Connect with us

George Raft – The first real Hollywood gangster


George Raft – The first real Hollywood gangster


Scarface, the classic gangster film from 1932, recently marked its 90th anniversary.

Directed by Howard Hawks, the film was a bold attempt at a realistic representation of mob violence.

The film’s producer, Howard Hughes, was so dedicated to presenting a true-to-life depiction of the criminal underworld that Scarface pushed the Motion Picture Production Code to its limits.

Paul Muni, who played the lead role of Tony Carmonte, gave a powerful performance modeled after Al Capone. However, it was George Raft, the co-star, who brought real mob ties to the film.

Raft was hired for his dark and menacing presence and while he didn’t have many lines in the film, he made an impact with a memorable scene of coin flipping.

The actor was directed by Hawks to flip a nickel, which Raft perfected with practice.


In the film, the coin flip was one of the most memorable moments in mob movie history.

Raft later recounted claim to the fact that a real wise guy scolded him for flipping such an insult of a denomination.

Based on books about Al Capone, Scarface: The Shame of the Nation was a veracious representation of the gangster world.

The film opens in Chicago at the intersection of 22nd Street and Wabash Avenue, which was Capone’s territory in the South Side.

The film closely mirrors real-life events, such as Tony killing his boss “Big Louis” Costillo, which is similar to how Capone killed his own boss “Big Jim” Colosimo.

The drive-by shooting in the film is reminiscent of the 1927 ambush run by Earl “Hymie” Weiss, and the assassination of seven men in a garage mirrors the St. Valentine’s Day massacre of 1929.

When most people hear Scarface, Al Pacino’s portrayal of Tony Montana comes to mind.

However, Paul Muni’s interpretation of Capone was equally intense, with his eyes blazing with anger, suspicion, and defiance.

Muni’s performance was unrestrained yet stiff, and he drew from his Yiddish Theater training to give the character a hint of the Italian immigrant accent.

George Raft’s underplayed menace perfectly complemented Muni’s theatricality.

When Raft auditioned for the role of Guino Rinaldo, he was a dancer traveling with a show run by legendary New York City Irish mobster Owney Madden.

Raft’s dancing background and association with Madden lent credibility to his performance as Capone’s personal bodyguard, Frank Rio.

The actor’s right-hand man with dancing feet added another layer of authenticity to Scarface.

Popular Posts:



Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New Stories

Trending now

Popular Articles

Most Popular:

To Top