Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I've just finished watching Ken Burn's Prohibition and of course a big part of the story is the hoodlums that ran the various gangs that provided the booze to the thirsty punters. Al Capone, still a well known name today but it made me realise how little I knew about him, I thought it was cut and dried that he was behind the Valentine's Day massacre and lots of other killings too, the press had played up his exploits and undoubtedly he must have been behind some of the blood spilling but can any killing actually be laid at his door for certain?
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Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Yeh, pretty much every one for which he was accused.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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The documenatary made sure to say that these couldn't be proved, no doubt covering their backs. One question Stone, do you believe he was behind the Valentine Day massacre?
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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No question he was. William Roemer in his book on Tony Accardo writes of overhearing conversations between Accardo and some of his higher-ups in which the St. Valentine's Day Massacre was discussed. Accardo, of course, was a Capone triggerman and even spoke of being one of the gunmen in the massacre. Interestingly, the bugging device FBI Agent Roemer used was nicknamed "Little Al".
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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I knew you'd know more than the Prohibition documentary would commit to.

One thing that says a lot about the human psyche, if I understood the documentary properly is that Capone was followed and courted the press and loved by some of the populace, I guess some people wouldn't believe the bad things attributed to him because he put on soup kitchens and provided their booze. It's not only Capone, he perhaps set the type that we've loved our on screen gangsters even when they are odious and the type generated lots of films and a handful of actors who became famous playing them. Capone a guy who killed so many, he might not have pulled the trigger himself but he ordered them, he might have been public enemy number 1 but was he ever as hated as he should have been? Is it because he killed his own kind and not the innocent? One thing that came across (I've never seen film footage of Capone before) is that he was charismatic and was good at casting off a memorable phrase or two.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Oh yes, Capone oozed charisma and a lot of people thought very highly of him during the 20s. His prestige fell somewhat, though, after The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. That's when I believe people saw him less as a personality than the gangster he was. His high visibility also led to his ultimate undoing - which was why the eventual Crime Boss of Chicago, Tont Accardo, kept a much lower profile; he saw what happened to Capone and determined not to make the same mistake - and he didn't. Despite the efforts of Roemer and the Feds, and his going to trial more than once, Tony was never convicted of any wrongdoing. Interesting man, whom even Roemer expressed having a grudging respect for. Accardo was a killer, yet a deeply religious man who apparently kept a small bible with him. Roemer said Accardo was a man of his word and was also admired because he would not allow the Outfit to deal in narcotics. Now Sam Giancana was a different matter. Though Roemer and Sam's daughter Antoinette (subject of the book and TV-movie "Mafia Princess") were friends, Roemer had absolutely no use for Momo.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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All these names are like a big network, it's like getting to know movie stars and how the connect in different films and relationships etc. It really is a big network of names and connections, completely fascinating, I know the earlier gangster names better than the later ones but I have come across Giancana, but that's because of JFK. At least Capone knew his downfall was his own work, if he hadn't kept such a big profile perhaps he wouldn't have been chased down with such priority. Capone was a scumbag but a scumbag with a name that still lives on as the American mobster.
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Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Well, I truly do believe Capone deluded himself into believing he was a "businessman" rather than "mobster". One wonders how things would have turned out during Prohibition had greed not played such an important part. Everybody grabbing for more and not caring who they had to step on - or - over - to add more to their already enormous bankrolls.
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JackFavell
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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The one who always seems very scary to me is Lucky Luciano, and wasn't there a side kick named Rico or something, involved in narcotics and also around the periphery in Thelma Todd's death?
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Luciano was a glorified pimp who abused his women and had a sinister appearance due to being scarred up by rival mobsters. Marc Lawrence, who knew Lucky quite well, said that to look into Luciano's eyes were like looking into the eyes of a dead man; they were soulless. Of course Luciano was first immortalized (as it were) onscreen in Marked Woman, where he was played to evil effect by Eduardo Ciannelli (as Johnny Vanning).

The fellow you may may mean re: Thelma Todd is Pat DeCicco, her ex-husband, with whom she'd had a brief but unpleasant exchange at the Trocadero the night before her death.

Pat DiCicco was a gangster and it has been alleged he may have been involved in the 1937 death of Ted Healy (along with Wallace Beery and Albert Broccoli, who was also DiCicco's cousin). Once again, ironically, the setting was the Trocadero.
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JackFavell
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Yes, that's who I meant, Rico, De Cicco... sorry for the flub on the name. I think DeCicco worked for Luciano, or maybe I am remembering wrong. Luciano was a soulless man, too creepy for words from what I've read. How did Marc Lawrence survive all these encounters with deadly gangsters? :D

What did you think of that Thelma Todd book when it came out Stone? I found it compelling but inconclusive. It laid out the possible suspects very well, but I didn't think it really showed any of them being more likely to have killed her.

However a book I really enjoyed was A Cast of Killers, about the William Desmond Taylor murder. I read it in one sitting.
Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

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Mysteries abound with Thelma Todd's death. Much speculation, of course, but no cut-and-dried answers. Personally I do think it was a hit orchestrated by "Charlie Lucky". You just didn't cross that guy.

Marc had a couple of interesting meetings with Luciano during Marc's years in Italy. When they first met, Charlie recognized Marc from the movies and wanted Marc just to talk to him, since he missed hearing New York talk. One of the most fascinating stories is when Charlie sat with Marc and his wife at a restaurant while the couple was having lunch. Charlie had with him a poodle named Bambi. When Marc said: "You mean like the cartoon?", Charlie replied: "Yeah, I like cartoons".

What the -----
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JackFavell
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

Post by JackFavell »

That should be in a movie!
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think I'm being slow today, is Charlie Lucky, Lucky Luciano? I read that book about Thlema Todd and the one about William Desmond Taylor, again in one sitting like you Wendy. If I remember rightly, Thelma had half shares in her restuarant with her husband and wouldn't allow the gangsters to get a hold on the place, hence her death probably on Luciano's say so.

Bambi? Well maybe the guy cried at the killing of Bambi's mother but didn't care for human kind. I don't envy his wife, that job must have been like being in a gilded cage.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: Crime on film and the Criminals that inspired the writing.

Post by Western Guy »

Charlie may have had a lot of woman friends, Alison, but I don't believe he was ever married.
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