So we have now moved on to talkies. Actual sound films! Now you won’t just see them, you’ll hear them too! Who would have thought? So one of the first talkies of the gangster genre would be Little Caesar. This is the film that type-casted the actor playing the title role, Edward G. Robinson, as everyone’s favorite gangster. This gangster flick is about Rico Bandello (Little Caesar) rising to the top in the crime world but things take a grave turn when he tries to tell his partner to break it off with his girlfriend and join him.
Now what is it about Edward G. Robinson that gives him that gusto that make audiences line up to see him? Is it those watchful eyes, his sharp tongue, his skills with a gun, those eyebrows? All of the above? Back then, a gangster didn’t have to have the build of a bodyguard or wear gold teeth and slacks to be tough. They wore slick suits and top hats. Didn’t matter if you were short or tall as long as you’re slick with a gun. The character of Little Caesar is someone who’s driven and ambitious to get to the top of a world that is frowned upon and he stops at nothing.
It’s fascinating how violence was depicted back then. Now, they’ll go above and beyond to show as much gore as possible to bring an effect to audiences like a Quentin Tarantino film. In this film, the violence is shown either offscreen or you see the blast but not the aftereffect. Just the look on the victim’s face. This was the first film to show a drive-by shooting murder. I got chills myself as the camera shows a truck driving along and then BANG! Bullets come shooting through the truck at the target. Little Caesar inspired many other films later in the future such as Scarface and Angels with Dirty Faces. If you love crime/gangster films, this is the one to add to your watch list as it’s considered to be the grandfather of crime films.
Unfortunately, I can’t find this film on YouTube or streaming sites so here’s the trailer. I know that you can rent it for $2.99 on Amazon video: