The World Is Yours: The Story of Scarface

Hanover Square: Harlequin. May 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781335449627. $32. FILM
Kenny (Made Men: The Making of Goodfellas and the Reboot of the American Gangster Picture) pays a scholarly homage to Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake of Scarface. He includes new interviews with key players, a detailed synopsis of the movie, and a thoughtful study of Scarface’s lasting impact on American culture. There are riveting behind-the-scenes tales of casting decisions, Al Pacino’s acting techniques, the trauma of editing the chainsaw scene, and struggles to avoid an X rating because of the unprecedented violence and abundant profanity. He details Michelle Pfeiffer’s experience as a 23-year-old novice. Readers gain insight into De Palma’s directing abilities. There are also tidbits such as how De Palma’s dissatisfaction with the voice performances of two actors playing immigration officers led him to redub their performances with Charles Durning and Dennis Franz. Kenny dissects the meaning of the film’s synth-driven soundtrack, how hip-hop artists later embraced the film, the artistry of the Miami location, and the glorification of criminality that continues to fascinate many.
VERDICT Fans of the film and moviemaking students will discover a new appreciation for the process of bringing Scarface to life (and death).
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