Scarface (1932 film)

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Scarface (also known as Scarface: The Shame of the Nation and The Shame of a Nation) is a 1932 American gangster film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, C. Henry Gordon, George Raft, Vince Barnett, Edwin Maxwell, and Boris Karloff. Howard Hughes produced the film. One of a number of Pre-Code crime films, the film centers on gang warfare and police intervention when rival gangs fight over control of a city.



The film was adapted by Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin, and W. R. Burnett from Armitage Trail's 1929 novel Scarface. Trail, whose real name was Maurice Coons, wrote for a number of detective-story magazines during the early 20s. At the age of 28, however, Trail, who struggled with morbid obesity throughout his life, died of a heart attack shortly before the release of the 1932 film.[1]

The film is loosely based upon the life of Al Capone (whose nickname was "Scarface"). Capone was rumored to have liked the film so much that he owned a print of it.[2] Ben Hecht also said that Capone's men came to visit him to make sure that the film was not based on Capone's life.[3] When he said the film was fictitious, the two men working for Capone left Hecht alone.

After repeated demands for a script rewrite from the Hays Office, Howard Hughes ordered Hawks to shoot the film and "make it as realistic, as grisly as possible." Hawks shot the film at three different locations: Metropolitan Studios, Harold Lloyd Studios and the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles. Shooting took three months with the cast and crew working seven days a week. Hawks decided to include an X symbol above each of Camonte's victims and offered each crew member a hundred dollars to think of a different way to depict the X for every murder.

Several accidents happened on the set. Comedian Harold Lloyd's brother Gaylord Lloyd lost an eye when he visited the set and was accidentally shot with live ammunition. George Raft also received a head injury during the death scene of his character when he accidentally hit the door frame while he was slumping to the floor.[4]

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