Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Caesar (1931), Mervyn LeRoy.

I liked this one.  Edward G Robinson plays a wholly unlikeable psychopath, dead-set on rising in the world of crime.  He's trigger happy, making his low-end crook buddies nervous, and throws his angry glare like a knife.  Rather than playing on accents and other affectations, his ethnicity comes out in the setting:  the Palermo Social Club, the corner store selling Italian products, the church.  Rather than a stereotype, he's a character.  He's a strange teetotaler who rebuffs half a dozen offers to drink but succumbs to his vice at the film's end.  Interestingly, no woman plays any particular significance - Rico has no mother, no sister, no girlfriend.  He doesn't even seem particularly keen on his buddy's girl - he'd rather shoot her into hamburger! 

A sweaty, confused Rico - back on the sauce.

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