: 18 MGM Productions Conventions: Regional accents, Guns, Smart suits, colloquialisms Themes: Retribution, realistic portrayal, anti hero London Gangster, Jack Carter (Michael Caine) travels back to his hometown to investigate the death of his brother. After getting a feel for the city Carter seeks his revenge Technical Specs: The film was admired by critics for its professionalism however criticised for it’s violence and Carter’s lack of remorse. The film pushed British film making boundaries and is now a Cult Classic. Both Caine and Hodges wanted to make a very realistic representation of a gangster’s life in England during this time. Caine took inspiration from real life criminals whereas Hodges and cinematographer Wolfgang Suchitzky studied documentary film for a more realistic feeling approach. Use of local bystanders and hundreds of local extras made the film feel more realistic. The Godfather, 1973 Certification:18 Paramount Pictures Themes: Coming of age, love, Michael finding himself, 40’s-50’s America, Cuba, Italy, America Conventions: Violence, Mafia, Suits, Guns, Cigars The aging patriarch of an organised crime ring, Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) transfers his empire to his reluctant son, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) Technical Specs: Over the shoulder shots and lighting as a connotation of power Certification:18 The film is widely recognised as the best ever gangster movie and one of the greatest films of all time. Seen as the benchmark for gangster movies. Went on to become a loved trilogy; albeit the third is not as greatly loved as the previous two. Listed as the second greatest American made movie after ‘Citizen Kane’ The film uses low angles almost every time Don is shot to reinforce his power. Nino Rota’s music is often used throughout the film, seen as one of the greatest movie scores of all time. Reverse shots, low angle, manner of close ups.
  14. 14. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • The godfather became known as the greatest movie of all time • Get Carter spawned a British gangster genre of films; Michael Caine opened up opportunities for actors such as Ray Winstone; actors with regional accents now had a greater chance of becoming an actor • A London accent became a convention of British gangster movies • Violence in Gangster Movies had further increased since Bonnie And Clyde pushed the boundaries with a man having his hand pinned to a table by a knife in ‘The Godfather’ being a particularly shocking scene for the time. This in contrast to ‘Rififi’ which had purely suggested and minimalist violence • Blood became a convention of the genre; often satuarated to increase the dramatic effect by Directors • Gangsters became linked to politics and industry for example gambling in The Godfather which gave birth to many spin offs • Blaxploitation movies arrived as a sub genre • Godfather was about nostalgia in the time of prohibition; compared to a non nostalgic 30’s • The Godfather was seen as such a realistic portrayal of Gangsters that many Gangsters would refer to watching it 2 or 3 times in their memoirs or courtcase. This meant some chose to use the vocabulary of Don Corleone rather than the slang from a film such as ‘mean streets’
  15. 15. 1980’S Scarface, 1983 Certification:18 Production Company: Universal Pictures In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel, while succumbing to greed Themes: Rags to Riches, Rise And Fall, Drugs, America, greed Conventions: Colloquial accent, suits, guns, violence, drug trade, drug taking Technical aspects: Runtime:170 mins Sound mix: 4-Track Stereo Colour: Technicolour Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 Certificate: 18 Once upon a time in America, 1984 The Ladd company Cerification:18 Themes: Regret, New York Conventions: Suits, Guns, violencei Received a 15 minute standing ovation at the 1984 Cannes Festival. The uncut version is considered to be in the top ten best gangster movies The film is spaced out over a number of years, it is chronological and almost runs through the whole of Noodles life Scarface, upon its first release, drew controversy regarding the violence and graphic language in the film, and received many negative reviews from movie critics, the movie is now recognized as a classic and it’s phrases coined by millions Angles: In Scarface Brian uses the full on basic eye-level angles in the movie. There is only one important low angle shot and that is when Tony is looking up at Frank's girlfriend (Phieffer) as she descends down from up above like a (symbolism),symbolisng an angel floating down from heaven, she had on a nice dress/gown thing on too. One important high angle shot was when Frank finally confronted Tony in the club while he was pushing up on his girlfriend. Although Frank confronted Tony and tried to assert himself, the director showed Tony's dominance in the argument by placing Tony up on the platform looking down on Frank, while Frank was forced to look upon Tony.This choice of angle was extremely important because it was showing the role reversal, the shift of power between the two characters. A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life. Technical Specs Runtime: 229 min | 139 min (re-cut) | 259 min (Director's Cut Extended Edition) ( 2012) Sound Mix: Mono Color: Color Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
  16. 16. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • The dealing of cocaine replaced the need to refer to the ‘roaring 20’s’ bootlegging • The cocaine epidemic made movies such as scarface contemporary again and not only was it a return to the contemporary notion of the 30’s it also reintroduced glamorous kingpins e.g Scarface being a modern day Cuban version of Al Capone • British Gangster movies also became contemporary; with the politicial backdrop of Thatcher and her reintroduction of a more rigid class system meant that the theme of average Joe’s being forced in to crimes to become rich was all the more realistic • Films increased again drastically in violence, swearing and sex • Budgets for gangster films became larger for example the glamorous sets of Scarface; this was due to the genre’s rejuvenation after The Godfather; this caused a new R-rated certification to be introduced in America • Gangster films were now almost all ‘18’ certificates; they had found their target market of young and middle aged men. The films represented a gangsters life so realistically that it would be dangerous to expose the film to younger viewers
