Scarface and Superfly as Classical and Modernist Films

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Scarface and Superfly as Classical and Modernist Films

Crime and gangster films have been around since the 1920s, making them one of the oldest genres in film. Today, crime and gangster films are still popular amongst the audiences as they continue to intrigue viewers with murders, gangs and gang wars, crime, and violence. According to Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, these films contain certain characteristics. These characteristics include characters that live on the edge of crime mystery, a violent society, plots of crime, and a dark and shadowy setting (338). Though many years have passed, these characteristics have always been maintained and followed in crime and gangster movies. What makes these films different from one another is the time period in which they were created. The earliest crime movies would enforce the myth that crime always pays, distinguish morality and ethics, and would complete the story of the film. On the other hand, films in the modernist era would challenge these features in order to portray a different crime film. In examining these features, it can be seen that Scarface (1932) is considered a classical film while Superfly (1972) is deemed modernist because of their representation of these elements.

Scarface is viewed as classical film because of it portrayal and confirmation of the crime and gangster genre mythology. The myth in crime and gangster films is that crime always pays and the criminal always loses. In the movie Scarface, this myth is upheld and is the main factor that moves the movie along. Scarface follows the life of Tony Camonte, a power-hungry gangster looking for fame and wealth. Tony is the right-hand man to Johnny Lovo, a big time crime boss. Lovo and Tony are in the business of selling illegal alcohol during the time of prohibition. In a short amount of time, the two take control of the South side of town by taking down rival gangs. Tony, unsatisfied with the power and wealth, undermines his boss and...
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