Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Little Caesar (1931)

The rise and fall of an underworld crime thug (Edward G. Robinson). See The Public Enemy and Scarface. Rinse and repeat.

Little Caesar was a big hit and made Robinson a star and became the gangster stereotype, see? His full name is Caesar Enrico Bandello, or Rico for short. Or Little Caesar because he is short. His buddy is played by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. not to be confused with his far more talented silent screen star father. Well, at least Junior made it past 60. Junior’s Joe wants out because he falls in love with his dancing partner (Glenda Farrell) in one of the most unconvincing and chemistry-less scenes imaginable. Still, the love and dancing makes Rico think Joe is soft, see?

Pre-code films had to play a game. In order to show the sex and violence that audiences craved they pretended to offer a cautionary tale. See the evils if good men are not diligent? Few were fooled but it was enough to keep the censors at bay.

So, was Rico gay? Hear me through. Joe is soft, Rico thinks, because he loves a woman. Rico acts almost jealous, like a spurned lover. And when he is first on the lamb, where does he hold out? A fruit store. Reading too much into this, am I? Of course I am.

Somewhat entertaining and historically significant, Little Caesar codified the sounds and mannerisms of the prohibition gangster. And don’t think that the racketeer Influenced and corrupt organizations act name was just a coincidence. AMRU 3.
“Well, that was white of him alright.”

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