Gang War (lost part-talking gangster film; 1928)

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Gangwar.jpg

Lobby card, featuring a still from the film.

Status: Lost

Gang War was a part-talkie film in the gangster genre that was released on September 2nd, 1928. The main (and probably only) reason the film is known today is that it was the film that was attached to the famous Mickey Mouse short, Steamboat Willie. It was overshadowed by Steamboat Willie and has been largely forgotten about by the public.

Plot

In the prologue and in what is the only speaking part of the movie, two reporters tell the audience what is going to happen in the film.[1]

On the San Francisco Bay waterfront, a man named Clyde Baxter performs on the street for money (also known as busking). One night while street performing, he meets a woman who goes by the short and simple name of Flowers. He teaches this woman to dance, but soon finds out that a gang boss, "Blackjack", is also infatuated with Flowers. To add to that, there is an intense turf war between Blackjack and a rival gangster named Mike Luego.

Soon, Blackjack ends up winning Flowers over and marries her, but he does not consummate the marriage (having sex after marriage). Then, Clyde is eventually able to win Flowers back, and Mike Luego is about to kill the both of them before Blackjack comes and sacrifices himself to save Clyde and Flowers.[2]

Reception

Steamboat Willie was a huge hit, and as mentioned above, completely overshadowed the film that proceeded it. Gang War didn't get the worst reviews, but it did not get the best, either. The New York Times called it better than the majority of films of its kind, but also dismissed it as "more gang fights". They also found the film to be kind of cliché. They did not like the sentimentality of Blackjack's death, and would do the audience a favor if they removed some words, especially the word "well" (based on this info, the film must have said the word an irritating amount of times).[3]

Availability

The film is largely unknown to the public today, and a small amount of info on it exists today. No moving footage of the film exists at the moment,[4][5][1] but a handful of stills and posters for the film still do exist. It's unlikely that the film will be found due to it being kicked completely out of the limelight by the far more famous animated short attached to it, but there is no proof that the film is lost forever, so a print could still be out there.

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