"Say hello to my little friend." As memorably overplayed by Al Pacino in Brian DePalma's obscenely entertaining 1983 remake of Scarface, the immortal Tony Montana had it all figured out: emigrate from Cuba, ingratiate yourself with a local mobster, take over your mentor's business, marry a cold-hearted trophy wife who doesn't love you, lust after your sister, bury your head in cocaine. Scarface was notorious for, well, take your pick: the buzz saw in the bathroom, the excessive use of a certain four-letter profanity, the protests among the Cuban community in Miami, the epic battle with the MPAA.

Scarface has also influenced real Italian gangsters. The Guardian reports: "One Naples mobster, Walter Schiavone, was so enamoured of the character played by Al Pacino he built a [$1.8 million dollar] replica of the villa, complete with the curved double staircase from which Montana takes his death dive." Schiavone gave his architect a tape of the movie and told him to build what he saw. His villa was known locally as "Hollywood." Schiavone was arrested on murder charges in 1999; now Italian authorities have seized his mansion and plan to convert it into a clinic for disabled people. One official said: "The best way for us to fight the mafia and win over the community here is to take the mafia's symbols of power and make them serve the community." I guess "the world is yours" until you get caught. Other Hollywood gangsters have also influenced the Italians, with one writer claiming that Naples hitmen were missing their targets because they "insisted on holding their guns tilted like the characters in Quentin Tarantino films." In a Montana-like twist, though, a book based upon the exploits of Schiavone's family is being made into a movie. Scarface Comes Home, anyone?
categories Cinematical