The world is yours The story of Scarface

Glenn Kenny

Book - 2024

"An unflinching confrontation of humanity's dark side, Brian De Palma's crime drama film Scarface gave rise to a cultural revolution upon its release in 1983. Its impact was unprecedented, making globe-spanning waves as a defining portrait of the gritty Miami street life. From Al Pacino's masterful characterization of Tony Montana to the iconic Say hello to my little friend, Scarface maintains its reputation as an unwavering game changer in cult classic cinema. With brand-new interviews and untold stories of the film's production, longtime film critic Glenn Kenny takes us on an unparalleled journey through the making of American depictions of crime. The World Is Yours highlights the influential characters and theme...s within Scarface, reflecting on how its storied legacy played such a major role in American culture." --

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Subjects
Published
Toronto, Ontario : Hanover Square Press [2024]
Language
English
Main Author
Glenn Kenny (author)
Physical Description
320 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 287-296) and index.
ISBN
9781335449627
  • Prologue: Whiskey and Coke
  • 1. De Palma's Complaint
  • 2. The First Scarface
  • 3. The Legend of Marty Bregman
  • 4. Tony
  • 5. Oliver Stone in Miami and Paris and Hollywood
  • 6. De Palma's Version
  • 7. Elvira
  • 8. Manny
  • 9. Unwelcome in Miami, Stressed at Universal
  • 10. A Thousand Cuts
  • 11. How to Get an R Rating in the Reagan Administration
  • 12. A Night at the Opera: Watching Scarface
  • 13. Shock and Horror: The Reaction
  • 14. "Me!": Hip-Hop Makes Tony Montana an Icon
  • 15. Spiritual Sequels: The Untouchables and Carlito's Way
  • 16. Say Good Night to the Bad Guy
  • Notes/Sources
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

Kenny, author of the splendid Made Men (2020), about the making of the film Goodfellas, takes us behind the scenes of another crime movie. Brian De Palma's Scarface (1983) features Al Pacino as Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who sets up shop in Miami as a cocaine trafficker. A re-imagining of the 1932 Paul Muni film, it was written by Oliver Stone and was originally to have been directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico). Kenny is clearly and enthusiastically a fan of the movie, which was generally panned by critics but is now considered to be a classic, and this comprehensive, energetically written book covers the film's casting, writing, filming, cultural impact, legacy, and controversies (the production company was thrown out of Miami; the movie contains so many f-bombs that it's virtually impossible to count them all). Scarface fans should be sure to read this absolutely necessary book, and so should readers who enjoy a good book about moviemaking, even if they haven't seen this particular film.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This raucous study from film critic Kenny (Made Men) examines the making and enduring cultural significance of Brian De Palma's 1983 film, Scarface. Kenny describes how Al Pacino, impressed after watching Howard Hawks's 1932 mobster flick of the same name, approached producer Marty Bregman about shooting a remake. Tracing the twists and turns of the film's production, Kenny discusses how director Sidney Lumet left the project after being disappointed with screenwriter Oliver Stone's script, and how De Palma marshalled the testimony of a narcotics officer and five psychiatrists when successfully appealing the MPAA to reduce the film's initial X rating to an R. Extensive interviews with cast and crew offer a fly-on-the-wall perspective into the making of the film; costar Steven Bauer, for instance, remembers Stone on multiple occasions storming around the set after finding out scenes had been cut from his script. The trivia amuses (it was Lumet who had the initial idea to swap in the cocaine trade for the 1932 original's bootlegging), and Kenny provides a discerning inquiry into Scarface's legacy, crediting the film's fatalism and extravagance with making it a touchstone in hip-hop music and offering a neutral survey of criticism that the movie glorifies violence. Readers will be spellbound. Agent: Joseph Veltre, Gersh Agency. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Kenny (Made Men: The Making of Goodfellas and the Reboot of the American Gangster Picture) pays a scholarly homage to Brian De Palma's 1983 remake of Scarface. He includes new interviews with key players, a detailed synopsis of the movie, and a thoughtful study of Scarface's lasting impact on American culture. There are riveting behind-the-scenes tales of casting decisions, Al Pacino's acting techniques, the trauma of editing the chainsaw scene, and struggles to avoid an X rating because of the unprecedented violence and abundant profanity. He details Michelle Pfeiffer's experience as a 23-year-old novice. Readers gain insight into De Palma's directing abilities. There are also tidbits such as how De Palma's dissatisfaction with the voice performances of two actors playing immigration officers led him to redub their performances with Charles Durning and Dennis Franz. Kenny dissects the meaning of the film's synth-driven soundtrack, how hip-hop artists later embraced the film, the artistry of the Miami location, and the glorification of criminality that continues to fascinate many. VERDICT Fans of the film and moviemaking students will discover a new appreciation for the process of bringing Scarface to life (and death).--Lisa Henry

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A deep dive into the over-the-top gangster classic. This meticulous examination of Scarface (1983) is a wildly enjoyable ride, taking readers from the roots of the 1932 original, directed by Howard Hawks, through the intense, arduous filmmaking process and its lasting influence within the hip-hop community. Kenny, best known for his string of movie books, including Made Men, and his work as a film critic for a variety of publications, manages all the various strands of the Scarface legacy masterfully, letting those involved in the movie's creation drive the narrative. He does whatever he can to explain not just the making of the film, but moviemaking generally. "I have my own obsessions," director Brian De Palma told the author. "I write and direct my own movies. But I think it's very important to get out of your own world and just direct someone else's script, someone else's world." Kenny delves into how De Palma's process allowed Al Pacino an unusual amount of latitude to develop the character of Tony Montana and provided the lavish sets and the distinctive, larger-than-life cinematography to make it memorably come to life on the big screen. De Palma also gave the movie's screenwriter, Oliver Stone, plenty of room to create as well, though that eventually caused some friction between the men. "I liked the movie. But you realize at the time, I was working off a more realistic palette because I'd been there," Stone told Kenny. "And Brian didn't really have that realism in him. Or interest in it." All that friction, though, was responsible for the movie's unique creative spark, which the author retraces step by step and scene by scene, offering context and revelations and the occasional joke--much like the movie itself. Kenny patiently outlines every moviemaking piece and shows how it fits in the bloody, brilliant Scarface puzzle. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.