Crime and Gangster Films

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Final Essay Assignment
FMVD150-American Cinema Classics

Crime and Gangster Films
The gangster genre rose in popularity during the 1930s and most historians locate the beginning of its classical phase at this time. The gangster films became an excellent system to exhibit cinema's sound capacities: ballistic machine gun fire, screeching tires and sharp streets electrified the screen. The rise also coincided with historical conditions of Prohibition, such as notorious real gangsters, like Al Capone, and violent outbreak, such as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. They are developed around the malignant actions of Gangsters such as bank robbers, underworld bosses, or ruthless criminals who disobey the law, violently murdering and stealing their way through life.

Gangster stories often highlight the life of a gangster figure or victims of the gangster. They sometimes also portray the rise and fall of gangsters through their personal power struggle and conflict with the law, or competing gangsters. Headline-grabbing situations, real-life gangsters, or crime news have often been used in crime films. Gangster/crime films are usually set in large, jam-packed cities, to provide a view of the covert world of the gangster: contraband, dark nightclubs or streets with flashy neon signs, super cars, tons of cash, bars, run down homes or boarding houses. Unusual locations for crimes often add an element of adventure and wealth. Writers conjured up appropriate gangland lingo for the tales, such as "tommy guns" or "molls."

Film gangsters are usually selfish, street-smart, corrupt, and self-destructive. Rivalry with other criminals in gangster warfare is often a significant plot characteristic. Crime plots also include questions such as how the criminal will be seized by police, detectives, special agents or legal authorities, or mysteries such as who stole the valued object. They rise to power with a tough cruel facade while showing an ambitious desire for...
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