Books and Movies Reviews

Crime and Violence in Film

The films Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn) and Scarface (1932, Howard Hawks) are set in the same basic time period, the 1930s, though the films were made more than thirty years apart and reflect different sensibilities in keeping with the time of production.At the same time, they also reflect certain similar ideas about the nature of crime and violence, its origin, and the societal elements that contribute to crime and violence.Both films are violent, though the 1967 film is more overtly violent and also more able to show the results of violence in a more realistic way as people whoa re shot bleed, often profusely, unlike the characters in the 1932 film, who are more likely to be shot and expire with hardly a mark on them.
The gangster film is a uniquely American genre based on a number of images and characters found in film after film. Thomas Schatz describes film genres as something that can be viewed as systems that have developed within the confines of commercial filmmaking in order to sell films to audiences that want a certain type of experience.Any genre can also be defined as a cultural artifact that becomes a meaningful system when recognized as such.The gangster genre is one genre based on an inherent ambiguity in terms of the underlying value system, and in time this ambiguity has worked its way into American culture (Schatz 95).The screen gangster emerged from headlines beginning in the 1920s as “Hollywood exploited the notoriety and social significance of their real-world counterparts while it adjusted their character and environment to the peculiar demands of Hollywood narrativity” (Schatz 82).Scarface is such a fim and was produced at a time when the pubic was much interested in and frightened of gangsters who were at the time creating a bloodbath on the streets of cities like Chicago.
Scarface Camonte in the 1932 film is an ambitious man on the rise in his world because of his brutality, and th…

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