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Hollywood Movie Memories » Crime/Gangster


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Top Gangster Movies – A Look Back at the History of Gangster Films

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

While gangster films grabbed a larger audience during the 1930’s after the invention of the “talkies,” the silent era also provided us with a few incredible motion pictures depicting the world of “organized crime.”

1912 gave us the first real gangster film with D.W. Griffith’s The Musketeers of Pig Alley which told the story of organized crime in the western world. Prior to this full-length feature there were a few one-reel films released as early as 1904-1906. They included, The Moonshiners (1904), Edwin S. Porter’s A Desperate Encounter Between Burglars and Police (1905), and Wallace McCutcheons 1906 documentary of a kidnapping, The Black Hand

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Crime and Gangster Movies: A Hollywood Fascination

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Cold-blooded murder, gang wars and explosions – was it a Hollywood production? No, it was the streets of Chicago during the 1920’s. The publics fascination with real crime and gangsters was a guilty pleasure that helped generate huge profits for Hollywood. What was happening on the streets during the 20’s would fuel the popularity of the crime and gangster movie genre in the 1930’s and 1940’s. So much so, that a new classification of movie emerged – film noir.   

The history of the crime and gangster movie has its roots in the silent films of the early part of the 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the late 1920’s through the 30’s that these films became a bit more lifelike to moviegoers. The high-profile existence of actual gangsters, their crimes, and the amount of puplicity they received caused this movie genre to flourish. These included notorious names such as Al Capone and John Dillinger. Gangsters became as widely identifiable to the general public as presidents.  On the movie screen, these characters were often portrayed as being money hungry, violent and inclined to shoot first and ask questions later. Film-goers loved it!

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