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Schlockmeister Roger Corman produced this graphically violent chronicle of the Chicago gangster wars of the 1920s and the events that lead to the bloody title showdown between rival mobsters Al Capone (Jason Robards) and Bugs Moran (Ralph Meeker) that marked a brutal end to a terrifying era.
Fred Steiner's film score is effectively mixed with popular songs from the 1920s, and the re-creation of gangster-era Chicago is a credit to the set designers. Historic and insightful narration is dramatically provided by Paul Frees, giving the film the flavor of a docudrama.
Jean Hale plays Moran's gun moll, who is mercilessly kneed in the stomach while arguing over a fur coat. Though The St. Valentine's Day Massacre was heralded by critics at the time of its initial release, their opinion of the film has changed with each decade as they waver on the cinematic value of all of Corman's work.
Audiences continue to relish the film, which is often shown on the anniversary of the bloody executions. Watch for Jack Nicholson as one of the unfortunate victims.