Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime

Unlike other films, this one examined the social forces and roots of crime.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that “The Public Enemy” and “White Heat” are the films which perfectly reflect the evolution of gangsters throughout the first years when gangsters appeared in the US and till the middle of the century when this phenomenon became really marginalized and gangsters became real outcasts, totally rejected by society. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that both directors Paul Walsh and William Wellman had managed to perfectly convey the profound changes that occurred in American society of 1930s and 1940s which affected gangsters dramatically. At the same time, it should be said that it is due to such films the wide audience actually formed the perception of a gangster and it is due to such films gangsters were viewed either as potentially ordinary men or as practically maniacs.

In stark contrast to “The Public Enemy”, “White Heat” was shot in 1949, the epoch when gangsters had already reached the apogee of their power and, at the moment, they rather tended to the total legalization of their capitals. In fact, it is possible to speak about the significant shift from the criminal, bloodthirsty gangsters to pure and respectable businessmen (Stevenson 305). In the result of such a shift, gangsters really became a kind of outcasts since the historical background had changed dramatically and there were not so many people that could really afford the gangsters wars of 1920s-1930s. In actuality, gangsters had lost their economic basis, especially after the end of the epoch of the Prohibition and the economic progress of the country after the end of the World War II that led to the substantial improvement of the socio-economic situation in the country preventing people from marginalization that led them to gangster mobs in 1920s-1930s.

In such a way, the films fully corresponds to the real life since in 1920s after the end of the World War I the US had just started to recover from the consequences of the war and, even though there was a considerable economic progress, large masses of people were still deprived of an opportunity to lead a normal life. Instead, criminal lifestyle could bring a rapid wealth and fortune that naturally seduced a large amount of ordinary people who were disillusioned and lost hope for success in their virtuous life. As a result, they turned into gangsters but the process was quite difficult and it is even possible to estimate that it was an extremely cruel process since gangster mobs were constantly in the state of war with each other, the permanent murders of gangsters, politicians, ordinary people, and the general terrorizing of American population were the typical characteristics of the progress of gangsters in the country. At the same time, gangsters were not some outcasts or maniacs that were paranoid about murders and strive for power, instead, they were people who simply chose the ‘easier’ way in life. In this respect, the economic turbulence and such ‘innovations’ as the Prohibition contributed considerably to the growth of corruption and progress of gangsters to the extent that such a notion as Mafia became a really significant and meaningful concept for the entire American society, even though, at first this word remained unknown to the mass audience.

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Gangster films are morality tales, ... recognition, but underneath they can express sensitivity and gentleness. The Public Enemy (1931) is one of the earliest gangster films - the second one from Warner Bros.

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In such a way, it is possible to estimate that “White Heat” was created in the epoch of the decline of gangsters which were viewed rather as marginal criminals and, naturally, they had nothing in common with large masses of people who joined the gangster mobs in the previous decades. At the same time, even the gangsters themselves tended to change their life radically and become ordinary people since the legislation became more and more strict and the risk to their own life and that of their families were irrelevantly high to the benefits from their criminal lifestyle. In this respect, it is worthy of mention the case of Al Capone which was probably the most notorious trial in which the leader of Mafia group was sentenced and the entire criminal group was ruined. This was probably the most significant event that changed the situation and actually put the end to classical gangsters of 1920s-1930s.

Gangster Film Genre - Essays and Papers Online

Also certain themes will be expected as gangster genre films have reoccurring themes such as violence, theft, drugs and money.

However, regardless all the cruelty and crimes committed by the main characters of both films played by James Cagney, neither of the main characters can be viewed as totally negative character. Even in relation to Cody, a viewer may feel certain pity by the end of the film, while in the case of Tom, it is even possible to speak that James Cagney has managed to make this image a bit romantic. Nevertheless, what he really did was the creation of a typical gangster hero. In other words, it is on viewing the play of James Cagney the mass audience created its own perception and view on gangsters. This is why the play of this actors was really significant and it should be said that in “The Public Enemy” he was probably among the first who brought to the scene the definite type of a gangster character: the little tough guy, fast-talking, unscrupulous gangster. He carried this image throughout his entire career and even in “White Heat” the audience can observe the same gangster that apparently grew older, became less cold-blooded and more nervous but still the same murderous gangster that can readily violate all social norms.

An essay or paper on Gangster Film Genre

Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out that “The Public Enemy” was created in 1931 when the gangster movement was just growing in power. In fact, it is possible to estimate that 1920s and early 1930s were a kind of the golden age of gangsters in theUSbecause it is in this period of time when they were the most powerful to the extent that it seemed that gangsters controlled the life of the entire country. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that the film shows how the first gangsters actually appeared and the fate of the main character, Tom (James Cagney) demonstrates how people actually became gangsters. Obviously, it is not because of some pathology the main character becomes the gangster but it is rather under the impact of the circumstances he has to create the mob and lead an illegal life.


01.12.2008 · The Gangster Genre Analytical Essay by ResearchRiter

The gangster genre was traditionally popular in the cinematography of 1930-1940s. This is why a large number of films were released and defined as gangster films though many of them were of an average or low quality, still some of them became the real classic of the genre. Among such films it is possible to name “The public enemy” by William Wellman and “White Heat” by Paul Walsh. It should be pointed out that, regardless a considerable time gap in the creation of these two films, which constitutes almost two decades, both films are similar in genre and what is more, it is James Cagney who is starring in both films. This fact is quite important because this actor is considered to be one of the best actors performing in this genre and it is possible to estimate that it is due to his play and the films at large viewers formed their own view on the problem of gangsters and their position in society. In fact, these films can perfectly understand the extent to which gangsters as probably the most dangerous criminals were significant for that epoch. In such a way the analysis of both films will help better understand the epoch of their creation and the image of gangsters as well as the attitude of the mass audience to them.

21.06.2014 · gangster film genre essay ..

Speaking about the historical background of “White Heat” and “The Public Enemy”, it is necessary to point out that both films perfectly reflect the epoch when they were created. At the same time, the analysis of these films provides an excellent opportunity to trace the evolution of gangsters throughout the late 1920s to 1940s. In fact, these films may be viewed as historical retrospective of the creation, development and gradual decline of gangsters in American society in the first half of the 20th century. At any rate, the films perfectly demonstrate the change in the public view on gangsters and their image which tends to grow more and more negative, though certain romanticism of views on gangsters still sustained, though some specialists believe that it is rather due to the play of James Cagney than the actual message of the films (Bordwell and Thompson 143).