Do any of you know who my favorite musician is? [As Tony Montana] “Say hello to my lil friend! Most musicians don’t have the guts to be who they wanna be…play what they wanna play.” Then there’s Jerry. But there’s so few of them guys that there’s only one. [Brooklynite] “So that’s why I like music, you know. But the guys in the movie business are the guys who fly straight. Okay, here’s the story. I come from the guttah. I know that. But I got an education & that’s okay. And I know the street & I’m making all the right connections. I got the right woman, so there’s no stopping me. If I wanted to, I coulda gone straight to the top. But me: I always tell the truth; even when I lie. My father: He was, uh, from the gutter too. Just like me, ya know? We used to watch sports together, especially da Yankees. He was a big Yankee fan. I’d like ‘em too, but I don’t pay attention ta sports too much. But Mom: She knew! Uh, she used to make me study movies wid ‘er. I learned. We watch guys like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney. They, they teached me to talk the street. I like doze guys. I always knew one day I’m comin’ here to talk about movies. My old boss – really old & mean as a river rat – Linda Big Stuff, she axed me, [Wicked Witch of the West] ‘Is this it? That’s what it’s all about to you? Eating, drinking, screwing, talking?’ Fuggetaboutit! I’m 57. I got a bag for a belly. I got tits. I need a bra. Dey got hairs on ‘em. I got liver spots. I eat crap all day like one of dem rich freakin’ dummy celebrities in Miami. Ain’t it great, man? Hey, every day above ground is a good day. And someday, I plan to spend my remaining days above ground in New Smyrna Beach FL with my big, hairy tits hanging out. Pelican, fly! Come on, pelican!”
As the quote by Jerry suggests, people are inherently afraid of those from other countries – always have been & perhaps always will. Tony Montana (Al Pacino), Brian DePalma’s Scarface (a word never uttered in the film), is the paradigm for why. He came from the streets too, the streets of Cuba, where he was a seasoned criminal before ever setting foot on one of the ships headed to Miami carrying 125000 refugees – 1/5 of whom had criminal records. When he gets to Miami, he & his best friend Manny (Steven Bauer) are sent to a refugee camp where their felonious natures escalate. Soon Tony & Manny are deeply involved with South Florida’s organized crime syndicate and begin working for the brutal drug lord Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia). F. Murray Abraham, who plays Lopez’s right-hand man Omar, found out he got the part of Salieri in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus while Scarface was in production. Before receiving that news, he was treated as an also-ran by the crew. The notoriety of playing the co-lead role in a Forman film changed that instantly & forever. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Frank’s girlfriend, Elvira, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is Tony’s sister, Gina. The screenplay was written by none other than Oliver Stone, who was addicted to cocaine at the time.
Scarface received 3 Golden Globe nominations: Pacino for Best Actor in a Drama; Bauer for Best Supporting Actor; and Giorgio Moroder for Best Score. Mororder, a 3-time 3 Oscar Winner, was the first to restore Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis. He simultaneously composed a new score for it. Metropolis is a Utopian city for the rich who inhabit it, but dystopian for the proletariat who live beneath it & keep it running. Moroder’s version was released, fittingly, in 1984. Many scores have been written for it since, most recently by the Caspervek Trio in 2014. The Alloy Orchestra have 4 different scores that they’ve performed live accompanying the film since 2010. The Alloys are a 3-piece ensemble who use keyboards, strings, drums & stuff to make the music & sound effects fitting the action (e.g., a saw creates the sound of a door opening). I saw Metropolis with the Alloys at Real Art Ways (or RAW), Hartford on 3/19/11, before Executive Director Will K. Wilkins changed policy direction, eliminating classic film to re-focus only on new art, irrespective of quality, seemingly targeting mainly the LBGT community. But if you don’t respect for the past, how can you expect to to take steps toward the future? But in 2011, Real Art Ways was fantastic. And that screening of Metropolis backed by the Alloy Orchestra was one of the finest evenings of art I had the privilege to attend that year. The film, my favorite of the decade, was Kurt Vonnegut’s main inspiration for his first novel, Player Piano. No copies of the original 153 minute version remain and the Alloy’s 148 minute versions are copyrighted, but Moroder’s 83 minute and a 148 minute version with a different score are on YouTube and Netflix. Okay, say hello to Moroder’s score & watch the trailer below, then update your Netflix DVD or Blu-ray Queue or visit HBO GO to stream Brian DePalma’s Scarface. 4 Stars!