"For all of them that take the sword shall perish by the sword."
- Opening quote
"Shoot first and argue afterwards."
- Caesar Enrico Bandello (Edward G. Robinson)
"Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico'"
"Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?"
Entertainment Weekly - 01/28/2005
USA Today - 01/28/2005
"[I]t's the first outdoor gangster talkie to make a lasting impression..."
Los Angeles Times - 01/23/2005
"Tautly directed by LeRoy..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2005
"The genius of Edward G. Robinson's performance as the pint-sized mobster lies in its diffidence."
With its focus on character flaws instead of plot devices, LITTLE CAESAR is the mother of the modern gangster flick. Edward G. Robinson stars as Enrico Bandelli in the role that made him a household name. Bandelli moves to the big city with partner in crime Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and becomes a member of Sam Vettori's Mafia gang. In spite of the urgings of pretty girl Olga Strassoff (Glenda Farell) to quit the mob, Rico quickly becomes the head of the Vettori gang and with a couple of quick kills scares mob boss Arnie Lorch back to Detroit. Bandelli, dubbed Little Caesar by the press, is known as a boss in his own right, but what goes up must come down in this tale of excessive hubris. At the time of its release, the stacatto sound design for LITTLE CAESAR was leagues ahead of its early talkie contemporaries. But what keeps the film alive is the fine script and the startling performance from Edward G. Robinson.
This classic crime story that made Edward G. Robinson a star deals with the rise and fall of a penny-ante crook who becomes the head of the mob, only to fall from grace as quickly as he rose.
Organized Crime |
LITTLE CAESAR was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000.
Enrico Bandello was modeled after Al Capone.
Mervyn LeRoy wanted Clark Gable to play Joe Massara. After the screen test, studio executives decided that Gable would never become a star because of his unusually large ears. Douglas Fairbanks was cast in his place.
LeRoy had to fight to gain permission to shoot Burnett's violent novel, but the decision paid off--the film was a big box-office success, opening the door for even more violent work to come.