Review: ‘Scarface’

Scarface is a grandiose modern morality play, excessive, broad and operatic at times. Film's origins lie in the 1932 Howard Hughes production directed by Howard Hawks and adapted by Ben Hecht from the novel by Armitage Trail. Contours of the saga are very similar to those of the original, as the nearly three-hour effort charts the rise and fall of an ambitious young thug who for awhile becomes the biggest shot in gangsterdom, but ultimately is just too dumb to stay at the top.

Scarface is a grandiose modern morality play, excessive, broad and operatic at times. Film’s origins lie in the 1932 Howard Hughes production directed by Howard Hawks and adapted by Ben Hecht from the novel by Armitage Trail. Contours of the saga are very similar to those of the original, as the nearly three-hour effort charts the rise and fall of an ambitious young thug who for awhile becomes the biggest shot in gangsterdom, but ultimately is just too dumb to stay at the top.

Docu prolog recounts how some 25,000 criminals entered the United States in 1980 during the boatlift from Mariel Harbor in Cuba. Among them, per this fiction, was one Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who impresses local Miami kingpin Robert Loggia. Thanks to the fact that he has nerves of steel and ice in his veins, Pacino moves up fast in the underworld and establishes a crucial personal link with Bolivian cocaine manufacturer Paul Shenar.

All this is brought off by scripter Oliver Stone and director Brian De Palma in efficient, sometimes stylish fashion.

Performances are all extremely effective, with Pacino leading the way. Michelle Pfeiffer does well with a basically one-dimensional role as blonde WASP goddess. Shenar is oustanding as the cool, well-bred Bolivian.

Scarface

Production

Universal. Director Brian De Palma; Producer Martin Bregman; Screenplay Oliver Stone; Camera John A. Alonzo; Editor Jerry Greenberg, David Ray; Music Giorgio Moroder; Art Director Ed Richardson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 170 MIN.

With

Al Pacino Steven Bauer Michelle Pfeiffer Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Robert Loggia F. Murray Abraham
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading