American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for Over 80 Years!

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Series Compiled by: Chris D.
Special Thanks to: Amy Lewin/MGM Repertory; Scott Watts/MIRAMAX; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; Marilee Womack WARNER BROS.; Michael Schlesinger/SONY REPERTORY; Caitlin Robertson/20th CENTURY FOX.; Emily Horn & Barry Allen/PARAMOUNT; Elaina Archer; Marvin Paige.


SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.



All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $10 general admission unless noted otherwise.
SCHEDULE (by series)
SCHEDULE (by date)
24-Hour Information: 323.466.FILM
Contact Us
The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< February 15 - 22, 2007 >>>

Gangsters & Crime In the Big City


Discuss this series with other film fans on:


This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!


Hollywood has always had a strange fascination (and behind-the-scenes connection – for more on this, see Gus Russo’s excellent book about the Chicago mob, The Outfit) with the shadowy underworld of gangsters and organized crime. In this short and sweet series, we’ll be presenting a diverse selection of some of the most well-known as well as some of the most hard-to-see gangster pictures from the 1930’s through the 1990’s, including an opening night screening with filmmaker/actor Larry Bishop (director of the upcoming HELL RIDE produced by Quentin Tarantino) in-person with his offbeat mobster magnum opus MAD DOG TIME (starring Richard Dreyfuss, Jeff Goldblum, Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin to name but a few). We’ll also be screening Quentin Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS, both the Howard Hawks and Brian De Palma versions of SCARFACE (with Paul Muni and Al Pacino, respectively), Raoul Walsh’s WHITE HEAT, Burt Balaban & Stuart Rosenberg’s MURDER, INC., Brian De Palma’s CARLITO’S WAY, Martin Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS, Elaina Archer & Todd Friedrichsen’s documentary GANGLAND: BULLETS OVER HOLLYWOOD as well as gritty, hard-to-see gems by Burt Balaban (MAD DOG COLL), Budd Boetticher (RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND), Don Siegel (RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11) and Joseph Lewis (UNDERCOVER MAN, with Glenn Ford). There have been scores and scores of great gangster films produced since the 1930’s (and we’re not even talking about the ones from Europe and Asia!), way too many to screen in a limited time frame - join us for a handful of the best.




Thursday, February 15 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

MAD DOG TIME, 1996, MGM Repertory, 93 min. Filmmaker/actor Larry Bishop (soon to helm the Quentin Tarantino-produced HELL RIDE), wrote and directed (and co-stars) in this very entertaining (and shamefully overlooked) crime comedy/drama that boasts a spectacular, star-studded cast. In a world that seems to be populated exclusively by gangsters and their molls, mobster Vic (Richard Dreyfuss) is about to be released from a stay in the nuthouse. His colleague, Mickey (Jeff Goldblum) is romancing Vic’s girl, Rita (Ellen Barkin) as well as Rita’s sister, Grace (Diane Lane). How will the volatile, unstable Vic take it? And what about the other mob kingpins (Gabriel Byrne, Burt Reynolds and Kyle MacLachlan) at Vic’s welcome-home-shindig who are wondering just how the underworld power-shift will impact them? Full of great bits and funny dialogue as well as more extraordinary support from Gregory Hines, Richard Pryor, Rob Reiner, Joey Bishop, Michael J. Pollard, Henry Silva, Billy Idol, Christopher Jones, Paul Anka, Billy Drago and more!

RESERVOIR DOGS, 1992, Miramax, 99 min. Director Quentin Tarantino’s self-assured feature debut pits five criminals of different temperament, strangers to each other, brought together by an elderly mastermind (perfectly cast Lawrence Tierney) against an undercover cop who sabotages their jewelry store heist. A riveting saga told in disjointed time with bravura characterizations, spotlighted in the fraternal bonding of Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), the sadistic antics of psychotic Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), the foul-mouthed comments of Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) and last, but not least, the versatile Chris Penn as Nice Guy Eddie Cabot, Tierney’s faithful son. Discussion in between films with director Larry Bishop (MAD DOG TIME) and Michael Madsen (RESERVOIR DOGS) (schedules permitting)




Friday, February 16 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

SCARFACE, 1932, Universal, 93 min. Designed to exploit the explosive mob wars still raging on in then-contemporary Chicago, Howard Hughes produced and Howard Hawks directed this rip-roaring, seminal and very-Pre-Hollywood-Code gangster epic. Paul Muni is phenomenal as Tony ‘Scarface’ Camonte, a ruthless mob boss who is borderline insane and fanatically jealous of anyone courting his sister, Cesca (Ann Dvorak). Which means his crony, Guino (George Raft) better look out. Boris Karloff is scarily credible as Gaffney, one of Tony’s bitterest and most coldblooded rivals.

SCARFACE, 1983, Universal, 170 min. Director Brian De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone reinvented Howard Hawks’ classic gangster saga from the ground up, moving it to early 1980’s Miami during the mushrooming coke trade in the wake of Cuba’s Mariel boatlift. Al Pacino is stupendously larger-than-life as twisted Tony Montana, a two-bit Little Ceasar who almost singlehandedly creates anarchy in the Miami underworld, destroying not only himself but everyone around him. Opulent, stylishly shocking, and boasting a disco-flavored Giorgio Moroder score that in 4-track mag will literally knock your socks off! With Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia.




Saturday, February 17 - 5:00 PM

Double Feature:

WHITE HEAT, 1949, Warner Bros. 114 min. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" Incredible direction by Raoul Walsh makes this, flat-out, one of the most electrifying crime thrillers ever made. Mama's boy Cody Jarrett is the quintessential James Cagney performance, an invigorating example of a star's titanic personality merging with the fiction to create an unforgettable character. Even when Cagney’s portrayal is seen now in the wake of Pacino’s Tony Montana, it still remains perhaps the most chillingly convincing profile of an outlaw sociopath ever to come out of Hollywood. The stellar supporting cast includes Virginia Mayo as Cody’s two-timing moll, Edmond O'Brien as Fallon, the undercover G-man, Steve Cochran as Cody’s dapper rival within the gang, and Margaret Wycherly as "Ma." If you've never seen the explosive climax on the big screen, here's your chance!

New 35mm Print! THE UNDERCOVER MAN, 1949, Sony Repertory, 85 min. Although it is based on the Treasury Department’s successful efforts to finally bring down Chicago gang kingpin, Al Capone, convicting him in 1931 of tax evasion, director Joseph Lewis (GUN CRAZY, THE BIG COMBO) sets his story in a seemingly unspecified time and the head mobster is referred to only as The Big Man. Treasury agent, Glenn Ford, much to wife Nina Foch’s chagrin, goes undercover on one of his most dangerous assignments with partners James Whitmore and David Wolfe. Since Chicago gangland’s rampage of extortion and murder has gone unchecked by conventional law enforcement efforts, Ford and his cohorts attempt to go through the back door, following a trail of dummy corporations and falsified financial records to build their case.



Saturday, February 17– 9:00 PM

Double Feature:

New 35mm Print! MAD DOG COLL, 1961, Sony Repertory, 86 min. "His Own Raging Story... A Maniac With A Machine Gun!" Director Burt Balaban’s follow-up to MURDER, INC. was this intense, low-budget film bio of Vincent ‘Mad Dog’ Coll, the brutal, maverick mobster who went up against not only the New York City police department but also rival gangster, Dutch Schultz. John Davis Chandler is perfectly cast as the young tough who rises from abused neighborhood misfit to burgeonng psychopath. Although Coll has an ex-stripper moll, Clio (Kay Doubleday), he nevertheless finds himself slowly drawn to sensitive music student, Elizabeth (Brooke Hayward). But Coll’s taste for killing gradually drags him down into full-blown psychosis, and he goes on the run from both the law (including Telly Savalas as a no-nonsense cop) and Schultz’s gang. Jerry Orbach (TV’s "Law And Order") is Joe, Coll’s last remaining friend, and Vincent Gardenia makes a great Dutch Schultz. NOT ON DVD.

MURDER, INC., 1960, 20th Century Fox, 103 min. Dir. Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg. Peter Falk is unforgettable as Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles, a gangland hitman for fussy, milk-drinking boss, Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter (David J. Stewart) during the explosion of Big Apple gangsterism in the early 1930’s. Nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, this was one of the roles that really put Falk on the map as an actor to watch. Stuart Whitman is a struggling musician married to dancer May Britt, a decent couple intimidated and forced into collusion with the most unsavory characters of the New York underworld. Co-starring Simon Oakland, Henry Morgan.




