Film analysis


Nameof Student

Amongthe movies that have been acted in the 20thcentury, the Scarface has which is in other termed called the shameof the nation is one among the most potent and boldest films thatruns through the display of brutal crime scenes. All along itssetting, brutality and violence of armed gang men unfolds. Acted andreleased by the American actors, this film is a sensational one thatmarked the possible start of the rise of notorious gangsters.

Thefilm was in the making in the year 1930 and was scheduled to beproduced by Howard Hawks as the co-producer and director inconjunction with another co-producer Howard Hughes. By 1931, theworking clip of the film had already been. By close working of theparties involved and about three months of filming, the film wasproduced successfully in the later part of the year. The film hadbeen scheduled to be released in January, 1931 but was held due tosome controversy. Two co-producers and the company censors arguedover the sensationalization of and encouragement of the gangstermaliciousness and also some issues regarding retitling of the film.The film is finally released three months later.

Thefilm features Paul Muni as starring. It is directed by the Hawks andRichard Hosson, and it is based upon the novel Scarface written byArmitage Trails. It features Ann Dvorak as capon’s sister and BorisKarloff, Osgood Perkins and Karen Morey. The film dominates on thewarfare between the gang men and the police when the game fight totake control of Chicago.


AnItalian immigrant, Antonio Camonte known as just “Tony” acts ason the orders of John Lovo also known as “Jonny” and kills Louisalso known as “big” who is the leading crime boss of the southernpart of the city. Afterwards, Jonny takes reign over the south andtakes Tony as his lieutenant. He uses Tonny in selling largequantities of illegal beer to speakeasies and to muscle in on barsthat are run by outfits. Jonny on many occasions warns Tony of hisrisk if at all he would crash with the Irish gang who own the northside. The north side is run by O’Hara. However, Tony chooses todefy the orders and starts shooting up bars that belonged to O’Hara,attracting not only the rivals attention but also the attention ofthe police. After realising Tony’s weakness, Jonny decides to takehis position.

Inthe long run, Tony even starts following Jonny’s girlfriend. Sheseems not to give in at first but eventually she is drawn to him ashis reputation grows. She at one point even visits him in hisapartment and shows her his view of an electric billboard that couldadvertise the slogan cook’s tour. As the film progresses, toydecides on taking reign over the north side forcefully. He sends histwo close friends on a mission to kill O’Hara in his common base ina florist’s shop. A heavy retaliation ensues as the gang men fromthe north led by Gaffney and armed with Thompson’s submachine gunrose to their defence. Tony boldly leads his gang in destroying thenorth and manages to take control of their market. They proceed tothe point of impersonating the police and making the kill the rivals.He also kills Gaffney at a bowling alley. When Jonny believes thatTony will be taking over, he organizes that Tony be assassinatedwhile driving I his car. Tony realizes and manages to escape. Hejoins hand with Guinea and kills their former leader Jonny, whichleaves Tony as the undisputed ruler of the town.

Tony’sactions call for a public outcry that calls for an intervention bythe police. Tony kills his friends after realizing his relationshipwith her sister Francesca (Cesca) before they could even tell him oftheir secret plans for marriage. This causes Francesca to inform thepolice of the murder, and the police seek to arrest him for themurder. As the police crosses into him, he plans to shoot it out. Hersister comes in on the side of the police but again changes her mindto fight for Tony. She is killed by a stray bullet and Tony confrontsthe policemen and pleads for his life. When he stops beging, he isgunned down by the police under the billboard blazing “the world isyours”[ CITATION Oli07 l 2057 ].

Techniqueused to develop the theme

Thisfilm took the filmmakers a great deal of technique to develop thethemes of the film and developing the flow of the film. The two majorareas of filming technique employed include the cinematic techniquethat includes framing, camera movements and angle. The othertechnique is the use of theoretical elements such as costumes, actionchoice, props and sets.

Thecinematic technique

Framing:Thefirst thing in filmmaking that a director has to decide upon is how ashot will be a frame. A shot is an instance of an uninterrupted imagein a film. It ends when the camera changes to another image. Thethree main choices of framing include a close-up, medium shot or along short.

Aclose-up shot is a shot that would only take the upper side of anactor from the neck up. Things made in this kind of short appear tocover much of the screen. The decision of the director to have aparticular scene in a close-up shot is to give detail information ofthe character including emotional reactions

Ina long shot. The actor is viewed entirely with all his or her bodyseen on the screen. The actor appears as if he or she were at somedistance. They are used to cover large surrounding of the actor andalso can be used to show distance in emotion between two actors.

Anactor in a medium shot is seen from the waist up. More details can beconveyed in this type of shot. It gives more details on the emotionaleffect on an actor than the long shot and shows more surrounding thanthe close-up shot.

