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The gangster or mob film genre has captivated audiences for nearly one hundred years, dating back to the silent film era. Introduced through films such as The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) and Underworld (1927), the genre has become increasingly complex in its development, evidenced by the sophisticated narratives and advanced cinematographic techniques of more recent films such as Road to Perdition (2002) and The Departed (2006). This paper will serve to analyze only two of these brilliant works, and will do so through a compare and contrast format.
Howard Hawks’s Scarface: The Shame of the Nation (1932) focuses on gang warfare and police intervention during a power struggle for Prohibition-era Chicago. This pre-Hays Code gangster film also contains a cry for political and social change regarding the way in which the federal government handles crime. The earliest to be compared, this film employs all of the characteristics of classic Hollywood style, as well as setting the mode for subsequent films of this type. Melodramatic in nature, gangster films use conventional characters s…