Gangster movies have always appealed to a large public crowd through its central theme of its characters being "larger-than-life. Their interactions, demeanors, and even appearances attracted those who wished to live the dangerous yet luxurious lifestyle. Beyond these simple understandings of the movie, however, directors of these gangster movies insert far more profound cues and details. The way the characters spend their money, create a first impression, interact with the non-business world (i.e. family, friends), interact with business partners, and so on, all are crucial to the understanding of the director's intentions and purpose.
In the movies Pulp Fiction (1994), White Heat (1949), and Bugsy (1991), the three directors portray their actors in very distinct and unique ways that adhere to the "gangster" image. Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction, Cody Garret (James Cagney) in White Heat, and Benjamin Siegel (Warren Beatty) in Bugsy are the three fictional and non-fictional characters who slowly develop into the "larger than life" men that viewers desire to become.
Money is always the present issue behind gangster films, as it is the initial greed and desire to purchase all of their hearts' desire which drives the men initially to their evil lifestyles. Cagney is the stereotypical gangster, treating money as his life force and using all means to obtain it. Before he turns himself in to the police, he steals money from a train. Although the viewers never know what he spends it on, it can be assumed that it is used quickly for his hedonistic ideals. After he breaks out from the prison and kills Eddie for revenge, he spends rest of the time figuring out how to steal even more money and become rich again. Cagney's cunning and greed is exemplified in the scenes in which he learns from the story of Troy and cleverly drives an opening at the bottom of a gas tank to hide the gang. Thus,... [continues]
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