From this essay I hope to establish weather ?Goodfellas? conforms to the classical generic conventions of the gangster films of the 1930s or is it in a complete different league of it own? As it goes the Goodfellas conventions are closely related to ?Public Enemy? and ?Little Caesar? as it shows the lead characters rise to the gangster life and fall as such. Goodfellas differs slightly but still stays in the boundaries of this common identity given to the gangster genre. As the classical gangster films set up the narrative for this genre, Goodfellas doesn?t drift far from this narrative set in the 1930s.
Goodfellas has the rise of the local nobody, the climbing up the ladder to a name around town. This is not dissimilar from the classical conventions of the gangster film of the 1930s. The only notable difference is there is no sizeable fall from greatness, yes Henry?s life changes but with no significant justice gained by the authorities for Henry?s misdemeanours.
The classical convention of the 1930s was either the authorities caught up with the gangster or death met him but either were a suitable fate. In Goodfellas this convention has either changed to suit society because now situations with authorities are not always as clean cut. The industry has responded to this transformation and altered the out come of the gangster film to suit the audience?s preferences. This new principle of the gangster film does not conform to the classical conventions of there 1930s counterparts.
When looking at the setting, props and make-up on a generic point, we can see they really don?t differ much from the conventions set by the 1930s classical gangster films.
The setting in ?Goodfellas? is exactly what one would expect from this genre. It tries to follow the same conventions as the classical 1930s films but differs because times have changed since the 1930s, so certain things aren?t seen to be as wayward. Drinking was always associated with the gangster of the 1930s but in ?Goodfellas? it is not as severely looked upon as it is legal. We the audience can see through this film how crime has changed over the years. In ?Goodfellas? we can see that the gangsters of today have moved on to bigger and better ways of making money i.e. drugs.
The back door bars were gambling takes place. At the time it is only legal in licensed premises. Restaurants also seem to be associated heavily with this genre as the gangsters seem to do most of their law breaking or crooked deals.
Again we can see that through the props ?Goodfellas? tries its best to follow the classic conventions set by the 1930s gangster films. Characteristically there is the ever presence of guns, flash cars and use of technology at the gangsters disposal. The props present tell the audience what sort of genre is being viewed, which is exactly what the 1930s films did. Again as times have changed, so have the props. ?Goodfellas? has altered props only because it was made some forty years after ?Public Enemy? or ?Little Caesar?. If ?Goodfellas? was made at the same time, the same conventions were props are concerned would have been the same as the 1930s films.
Whilst looking at costume and makeup in ?Goodfellas? we can see it?s closely related to the classical gangster films such as ?Public Enemy?, it has the expensive suits, stylish polished shoes and the slick appearance caused by make-up also proves that the conventions set in the 1930s have stuck. ?Make-up can aim at complete realism?. Goodfellas is no different as it has the women looking very ordinary and the men just look like they are wearing nothing. This is typical of the gangster genre as it aims for realism as crime is always seen to be in the public eye. It is important for these little details to look real because this is exactly what the audience believe a regular person to look like.
In the classical conventions of the gangster genre the woman always seemed to play a huge part in the film. By this I mean their roles were always very important and significant to the mean characters. For example in ?Public Enemy? Rico?s mother had a massive influence in the way he reacted to certain situations. For instance arguments with his brother, they would have come to blows if the mother wouldn?t have intervened and controlled Rico.