Mob Culture: Hidden Histories of the American Gangster Film

The gangster is perhaps the most potent figure in American cinema. Yet film criticism has focused almost entirely on a few canonical films such as Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and The Godfather trilogy, resulting in a limited and distorted understanding of the compelling presence and persistence of the gangster. Mob Culture presents a detailed examination of the ideological richness of the gangster film throughout Hollywood's production history, from the silent period to the present.Mob Culture explores how the gangster figure has been connected to various cultural and racial identities, how issues of gender and sexuality are frequently highlighted by the genre, and how film criticism has drawn on eugenics, sociology and psychology to try to explain and contain the gangster. An ideal guide to both the film history and the critical literature, Mob Culture redefines the American gangster at the movies.