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Film / The Last Gangster

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The Last Gangster is a 1937 crime drama directed by Edward Ludwig and starring Edward G. Robinson, Jimmy Stewart, and Rose Stradner.

During Prohibition a hot shot gang leader, Joe Krozac (Robinson) returns from Europe with a new wife, Talya (Stradner). The Kile brothers have muscled in on his territory in his absence, so he orders their assassinations. Three are killed, but "Acey" Kile (Alan Baxter) survives. Soon after, Talya becomes pregnant, much to Krozac's delight. Tayla is blissfully unaware of Joe's murderous career, however.

Krozac is later sent to Alcatraz prison for ten years for income tax evasion, just before their son is born. After Talya visits her husband with their child, reporter Paul North (Stewart) plays a dirty trick on her, putting a gun in the baby's hands for a photograph. When Talya goes to his newspaper to plead to be left alone, his editor refuses to do so, but Paul is so ashamed of himself, he quits his job and strikes up a relationship with Talya. She gets a divorce and marries Paul. They move away and change their names to start a new life. However, ten years later when Joe is released from prison, he is determined to be reunited with his son and to get revenge on his former wife.

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Tropes:

  • The Alcatraz: The actual Alcatraz.
  • Anti-Villain / Villain Protagonist: Joe Krozac.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Joe and Paul Jr. awkwardly bond after being left out in the middle of nowhere once Joe's gang double-crosses him and makes off with his 'dough'. This includes sleeping under hay stacks to shelter themselves from rain, and building a fire to cook some food.
  • Battle in the Rain: At the end, between Krozac and Acey.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: At least until Joe is thrown in the slammer for ten years, and then betrayed by his gang when he gets out.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Krozac finds out about the birth of his son after overhearing a boy peddling newspapers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Paul North does one. Joe Krozac does one in the end as well.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Though Joe's son, now named Paul Jr., refuses to believe him.
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  • Mammy: Gloria, Tayla's servant.
  • Mutual Kill: Acey shoots Joe at the end, but Joe manages to stay alive long enough to wrestle the gun from Acey and shoot him too before he tells the newspapers that Paul Jr. is his son.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Joe Krozac, sadly.
  • Spinning Newspaper: The beginning credits are done like this, interestingly. Appears throughout the film played straight as well.
  • Time Skip: A Time Passes Montage is shown while Joe is in prison, with the words "days", "months" and "years" on the screen.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Tayla is vaguely said to be "from Europe", no specific country is ever mentioned. Although her actress is Austrian.
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