Its seminal importance in the early gangster movie cycle outweighed only by its still exhilarating brilliance, this Howard Hughes production was the one unflawed classic the tycoon was involved with. Hawks and head screenwriter Ben Hecht were after an equation between Capone and the Borgias: they provided so much contentious meat for the censors amid the violent crackle of Chicago gangland war that they managed to slip a subsidiary incest theme through unnoticed. Two years' haggling ended with the subtitle Shame of a Nation being appended, one cardboard denunciation scene being added, and a hanging finale being substituted for the shootout - happily restored - which closes proceedings with forceful poetry. Unmissable - if only as the first film in which George Raft flips a dime...
Cast and crew
Ben Hecht, Seton I Miller, John Lee Mahin, WR Burnett
Paul Muni Ann Dvorak Karen Morley Osgood Perkins Boris Karloff C Henry Gordon George Raft Vince Barnett