1920`s Gangsters and their effect on gangster culture
Al Capone clearly had the largest effect on gang influence at the time, a modern day gangster of the 1920`s, usually drank in excess as a way of rebelling against the prohibition laws, they had to dress smartly normally in suits to be associated with these gangsters.
In the 1920`s the prohibition act was in place which made the era a haven for the crime known as bootlegging this industry was ruled by Al Capone, in 1932 Capone was sent jail shortly after followed the release Scarface: shame of a nation, the films main character was loosely based on Al Capone
Codes & conventions and influences of the time
The typical conventions of 1930`s gangster genre are smart suits, acts of violence, murder, weapons and luxury items associated with the lifestyle such as cigars and fine liquors, the influence from the time is obvious here as Al Capone was well known for fulfilling all the above conventions. He wore the most expensive suits money could buy, constantly smoked cigars and once stabbed someone to death at a dinner party with a fork rather than a knife.
… He started off as the Cuban immigrant Tony Montana he became Scarface. “ All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don’t break em for no one”.
Tony Montana was a Cuban immigrant who came over in the mariel boats in the 80`s. carrying out an assassination to earn a green card and job for the mafia, Tony eventually was offered a job by umar under boss of Frank Lopez to buy some cocaine, the deal went horribly wrong his friend Angel being killed by a chainsaw but he managed to escape with the money and the cocaine, Frank offers Tony a job , rising up the ranks fast Tony is sent by Frank to meet with Bolivian drug lord Sosa where umar is hanged from a helicopter , fearing for his life Tony arrages a 400 kilo a month deal with Sosa. Frank outraged tries to have Tony killed, it back fires Tony escapes and kills frank . Tony now doing business with Sosa gets caught by DEA laundering 1.3 million in cash, Sosa promises Tony he will escape if he kills a journalist about to go international on Sosa's drug business, tony agrees and plants a bomb in the car of the journalist but seeing the journalist is with his wife and kids refuses to kill him
The cocaine craze of the 80`s and the real life character Tony Montana was the inspiration for the film Scarface. In the 1980`s a 125,000 Mariel Cuban refugees that illegally invaded Miami-Dade County contained 50,000 murderers, psychopaths, criminally insane, drug pushers, hit men, enforcers, prostitutes and misfits that made "Miami the Murder Capital of the world with 621 murders. Fountain Bleu A large portion of Miami was built on cocaine money, the dealers tried to launder their illegal money into real estate but when the buildings were under construction the dealers were conveniently arrested and the properties seized by the government
Codes & conventions and influences of the time
The codes and conventions have changed dramatically since the 1932 version of Scarface , the conventions now focus much more on drugs and money i.e. cocaine, the original conventions are also a lot more elaborate , the violence is a lot more graphic , the guns are custom made (exaggerates the power of the gangsters), the suits look more flash and the characters are larger than life. Scarface is a very realistic representation Miami in the 1980`s.
“ This is life this is what's real” Caine “ You wanna buy this cheeseburger man” South Central L.A
In the mid 1990`s black and Hispanic gang culture has dominated the streets of USA mainly focusing in a few states such as California, Miami and Chicago.
Their are hundreds of reasons why this up rise has taken place such as the increase in popularity in Gangster Rap, the heroin industry becoming more popular and the constant racial tension dating back as far as the 1920`s when a recession forced millions on to the streets making it hard for anyone to get a job and almost impossible for minorities due to racial prejudice against black people still being very strong
Codes & conventions and the influences of the time
The conventions in Menace to society are similar to that of Brian De Palmas Scarface but in a racially tense context. The opening sequence of the film sees the main characters being watched as if they are about two steal and then retaliating and shooting the Chinese shop keepers. The code of racial discrimination is instantly shown here and the original conventions of murder and violence. One of the main reasons why this culture grew so quick and became so popular is due to the east coast west coast feud in gangster rap between Christopher Wallace (east coast) and Tupac Amaru Shakur (west coast), this influenced the convention of unity between ethnic groups as well.
Final Statement Over the years gangster culture has changed a lot, as the culture has changed the film genre has tried to replicate the style of the culture meaning that it is constantly changing , starting out with mild violence and Tommy guns proceeding into extreme violence and specialised hand guns. Gangster genre codes and conventions are a constantly changing thing just like the culture in real life.