The Gangster on Film

 

Gangster movies had been around almost as long as the motion picture industry itself but gained in popularity during Prohibition, when the violent exploits of real life gangsters made headlines daily. Then as the news shifted its focus to gangster chasers- the G-Men- the movies followed suit. Still later, the genre would overlap with what we now call film noir with its own ripped-from-the-headlines depictions of the modern day gangster.

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Texas Guinan

 

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She wasn’t a gangster, a gambler or a bootlegger, but as Prohibition Era New York’s Queen of the Nightclubs she rubbed elbows with all three on a nightly basis.

Long before she was delighting Broadway with catch phrases like “Hello, sucker!” “Butter and egg man,” and “Give the little lady a great big hand,” Los Angeles had known her as a musical comedy chorine, and a rough-and-tumble star of western movies. The city never quite forgot her. 

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Scarface Al visits Los Angeles

Al-CaponeIn the struggle to keep eastern gangsters out of Los Angeles 1918-1951, amid many headline-making lapses, one oft-repeated success story stood out: the time Al Capone came to town and promptly took a powder back to Chicago with some encouragement from the LAPD. While it had the makings of a myth and the details became blurred over time, this story happened to be true. Continue reading