This module you're reading Dying to Belong and watching either Scarface (1932 version) Spend this discussion board closely interpreting whichever film you watched. I want your own analysis of the filCrime Films “Crime films are one of the world’s most effective means of debating issues of crime and justice…They invite us to participate in global examinations of social problems while keeping us entertained.” (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) From Scarface . 1932. The Caddo Company. Dr. Fennell’s Lecture SOC 427/527 Crime Films & Why We Love Them • Pleasure and Escape • Fodder for the Imagination • Access to Places and Situations Outside Our Daily Experiences (from brothels to 007’s gadgets) • The Pursuit of Justice While Resisting Authority…Inspirational Underdogs, Bad Guys, and Order (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) – “Double Movement” (allow us to vicariously challenge the system but also in the end back the moral order… “most crime films from the earliest days of cinema have offered this dual satisfaction, enabling us to dwell, if only for an hour or two, in a state of happy hypocrisy” (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) …More Recent Critical Crime Films Which Break with This Tradition (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) From Taxi Driver . 1976. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Bill/Phillips, Italo/Judeo Productions. Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime ; Rafter, Shots in the Mirror) Film Noir A film style that came about in films made in Hollywood in the 1940s and early 1950s, and affected more than just crime films. Their mood is “dark” or “black,” and they involve “shadowy, nighttime settings…[a] preoccupation with the underworld, eroticized violence, existential misery, exotic nonwhite characters, death, and nightmarish irrationality.” Examples: The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, (Neo -Noir) Sin City Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime) Detective Film “Often a hybrid film with other areas of the crime film such as, film noir, police procedural and thriller, the detective may be professional or amateur. The focus of the detective film is the process of the investigation, the solving of clues and the resolution (or otherwise) of the enigma.” Examples: The Thin Man, Seven, The Silence of the Lambs, The Da Vinci Code, Shutter Island Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime) Thriller “The thriller includes a wide range of subject matter and characters but can be defined through the effect of suspense created by the relationship between detective or victim and criminal. Suspense is created through the emphasis on the victim and the suffering they experience.” Examples: Copycat, The Game, Inception, North by Northwest, Rear Window Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime) Political Crime Film “Originally associated with American cinema of the 1970s, the political crime film — or conspiracy film — deals with the investigation of a cover up by governments or corporations. The films are characterized by a mood of paranoia often linked to downbeat endings.” Examples: Chinatown, All the President’s Men, Enemy of the State, The Ides of March Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime) Vigilante Film “In its pure form, the vigilante film focuses on the illegal actions of a private individual who, having been the victim of crime, enacts revenge and retribution on the criminals. This narrative of retribution is also found in the detective film with the character of the maverick cop.” Examples: Dirty Harry, Death Wish, Walking Tall, Old Boy Important Crime Film Cycles and Categories (from Benyahia, Crime) Gangster film “Characterized by the rise and fall of a ‘tragic’ hero in the context of organized crime. The crime family is a hierarchical structure governed by strict codes of honor and loyalty, which are always broken.” Examples: The Public Enemy, Scarface, The Godfather, Get Carter, Pulp Fiction Hollywood Gangster Films “First Enduring Type of Crime Film”: Gangster Movie (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) Three Early Gangster Movies (w/ sound) Little Caesar, Public Enemy, and Scarface From Public Enemy . 1931. Warner Bros.
Pictures. Hollywood Gangster Films Some Patterns in Early Gangster Films which Later Films Copied • “Ethnic mobsters struggling for control” • Criminals cooler than the cops • Complex criminal type • Urban settings • I ain’t so tough moment They pose questions about the modern social world and opportunities for success…. (consider what they teach us about the American Dream) From Scarface . 1932. The Caddo Company. (From Nochimson, Dying to Belong ; Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) Hollywood vs Hong Kong Gangster Films • Hollywood and Hong Kong gangster films tell stories of the “yearning, conflicted immigrant,” often destroyed by their attempts to achieve worldly success • Rise and fall stories • But Hong Kong gangster films incorporate other older values, e.g.