Sunday, February 18 - 5:00 PM

GANGLAND: BULLETS OVER HOLLYWOOD, 2005, A&F Productions/Alta Loma Entertainment, 69 min. In this documentary executive-produced by Hugh Hefner and narrated by Paul Sorvino (GOODFELLAS), producer/director/editor team Elaina Archer & Todd Friedrichsen explore gangland’s roots in real life and through the silver screen mythos that has evolved since the 1930’s. Among the interviewees are James Caan (THE GODFATHER), Angie Dickinson (POINT BLANK, THE KILLERS), Fred Williamson (BLACK CEASAR, HELL UP IN HARLEM), Roger Corman (ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE, MACHINE GUN KELLY), and real life former wiseguy Henry Hill and g-man Joseph Pistone. Discussion following the film with director Elaina Archer. This screening’s admission price is by suggested donation ($10).



Sunday, February 18 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND, 1960, Warner Bros., 101 min. Director Budd Boetticher (SEVEN MEN FROM NOW) helmed this fast-moving, unsentimental look at notorious thief and mobster, Jack ‘Legs’ Diamond. Underrated Ray Danton is phenomenal in the lead role. It is one of Hollywood’s unsolved mysteries why Danton only went on to TV guest star shots and roles in European spy films in the 1960’s instead of major stardom. A year later he played Diamond again, this time in support of Vic Morrow as Dutch Schultz in PORTRAIT OF A MOBSTER (sadly unavailable for screening). Warren Oates is perfect as Diamond’s sickly brother and initial partner in crime, with Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart and Dyan Cannon (in her first big role) as the women in Diamond’s life. Chock-full of memorable bits, including Diamond setting fire to a woman’s dress during a dance marathon. Director Boetticher paints an absorbing portrait of a charming sociopath who will sacrifice anything (and anyone) to get what he wants. "… this ferocious gangster biopic indulges in none of the nostalgia for the Depression or glamorization of its anti-heroes…As incarnated by Danton, Diamond is a bundle of pure, destructive energy…With superb noir photography from Lucien Ballard… the film mirrors the speed, intelligence, and amoral cunning of its hell-bent mobster."Time Out (UK) NOT ON DVD.

RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11, 1954, Republic (Paramount), 80 min. Enterprising indie producer, Walter Wanger (YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) had just been released from prison after serving a short term for shooting the man he believed was carrying on with his wife. Horrified at the conditions he experienced in stir, he recruited director Don Siegel (BABY FACE NELSON, DIRTY HARRY) to help tell the story of what it was like inside. An extremely down-and-dirty, realistic look at penitentiary life and a riot fomented by mistreatment of inmates. The entire cast is superb, including Neville Brand as the comparatively moral convict leader, Leo Gordon (an ex-con himself) as a brutal psychopath and Emile Meyer as the warden. Uncompromising and unflinching, especially for the time period. NOT ON DVD.




Thursday, February 22 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

CARLITO’S WAY, 1993, Universal, 144 min. Older-but-wiser gangbanger Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) is released from prison hoping to go legit managing his own nightclub -- but loyalty to his clueless, cokehead lawyer (Sean Penn in a flawless, soul-destroying portrait) and the paranoia and macho one-upmanship of the ‘hood stack the odds against him. David Koepp’s screenplay was based on two excellemt short novels, Carlito’s Way and After Hours by writer Edwin Torres (a former judge on New York’s Supreme Court). This hardboiled, neo-noir gangster masterpiece directed by Brian De Palma also stars Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzman, John Leguizamo and Viggo Mortensen (in one of his best supporting roles before major stardom). "…among De Palma’s best work… first and last a character study, a portrait of a man who wants to be better than he is." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

MEAN STREETS, 1973, Warners, 110 min. Director Martin Scorsese’s shattering, insider’s look at small-time hoods in Little Italy stars Harvey Keitel as a guilt-obsessed Catholic trying to make good, and Robert De Niro as Keitel’s terminal screw-up of a cousin, Johnny Boy. Most of MEAN STREETS was shot – believe it or not – in Los Angeles (only exteriors were filmed in New York); it quickly became Scorsese’s calling-card as director, and a stunning prequel to the awesome TAXI DRIVER. Scorsese’s use of pop, rock and traditional Italian music blends seamlessly on the soundtrack, forging an unforgettable aural backdrop to this poignant, vividly violent tale of gangland angst.