Film on Friday

Little Caesar.jpg

The American Treasure Tour has a wonderful collection of movie posters, actor headshots, and film still images that span from the beginning of cinema to today. We love our silent films here - and pretty much everything that's out there. Today's blog is going to give a shout out to what many film historians consider the first true gangster film ever made - Little Caesar. It came out in 1931 and, although it was most definitely a talkie, the sound was recorded on the Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology used before sound-on-film became the exclusive standard. It also happens to be the movie that made Edward G. Robinson not only a star, but also typecast him as a ruthless gangster.  Robinson would never escape that character for his career, despite quality performances in other films.

Little Caesar tells the story of two petty criminals, Rico (Robinson) and Joe (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) who move to Chicago to hit the big time. When Joe decides to get out of crime to dance, he meets resistance from Rico, who doesn't let him off that easy. There's cruelty and violence, but also compassion in this textured film that merits watching. And don't worry - although it was written before Hollywood became truly censored, everything in it will seem quite tame by today's standards.