RARA-AVIS: Boardwalk Empire

From: James Michael Rogers (jeddak5@cox.net)
Date: 19 Oct 2010

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    What a disappointment this program is. I don't know if Jim Doherty is still on is list, as he is the only other addict for this kind of thing that I know of, but I have been very saddened by several aspects of the program.

    First, the show portrays Capone as a bit of psycho rebelling against Torrio's logic. This is not true at all. Capone understood perfectly what Torrio wanted to do. Torrio was, first of all, far from afraid of violence himself and his plans only stopped being implemented _after his hit on Dion O'Banion_ and after the unsuccesful hit he endured. Even after Torrio left Capone periodically attempted to implement Torrios scheme.

    Secondly, the notion that black mobsters cut a wide swath among white mobsters. They just didn't. This is a bit revisonist. Jewish, Italian, and Irish gangsters barely even regarded each other as "white". The idea that a black gangster could call a white gandlord a "motherf***er" to his face and walk away is just ludicrous. Decades later some black ganglords would _almost_ have that stroke, but not in 1920.....The year of the Tulsa Race Riot and when Birth Of The Nation was being screened in the White House.

    Conversely, all white jazz bands playing for gangsters? ODJB aside, the best friends black jazz ever had were the gangs who booked 'em. The NY Times just ran a self-congratulatory article about the Nighthawks guy who scores for the show. I have as many period 78's as he does and he is all wet.

    Individual moments in the show are well scripted and, really, very well acted. For instance, the slow lead up to Pearl's suicide when Jimmy won't say he loves her and has to swallow before he kisses her scarred face. I wish the whole show had that level of sensitivity. Instead, they seem to think that if they have period costumes and set design they can slide on the other stuff. It's like watching a 1940s film about the Civil War.



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