Watching William Wellman’s 1931 film “The public enemy” made me realize that no matter the time frame that these gangster films follow the same Blueprint for their movies. It starts off with a young guy whom is exposed to the gangster lifestyle and then rises to the top. Once the rise to the top you see how they ruine relationships with loved ones and loose them selves to drugs and alcohol and then of course later on the demise. Incorporated through that line up of course is guns,death and women.
Probably like many others watching this film probably reminded you of SCAR FACE, they both basically followed the exact same format to me except that one was colored and one was black and white . Of course SCAR FACE is more graphic due to the times. Many guys love the movie SCAR FACE and would consider it to be a classic movie. Maybe theres a specific blueprint for these films simply because it works, it reminds me of the phrase if it aint broke dont fix it. People enjoy these films because its considered probably a cool life style to live but some realistically cant.
The main character in this film Tom, was an authentic actor to me especially for this time period. The way he would incorporate his body made his character more realistic to me and it stood out to me even more during arguement scenes with his brother because it showed me different levels of acting. As the film progresses Tom’s character beginns to peal shedding light in how he operates. He has social issues with woman (like most men with power do), hes loyal to his fellow man, he’s street smart, and he shows emotions in his own form. Tom isn’t doesnt like to show emotion so when he wold tap peoples chin with his fist (particularly his mother) , to me it was a form of a hard exterior person showing they care. Him tapping his moms chin and her tapping it back to me was “I love you & I love you too”. Scenes that stood out to me was his interaction with women. He was very controlling with women and even abusive in some scenes which i found surpising because of the time of this film. He was a man in power and it was known.
Since I touched on the women of the film, the blonde love interest of Tom whos name I was Gwen i believe landed the cover of the film with Tom. Initially i wasnt sure why because he role wasnt major but she did remind me of Marilyn Monroe because of the whole blonde bomb shell look. They probably used her on the cover because of the publicity she would bring. Although her character may have came off as a easy woman, (because most women in the film was) she proved other wise that she didnt sleep with Tom at all.
THE PUBLIC ENEMY in the beginning and ending of the film had brief memos to the audience. To sum it up the memos basically was saying that this film wasn’t to sensationalize the lifestyle but to show how it does exist and that the death of Tom represents a end to hoodlums in the community. I beg to differ because film this barely shows any law enforcement. Tom’s death was due to opposing Gangsters, and it gave the impression that his brother would seek revenge, which shows a cycle of violence. If the police had put an end to this and maybe had some arrests which would lead to Tom’s demise then it would’ve been different.
Overall i did enjoy what the film had to offer , probably also because it felt so familiar to me. Despite that Tom was the bad guy ou learned to like him, and understand him. The film also teaches some facts with the showing of the 18th amendment of prohibition, and how alcohol played its role in Tom’s business. The film was probably controversial because of the on air killings and abuse , it stunned me to knwo that the most controversial scene was the tailoring scene. I found it to be comedic but non the less i guess homosexuality was too much of a taboo factor. If You enjoyed SCARE FACE, GODFATHER or any modern day gangster film then you would probably enjoy this one aswell.