Classic Movie Of The Week 2017

Classic Movie Of The Week: Little Caesar (1930)

little-caesar-

Starring: Edward G Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Glenda Farrell

Director: Mervyn LeRoy

The 30’s and the Great Depression… And a really interesting time in movies. Film censorship hadn’t been invented yet (what would first be the Production Code, rules about what you could show in movies, would later give way to certificates about what ages could attend a film, before that anyone could see anything, and anything went!). And films had sound, with a great focus on dialogue and plot. The film industry, with it’s dream creation and fantasy, was remarkably not hit hard by the Depression, because people needed the hope, humour and escapism of cinema.

Some films were fluffy escapism, and some dealt with financial struggle. This film, Little Caesar, deals with themes of greed and corruption, and how it eventually strangles the marketplace. It’s also one of the first gangster films.

Caesar (Robinson) and best friend Joe (Fairbanks) are partners in small crime, but when they move to Chicago to hit bigger game, Caesar decides to try to make it big, and become a gangster. In the meantime, Joe starts to work as a night club entertainer, and falls for his co-star Olga (Farrell). Their lives diverge, one starting to go clean, and the other becoming ever more ruthless on his way to the top.

I suppose the idea in this film really is that the people who run the town are ruthless gangsters, who eventually in their greed and short-sightedness destroy the markets they control, just like what had happened with the stock market crash. The little guy gets crushed under these conditions, but, just like in this film, crime doesn’t pay in the long term.

Though Fairbanks is the better known name, and he became synonymous with heroic characters, I really like Robinson in this film. He’s got so much character and menace as the title character, and I have heard that after this film, he was hissed at in the street by people who recognised him from this movie. It’s a fine film, with some action, some danger, a good guy and a bad one, a bit of romance all thrown in, and well worth a watch if you love gangster films, since this is where a lot of the later genre defining tropes began.

See It If: you love gangster films, this one is for you. A wonderful film with a fine central performance.

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11 thoughts on “Classic Movie Of The Week: Little Caesar (1930)”

  1. This was a great movie – along with Citizen Kane I got my first look at it forty years ago, when Channel 9 in Melbourne played classic movies all night.
    “You can dish it out, but you got so you can’t take it no more!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gotta love those classic films. I feel sorry for Robinson if that really happened to him on the streets. On the other hand it’s also a great compliment to his acting skills 😊As always another lovely review for a movie I would otherwise have never known about 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I would not know how to respond if I were to walk along the street and had that happen to me lol.
        Well, honestly, I have had a bit of a rough time lately. So am a little bit exhausted. But I try to hang in there, and luckily I now have a vacation, so I can get some energy back. Hopefully things are well with you ? 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know, right? Laugh it off? Look menacing?
        Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that. Thats rough. I hope you get a really good vacation and get a break.
        Things are good with me. Just had my birthday yesterday, and I went horse riding.

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      3. Thank you so much, you are very kind. I will do my best to make the most of it 😀
        But wow, your birthday yesterday. I did not know that, but congratulations. Cool that you went out to go horseriding. I hope the rest of your day was fun as well. Happy belated birthday, and here’s to hopefully many more years to come 🎉🎉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you so very much for these incredibly kind words: really mean it: you are awesome. Thank you for offering, it means a lot 😊 I will do my best to keep my chin up, and honestly blogging helps me a lot as well, so that is also great 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I find blogging and movies a help when I’m down. There’s an old 90’s movie called Michael with John Travolta, and for some reason it always makes me feel better. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but I like it.
        I have a contact page, so if you need to talk ever it will drop me an email in my inbox and I can send you a reply. Just if you ever want to.

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      6. Thank so much, I don’t know what to say. It really means a lot, so thank you 😊 It certainly helps me lift my spirits as well when I write. As for the movie, thank you I will try and see if I can track that one down. Always like seeing feel good movies. Last night I started watching the Karate Kid part 2, and it also made me feel better. Love that classic nostalgic movie 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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