The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)

“Only Capone kills like that.”

The film, The St Valentine’s Day Massacre is a docudrama–with heavy use of narration similar in style to the television series The Untouchables. This lends an aura of authenticy to the tale of rival gangsters who think that Chicago isn’t big enough for two gangs. It’s the 1920s, and it’s prohibition. Bootleg alcohol was the name of the game in speakeasys all over Chicago, and two gangs fight for turf and the total control of the bootleg business. Capone (Jason Robards) decides to wipe out rival gang leader Bugs Moran (Ralph Meeker) on Feb 14th 1929. The film covers the lead-up to the crime, the crime, and its aftermath.

Fans of gangster films will want to catch The St Valentine’s Day Massacre for sheer notoriety alone. Unfortunately, the film is in colour, and that spoils the film’s mood. Director Roger Corman is best known for his B horror films, and Corman’s touches are evident here–especially in Robards’ over-the-top characterization of Capone. George Segal appears in a role as gangster Peter Gusenberg, and one of the best scenes occurs with Segal fighting with his moll, Myrtle (Jean Hale) over an expensive fur coat.

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