You’re going to have to brace yourselves for this revelation…because I know there are a number of people who are simply not going to believe this. The very first time I saw the 1932 gangster film classic Scarface—which celebrates its 80th anniversary today—was on the
cable network. Honest to my grandma, I’m not making this up. Once upon a time, the channel whose notoriety today resides in how many Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or NCIS marathons they can run in the span of a week actually showed older movies: among the TDOY faves that I first caught there were Cat People (1942) and Targets (1968). (And a fistful of features that rarely turn up on any outlet today: Taking Off , Your Three Minutes are Up , Citizens Band [1977, aka Handle With Care] and—as Bill Conrad used to say on Rocky & His Friends—“a host of others.) USA
Despite my enthusiasm for the other two movies in the “Gangster Trilogy”—Little Caesar (1931) and The Public Enemy (1931)—Scarface is my favorite of the three; a work of intense thematic complexity and good old-fashioned pre-Code naughtiness that introduced me to two of my favorite unsung actresses, Karen Morley and (heavy sigh) Ann Dvorak. I leapt at the opportunity to toast the film at Edward Copeland on Film…and More, so while I’m putting the finishing touches on today’s riveting installment of Jungle Queen (1945), I invite you to saunter on over and have a look at your leisure.