a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Little Caesar (1931), starring Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Glenda Farrell.
Per Wikipedia: “The story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons.”
Caesar Enrico Bandello (Robinson) and his buddy Joe Massara (Fairbanks) are two small town hoods that want more out of life than this. Joe wants to be a dancer; to get the girls and fame so he gets a job at a local nightclub. Rico wants to be a famous gangster. Rico goes to mob boss, Sam Vettori to further his goal. Joe works with the gang, basically against his will. Joe gets pegged to help rob the nightclub he works for and that creates tension between the pals and between Joe and his gal Olga Stassoff (Farrell).
The gig goes down and Rico guns down a prominent crime commissioner. He then takes over Vettori’s gang after Vettori becomes soft. He gains prominence among other parts of the mob scene as well. How high does he rise? Is there a crash in the end? Does his ego do him in? You’ll have to watch to find that out.
This is considered one of the first ever gangster films and stars one of the genre’s most prized stars, Edward G. Robinson. The film set the groundwork for gangster films. And, it’s where Robinson’s famous and patented “yeah… look here, see? you’re through, see?” whiny, tinny voice comes through, probably most famously. I thought the film was decent, and I totally get it’s place and reverence in the film world, but I don’t think it was “all that.” There were iconic moments, I suppose. It just wasn’t captivating to me. I’m sure that would have been different in 1931, when the film came out. But in 2016, 85 years later, I guess we’ve become desensitized to all the hubbub? These films, as I’ve seen, have plenty of “overacting” and much suspension of disbelief moments. And, I looked everywhere and saw no pizza pizza in the film anywhere… I kid.
Rotten Tomatoes has it rated at 91% Fresh with an Audience Score of 76%. A fairly large gap, really. IMDb has it at 7.3 stars out of 10. It was one of the 400 nominees of both the 1998 and 2007 versions of AFI‘s 100 Years… 100 Movies lists. That’s why I watched it. You can rent it from Amazon Prime for about $3 but it’s not available on Netflix streaming, or even DVD.com at this time. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5 because of its standing and importance. Have you seen it? Do you agree with my assessment? What would you like to read/hear me review? I have a viewing/reviewing schedule through January but that doesn’t mean I can’t move stuff around.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“We gotta stick together. There’s a rope around my neck now and they only hang you once. If anyone gets yellow and squeals, my gun is gonna speak its peace. ” – Caesar Enrico Bandello