Taoist • Gangsters try to balance materialism with these other elements such as loyalty and brotherhood • Gangsters can be criminals as well as be honorable • Conflict is between their older values, and amoral commercialism and technology of new Americanized world (From Nochimson , Dying to Belong) From A Better Tomorrow . 1986. Cinema City, Film Workshop. What’s In Crime Films Crime films provide a “reservoir of images” regarding the causes of crime (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) Crime films reflect societal ideas/attitudes at the time as well as criminological theories (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) Basic Explanations of Criminal Behavior Include • Biological and Psychological Theories • Sociological Theories (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror; Siegel, Criminology) From Fight Club . 1999. Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Linson Films, Atman Entertainment, Knickerbocker Films, Taurus Film. Criminological Theories: The Chicago School *this is a type of sociological theory regarding crime, one that focuses on social structure Empirical Data:
*Official data *Life history Realize:
Crime rates vary by area Theory of concentric zones Overall Argument:
Crime the result of social disorganization Park and Burgess Model. From Park and Burgess and McKenzie. 1925/1967. The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (From Siegel, Criminology; Williams and McShane, Criminological Theory) Criminological Theories: Merton’s Strain Theory *this is also a sociological theory of crime that looks to social structure, although you can see it does discuss individuals and their responses to societal conditions Does the American Dream Cause Deviant and/or Criminal Behavior?
Socialization Goals Legitimate/socially acceptable means to achieve them Yet everyone is not equal = blocked opportunity structures and strain Yields deviance and crime Accepts Goals? Accepts Means? Conformity Y Y Ex. Students Getting a College Degree Innovation Y N Ex. Drug Dealers Ritualism N Y Ex. Low Level Bureaucrat, Career Fast Food Worker Retreatism N N Ex. Hermit, Drug Addict Rebellion New Goals New Means Ex. Revolutionaries (From Siegel, Criminology; Williams and McShane, Criminological Theory ) Criminological Theories: Differential Opportunity *this can also be classified as a sociological theory looking at social structure But let’s not assume that access to illegitimate means is there for all…. Different delinquent gang subcultures (ideal types) Criminal Subculture Offenses about making profit Limited Violence Learn through the structure Conflict Subculture Random Acts Violent Acts Destruction of Property Instability Disorganization, Lack of legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures Lack of integration Illegitimate opportunity structures exist Is integration between conventional and unconventional structures (From Siegel, Criminology; Williams and McShane, Criminological Theory ) Discuss Watch the original Scarface or watch A Better Tomorrow & talk about things such as the following: • How the criminals are portrayed, • What theories of crime you see represented, • How the films reflect the attitudes of society at the time, • Differences between American and Hong Kong gangster films, • What arguments you agree and disagree with from the reading Dying to Belong, • How the movies represent race/ethnicity and gender. …Explain/relate/discuss what you say somehow to Dying to Belong. From A Better Tomorrow . 1986. Cinema City, Film Workshop. Culture & Film • “Crime films reflect our ideas about fundamental social, economic and political issues while at the same time shaping the ways we think about these issues” (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) • Culture as a “tool kit” …implying “individuals and groups will interpret movies differently, that interpretations will vary over time, that viewers will carry away from films different bits of cultural information” (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) ....... Movies provide “fragments of culture” which “in our minds form themselves into schemata or templates that we then draw on in the form of assumptions, social norms, principles and so on, using them as handy guides to behavior so we do not have to think through every action from the start every time. Schemata then aggregate into even larger mental structures — ideologies…and narratives of the self. In sum, movies are a source of cultural information, most of which simply rattles around in our heads waiting to be called upon, but some of which feeds into our ideologies and other mental schemata. The schemata in turn interact with the external world, where we encounter new cultural phenomena (including new movies) that then feed back into our schemata, usually reinforcing but sometimes disconfirming them.” (From Rafter, Shots in the Mirror ) *Note she says some of these ideas are still speculative and not fully studied as of yet. 1991. Columbia Pictures Corporation.