in about 100 words or less
US 79m, B&W
Director: Mervyn LeRoy; Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Glenda Farrell, William Collier Jr., Sidney Blackmer
Little Caesar is a gangster film full of stereotyped and old-time clichéd dialogue and plenty of pre-code violence that was adapted from a novel of the same name by William R. Burnett. The film follows the rise of a small time crook “Little Caesar” aka Rico as he moves up through the ranks of the Chicago crime syndicate. There is little substance to the thin plot which follows Rico’s meteoric climb to the top and an equally dramatic crash following his betrayal by a long time pal who has fallen for dame named Olga. The only really interesting aspect to the film is Rico’s relentless need to keep his buddy Joe by his side. While Rico explains that he needs to ensure that Joe doesn’t blow the whistle on him to the coppers, it is his jealousy of Olga for Joe’s attentions which is clearly his downfall – for which he remarks that’s what he gets for “liking a guy too much” (Klaus Ming January 2011).