Al Capone

The gangster's gangster, Al Capone has been portrayed by Paul Muni, Ben Gazzara, Wallace Beery, Robert DeNiro, Lee J. Cobb, and other movie mugs. But Rod Steiger is probably the first method mobster. With his bulldog body and torqued temper, Steiger pushed Capone's megalomania to the limits of his spittle-spewing style. Director Richard Wilson's finely antiqued recreation has Al Capone moving to Prohibition-era Chicago to become an enforcer for Johnny Torrio (Nehemiah Persoff), a moonshine mogul. The city has been divvied up by several mobsters, with Bugs Moran (Murvyn Vye) the other big-time bootlegger. When a gang war breaks out, Capone is all too ready to roll out the barrels, double and smoking, leading to a St. Valentine's Day Massacre that, in market terms, eliminated the competition. Hair-triggered and ever-mistrusting, Steiger is staggering as the shaky kingpin who saw his downfall in every double-breasted dealing. This atmospheric actioner can barely control Capone's ascension to the upper reaches of the underworld.

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