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Scarface

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Why has this film endured the test of time? Is Pacino’s depiction of a Cuban over-the-top, offensive, or does it work? In the realm of remakes, how well does this work in retelling Howard Hawks’ original version? And is the film too violent? Tune in to this week’s show to get answers to these questions and more!

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"Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed.”

When Oliver Stone was hired to write the adaptation of Howard Hawks’ 1932 film Scarface, Sidney Lumet was on board to direct the film. Lumet wanted to update the story with a modern angle using colorful Miami in the early 80s as its backdrop focusing on the Cuban refugees coming in on the Mariel boatlift, specifically the criminal element. Stone loved the idea and took the job for that reason alone. Dealing with his own cocaine issue, Stone researched heavily for the film and wrote a gritty story that Lumet didn’t like but producer Marty Bregman did. Lumet left and Brian De Palma came on board instead. And thus, the film was born. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Oliver Stone in the 80s series with Brian De Palma’s 1983 film Scarface.

We talk about the over-the-top nature of the film, from the performances to the violence to the swearing, and how it works for us. We look at Pacino’s excitement about the project and how his initial viewing of the original film actually spurred this film on to begin with. We chat about Stone and his development of the script including some scary trips to South America to meet with people involved in the drug trade. We discuss what De Palma is doing here and why his creative filmmaking style works well for the story. We look at the nature of the stereotypes depicted in the film and why it affected people so much. And we touch on the original X-rating and the lengths De Palma went through to get his original version in theatres.

We have a great time talking about this movie, even if it’s a difficult one to watch. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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