Scarface: Special Edition

March 4th, 2003 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

De Palma’s seminal gangster flick turned the genre on its head, rendering the Al Capone and keystone kops era obsolete, painting his canvas with gaudy Miami pastels and bucketloads of blood.

The remake of a successful gangster film from Hollywood’s golden age, it charts the rise of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Pacino, a little hammy in hindsight but giving the role his all). All Montana has (as he says later in the film) is his word and his balls. And he don’t bust neither of them for nobody.

On the strength of his wits and ambition, he rises to the top of a Florida drug empire, with the girls, glitz, neon, money and shocking violence that come with it.

The DVD release contains a little less than you’d hope for. A commentary from director De Palma would have been particularly welcome — but considering the movie’s 21 years old now, maybe he couldn’t remember anything that happened.

Three miniature docos have enough titbits to satisfy the curious but will only whet the appetites of diehard fans.

Rebirth features Pacino, De Palma and producer Marty Bregman talking about bringing the remake to the screen and the differences in the politics of the era that had to be considered. Also interesting is screenwriter Oliver Stone talking about creating the script amid his own battle with cocaine.

Acting talks about the casting, the intensive approach taken be Pacino and the gem the producers believe they found to fill the role of Elvira — a beautiful young unknown named Michelle Pfeiffer.

Creating talks about the production, and how filming took place almost completely in LA after threats from angry Cuban Americans (because of the way they were to be depicted) shut down pre-production in Miami.

The DVD extras are worthy of this modern classic, but more information would have been better.


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