  17. 17. 1990’S Goodfellas 1990 Certification: 18 Paramount Pictures The story follows Henry Hill (Liotta) in his attempt to achieve his dream of becoming a gangster. Themes: Rags to Riches, love, gang life, being “made” Conventions: Mafia, Suits, Colloquialisms, violence, weapons, drugs, prison Goodfellas challenges ‘The Godfather’ for the title of the greatest gangster movie to be made. Pulp Fiction, 1994 Certification: 18 Jersey Films Themes: Short stories, Hard Drugs, Drug Trade, Romance Conventions: Guns, Hard drugs, sex, suits, regional accents Tarantino, himself felt that the non- linear style of the film forced audiences to increase concentration levels more on the film. The film was a huge hit on its tour of the many film festivals. Tarantino followed on from reservoir dogs in making a film that is not linear, this was seen as a pioneering technique. Over dramatized shots for example when Travolta looks in to the briefcase it beams gold light. POV shots of when Travolta and Jackson kill Flock of Seagulls. There is flash also in some of Mr. Scorsese's directorial choices, including freeze frames, fast cutting and the occasional long tracking shot. The film opens in a similar way to Scorcese’s ‘taxi driver’ with shots beautifully cut to match a cars travel through the night. Red is often used throughout the film to represent the misdemeanors of being a gangster. The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. The film follows the characters of Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L.Jackson, Tim Roth and John Travolta. The film launched the careers of Samuel L.Jackson and Uma Thurman as household names. It also revitalised Travolta; not typecasting him after he was seen as old and ‘down and out’ as an actor. Technical Specs Runtime: 154 min | 168 min (special edition) Sound Mix: Dolby Digital Color: Color Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 Certification: 18 Technical Specs Runtime: 146 min Sound Mix: Dolby SR Color: Color (Technicolor) Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1 Certification: 18
  18. 18. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA •The most major change in the 90’s was by Tarantino who introduced non- linear storylines with first reservoir dogs and then Pulp fiction; bringing a new dynamic to the genre •Tarantino further progressed the theme of using blood as a product of art direction; in Reservoir Dogs it is stylized that the men wear black and white; the red of the blood is shown many times on the shirts of the characters •The ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs meant that Tarantino could not really go any further with his violence; His films that followed are so violent that they border on parody e.g Kill Bill •Goodfellas saw a convention continued from the classic ‘Once Upon A Time In America in following a boys travels to becoming a gangster; a theme echoed in the following era
  19. 19. 00’S Cicade De Deus (City Of God), 2002 Certification: 18 Miramax Themes: Child violence, Brazillian life, slums, coming of age, drugs, drug trade Conventions: Guns, Violence, Drugs, Hard Drugs, Drug Trade, blood The film is unusual as it depicts children using drugs and partaking in extreme violence. It is not the first film to use children in gangs but unlike ‘Bugsy Malone’ real bullets are fired, not custard. Audience Appeal- The film is well known worldwide and was nominated for an Academy Award, it is a cult movie that is well known amongst the teenage demographic today. It’s popularity with teenagers in the UK is unusual for a Portugese motion picture. The film made TIME magazine’s top 100 list of the all time best movies. One of the unique things about City Of God is that nearly all of the cast come from favelas, similar to “Get Carter” this makes the film chillingly realistic. The film uses a series of fast cuts and makes numerous of close-ups. The film won a BAFTA for best editing. A notable impressive shot is when Rocket is surrounded at the beginning of the film, the camera circles him and we end up seeing Rocket playing football in the same position in the 1960’s. The opening shots of a loose chicken are a metaphor for the wild children, who like the chicken have no direction. The Departed, 2006 Certification: 18 Warner Brothers Themes: Spying, Double agents, personal duel, Identity, father-son relationship Conventions: Irish Boston population, Guns, Violence, Police A steadicam is often used throughout the film, giving it a dynamic feel. Tracking Shots often used. Two Shots are used to introduce the initially mysterious boss at the beginning of the film. Brazil, 1960's, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970's: Li'l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980's: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Technical Specs Runtime: 130 min | 135 min Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | SDDS Color: Color Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1 Certification: 18 An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat. Technical Specs Runtime: 151 min Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS Color: Color Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 Certification: 18 The Departed was highly anticipated and was released on October 6, 2006 to universal acclaim. A rare classic for the decade, the 00’s are a low point for this genre
  20. 20. KEY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE ERA • The naughties saw the change from film to digital; allowing for more takes and a different look of films. • City Of God continued the trend of ‘Once Upon A Time In America’’s coming of age gangster movie • Tarantino moved away from serious violence in Reservoir Dogs to parody-like violence in ‘Kill Bill’ • Scorcese dropped mafia films and made more Irish-gangs Gangster Movies • Audiences became once again more tolerant of foreign film with City Of God’s success mirroring the previous French Gangster popularity as seen in Pepe Le Moko and Rififi • Gangster Movies both American with Kill Bill (Yakuza- sub genre) and British Gangster movie Sexy Beast were increasingly surrealist

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