|Starring:||Ben Gazzara, Susan Blakely and Sylvester Stallone|
|The Plot: Al Capone (Ben Gazzara) begins our film as a petty hoodlum who manages to finally catch the eye of mob boss Frankie Yale (John Cassavetes) and his right hand man Johnny Torrio (Harry Guardino), and begins to sneak his way into the organization. When he is given the opportunity to wipe out the boss by Johnny Torrio, Capone finally steps into the role of a kingpin and begins to muscle his way into the Chicago underworld. His biggest enemy however is Hymie Weiss, and the two gangs begin to clash almost immediately. Capone begins to see Johnny Torrio as being weak when the boss doesn’t want to run head first into a gang war with Weiss, and thus Capone has his right hand man Frank Nitti (Sylvester Stallone) slip Weiss’ gang information on Torrio’s location and the boss is nearly killed. Torrio at this point decides to leave the gang and the blood thirsty Capone takes over the operation. Will anyone cool this savage or will his own love affair with violence bring his downfall?|
Roger Corman, who had a cameo role in The Godfather Part II and who directed The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), certainly has a history with mafia related cinema. Always the opportunist, Capone may have been an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of The Godfather, but it is far from a duplication or simple cash-in. A more violent and antagonistic film that Francis Ford Coppola’s film ever attempted to be, Capone comes across as a delightfully eccentric piece of work that looks to try new and very different things with genre conventions. Ultimately, it acts as a piece based around a single run-a-way character in the form of Al Capone, played by the brilliant Ben Gazzara. We are never told directly whether or not Al Capone is a man to root for or against, and the movie takes a daring stand in that respect. The actions of Capone and his brutal behavior makes him seem like a madman, but due to Gazzara’s intimidating performance, you can read into this role in various different ways.