Scarface: a world of black and white – and red


The Brian de Palma film of Oliver Stone's screenplay for Scarface (1983) is a landmark film of the 80s. Despite lacklustre reviews on opening, it became an enormous global hit and confirmed Al Pacino as a worldwide star.

The poster image for the film, a simplified graphic presentation of Pacino's Tony Montana in black and white and toting a powerful handgun, perfectly expresses the simplified moral universe of the late 20th century American gangster film.

We've already looked at how Hollywood managed to re-invent itself, after the moribund decade of the 1960s, by connecting with the energy and themes of independent and new wave film making. A significant element in this process was the renewed engagement, by Hollywood, with the historical legacy of American cinema. Nowhere was this more successfully realised than in the re-interpretation of the American gangster genre.

(The Guardian UK)


Classic Movies, Commentary

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