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7 pages/≈1925 words
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MLA
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Literature & Language
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English (U.S.)
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Comparing American Gangster Films (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
INSTRUCTIONS: This writing assignment asks you to look at two films analytically. Specifically, select one of the following recent American gangster films (The Departed, Public Enemies, Traffic, American Gangster, Donnie Brasco, Gangs of New York, Road to Perdition, or Out of Sight) and discuss it in relation to one of the following classical gangster films: Little Caesar (1930), The Public Enemy (1931), or Scarface (1932). (If you select a title that was not screened in class, please clear the title with prof in advance.) Discuss/analyze the recent film in terms of how it uses and revises the conventions of the genre, as established during the classical (early 1930s) era. In addition, consider the elements or themes that your more recent film includes that are not conventional to the genre. Construct a 7-to-8 page analysis of the two films, in relation to one another, using the ideas and concepts addressed in class readings and lectures. That is, aim to engage with and use material from the course readings to help structure your thesis and analysis. Be sure to attend, as relevant, to the formal techniques used in the films, such as mise en scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. Pay particular attention to the social and historical contexts that might help to illuminate your understanding and analyses of the films. Secondary sources should be consulted for the essay; they may be selected from the course readings and from library research (lengthier film reviews from published periodicals, for example). Internet sources should be cleared with your TA, in advance. Your paper should include citations for the sources you use, and a bibliography that includes at least three outside sources. Finally, choose your films carefully and explain specifically why you have selected them and how they are related (or what makes them appropriate) for the purposes of your analysis. source..
Content:
Name
Professor
Course
Date
Public Enemies vs. The Public Enemy
Introduction
It is commonly argued that change is the only constant thing in nature. That is, there must always be a change in the manner in which people do things. This change affects all the areas of man`s life, including the entertainment sector. The film sector has observed gradual but steady changes since the classical era to the present. One of the genres of the film industry that has observed this change is the American Gangster film industry. This essay seeks to analyze the changes in this genre based on an analysis of two films; Public Enemies (2009) by Michael Mann and The Public Enemy (1931) by William A. Wellman. This essay seeks to prove the fact that the theme in the gangster films has not changed but the manner in which the crime in the two eras is depicted has changed a lot. The modern era is more sophisticated as compared to the classical films.
Film Overviews
Public Enemies is more of a biographical account, detailing the hay days of a bank robber known as John Dillinger. The FBI detective Melvin Purvis is on Dillinger`s case after he was promoted by Hoover due to his previous successes in dealing with such criminal activities and having eliminated one of the former notorious criminals that existed. The film depicts how Dillinger`s life is marred by violence and death. He meets and manages to lure Billie Frechette who becomes his lover even after she gets to know his real identity. The film ends with the death of Dillinger, the suicide of Purvis and the freedom of Billie.
The Public Enemy, on the other hand, is a film depicting a young man who grows up and matures in crime. Tom Powers and Matt Doyle start engaging in simple criminal activities in their younger ages. They sell off their loots and use the money to enjoy their lives. However, they soon are introduced into the gangster life where they have to be hardcore criminals. Though Tom tries to hide his criminal activities from his family especially his mother, it is not long before he is discovered and this leads to a fall-out between him and his brother. Nails, the gang-leader of the gang to which Tom belongs, dies in an accident and a rival gang takes over. They kill some of Tom`s friends and also got him. He is wounded and ends up at the hospital. It is while at the hospital that he makes up with his family. The rival gang kidnaps him, kills him and the n brings back his dead body.
Comparative Analysis
From the two films, it is clear that the American gangster films have the same theme. This is not the only similarity that the films bear. Despite being produced decades apart, both are developed from a novel which had been written earlier. In Public Enemies (2009), is an adaptation of a novel by Bryan Burrough titled Public Enemies: America`s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI (Books Llc 43). The Public Enemy, on the other hand, was an adaptation of Beer and Blood by K...
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