Goon Squad

While Ben Hecht was working on the script for Scarface (1932), word got around that the project was a biopic about Al Capone. Sure enough, Hecht was visited in his hotel room late one night by a couple of mobsters intent on ensuring that their boss was portrayed in a flattering light. "Is this stuff about Al Capone?" the goons asked menacingly. "God, no -- I don't even know Al," Hecht lied, adding that he had left Chicago before Capone's rise to supremacy. "I knew Jim Colisimo pretty well," he continued. "I also knew Mossy Enright and Pete Gentleman." "Did you know Deanie?" one of the gunmen asked. "Deanie O'Banion?" Hecht replied. "Sure. I used to ride around with him in his flivver." "Okay, we'll tell Al this stuff you wrote is about them other guys," the men remarked, heading for the door. Hecht thought he was home free, until one of his visitors had a thought: "If this stuff ain't about Al Capone," he asked, "why are you callin' it Scarface? Everybody'll think it's him." "That's the reason," the quick-thinking writer replied. "Al is one of the most famous and fascinating men of our time. If we call the movie Scarface, everybody will want to see it, figuring it's about Al. That's part of the racket we call showmanship!"

[Capone's henchmen left contented.]

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