Theangle of the film

Thenext thing that the director has to decide on is the angular positionof the frame. When the camera is positioned below the actor lookingup, the director uses a low angle.It gives a greater personality tothe actor than average. When the camera is positioned above the actorfacing down, he will be using a high angle. The result of this effectis making the actor smaller than normal and weaker. The eye-levelshot happens when the director places the camera straight on.

Cameramovements within a shot

Itrefers to the movement of a camera in a single shot. In the realsense, only a part of the camera moves while the body of the cameraremains horizontal. Span occurs when the director moves the cameraright or left at a fixed position. It is used to show the setting. Ifthe camera’s head move up and down, it is referred to as tilt. Itmoves just as you would move your head or eyes up and down. Zoomoccurs when the focus of a camera moves in a single shot. Thedirector may zoom to show some key things that need to be noted. Thedolly shot is when the camera moves either in a track or helicopteror on someone’s shoulder[ CITATION Oli07 l 2057 ].


Aneditor is the person related to the connection of the clips thedirector has captured. He is known as the story teller as his work isto join the parts into a finished film. An editor can connect theimages in different ways:

Cut:two images are joined to make an instantaneous change from one shotto the other. It is the easiest way of joining two shots.

Fadeoccurs when slowly an image fades into some colour to symbolize theending of a scene or to show that time has passed.

Dissolve:occurs when an image on the screen slowly fades away while the otherfades in. They are used to connect images in a smooth rhythmic way.

Theway an editor selects to connect the images in a film is determinedby many reasons that include creating suspense or moving the film ina particular rhythm. He may also use it to portray two scenesoccurring at the same time but in different places. This phenomenonis called parallel editing or cross-cutting[ CITATION Jun11 l 2057 ].


Thefilms soundtracks are produced in a layered effect that adds depth tothe visuals. The soundtracks add the real life experience of aparticular scene. They are classified into three.

Diegeticsound include that sound that emanates from the environments of themovie, for instance, the sound of a truck, traffic feet among others.The other category is non-diegetic and is the sound that cannot becategorized as diegetic. They are the music that we hear as the titleis rolling away or within the film to heighten a romantic scene, e last one is the internal diegetic sound that describes thesound of the thought of a person.


Lowkey lighting refers to the deep contrast between dark and lightespecially as seen in horror movies.

High-keylighting characterizes the brightness the openness and light thatsurrounds a romantic scene and other colourful situations.


Theyare the attires that the characters wear. Clothing speaks much of whoa person can be. They are a quick signal to characterization.

Effecton the society

Uponits release in the year 1931, the film Scarface was considered verymuch detrimental to the public. This was because of its content thatwas so much invoking, shocking yet entertaining. The film was notrejected by the national board of review of a some film that can ruinthe moral standing of the children[ CITATION Joh12 l 2057 ].That meant that the board had approved it for the public to watchincluding the children. The effect of the violence in the film maynot affect the adult as they have already established their moralstands. However, the film can cause adverse effect on the children asthey will learn how to be aggressive towards each other and will growto use violence rather than self-control in solving issues.The children may learn to take it positively violence is not bad inreal life and, therefore, have less and less care towards each other.Tony Camonte demonstrates a behaviour that cares little aboutpeople’s lives and yet another that he can acquire anything hewants and does not feel it hard. This behaviour can affect peoplepsychology. With its hidden immoral and highly violent contents, thesurface poses great danger to the audience and the general public andmore specifically to the children.


Fromthe above analysis of the movie Scarface, and the details learned inthe class, I have come to know that the understanding of a film andits analysis involve a lot more techniques. It is clear that oftendeeper meaning lies beneath several techniques that are beyond thecommon literature study that we always use. By understanding theskills and effectively utilizing them, one can see the movie in widerdimensions. For instance in the case of the shots and the way thedirector decides on how to do them, one can understand a certainpoint or emotion that the director wants you to capture by zooming orthe expression of power and dominance through low angle shot.

Anotherpoint in the analysis of a film that needs attention is thetheoretical elements that are found in a film. Things like costumesused in the film. The attire that the character wears will in mostcases bespeaks of the character of the character involved. Costumesplay a great role in the development of characters.

Also, there are elements such as the lighting of the various scenes of afilm. The differences in the contracts are used to convey some strongemotional effect in the audience to drive them through emotions thatthe film portrays at different points. Again the different sounds inthe films have also some explanation of some part of the generalmessage conveyed by the film. This means that the three type ofsounds provides one of the key equipment in development of themes ina film. Finally, the other concept learned in the development of thetheme by the editor as he designs the way in which to connect twodifferent shots. For example, a mood of suspense and expectancy isdeveloped in an audience through the fading away of a shot.


Balsamo, J. (2012). Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.

MBA, J. M. (2011). Children of Scarface II : Am I my Brother`s Keeper? [Kindle Edition]. New York: AuthorHouse.

Stone, O. (2007). Scarface: Official Movie Script Book. San Diego: IDW Publishing.