Thursday, March 3, 2011

Capone (1975, Steve Carver)

Coming March 29th from Shout! Factory is the 1975 Roger Corman produced story of Al Capone, succinctly titled Capone.  This new disc marks the first US DVD release of this film, which is very surprising based on the great cast.  I myself had never even heard of the film until recently but it instantly became a must see for me.

Capone stars Ben Gazzara as the man himself, Alphonse Capone, who starts his life of crime as a simple hood trying to get recognized by the big boys.  After mob boss Johnny Torrio (Harry Guardino) sees the potential in Capone, he appoints him his right hand man.  Al's violent streak is looked down upon by the other crime bosses, but after wasting most of the competition, he himself becomes a respected leader.  Along the way Capone becomes involved with a flapper named Iris (Susan Blakely) and acquires his own right hand man, Frank Nitti (Sylvester Stallone).

Honestly, I don't know much about the historical facts of Al Capone's life.  It's probably been 20 years since I've seen the Untouchables and with many films about Capone out there, who knows which are accurate?  Though I'm sure this film adds some fiction in with the facts, it was convincing enough to make for a great watch.  Oddly enough, the screenplay was written by Howard Browne, who also wrote the 1967 Roger Corman film The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, also based around Al Capone.  Capone (the film) actually has a lot going for it, especially for cult movie fans.  There is loads of blood, profanity, nudity and violence (all Corman staples), as well as a great cast (which also includes John Cassavetes and Corman regulars Dick Miller and Martin "Kreese from The Karate Kid" Kove).  Gazzara is in top form here as the gravel voiced, puffy cheeked gangster and Stallone does a great job playing the impassive Frank Nitti.  Shout! Factory's DVD is (unsurprisingly) another stunning release, with a pristine widescreen transfer, an informative commentary with director Steve Carver (another Corman regular), and some vintage trailers.

RATING:  9/10

Pre Order now from Shout! Factory HERE - release date 3/29/11

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