MICK LASALLE ON 'SCARFACE', WHICH RETURNS TO NETFLIX IN MAY
In his Flickering Myth review of Stefano Sollima's brand new Tom Clancy adaptation, Without Remorse, Robert Kojder states:
The film certainly embraces all the carnage and bloodshed (Michael B. Jordan gets one hell of a last stand towards the climax that brings to mind Brian De Palma’s Scarface), but it’s also not endorsing the rationale that brings him to these predicaments.
How nice of Netflix, then, to get Scarface back into its streaming library May 1st, a day after Without Remorse premieres on Prime. However, as the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle points out in his "Datebook Pick" for the weekend, Scarface makes for a great double-feature with... Scarface:
It’s rare that an original movie and its remake are both great films. But such is the case with “Scarface,” in both its 1932 and 1983 incarnations. It would be a fun double bill or, better yet, these films would best be watched on consecutive nights.
What’s good about seeing both over a short period of time is that the films inform each other. In the original, Paul Muni plays an Italian, but not a real Italian — more like a kabuki Italian. Al Pacino plays a similarly exaggerated Cuban. The violence of the 1983 version tells us how the 1932 film was perceived in its time: It was considered one of the most violent films to date. And both movies deal tangentially, but unmistakably, with what it’s like to be an immigrant in America.
I prefer Brian De Palma’s 1983 version – it’s a beautifully vulgar masterpiece – but an equal case could be made for the Howard Hawks original. Watch both and decide for yourself.