The End

"Go on Rico, I'm done for."

-Ortega in Little Caesar screenplay by Francis Faragoh

By the end of the 1938, America had stared off on a New Deal and the brash rebellious gangster was no longer needed. The big gangster era was over. All the famous bosses were either dead or in prison (even Al Capone was in Alcatraz). The tabloids never again had a story as big as the St. Valentines' Day Massacre. The also gangster lost much of his popularity in portrayal. He was no longer the unfortunate man of circumstance tying to reach the American dream the only way it could be done in the depression; he was now a social parasite. As a number of gangster films flooded the market with knockoffs of the genre leaders, which were less sympathetic in their portrayal. Gangsters films took from Public Enemy and Scarface showing abused women, and brutal emotionless men without any social justification. The socialite gangster of the 1920's was long gone with the jazz age, and the disadvantaged gangster of the 1930's was dead on his feet by 1938 as the country turned away from depression.

Censorship had a lot to do with the process as well. The Hayes Office and the League of Decency led to public outcry and films like Angels with Dirty Faces, which suggested that gangsters were not simply disadvantaged loners who turned to crime but people who choose to commit immoral acts and could thus be redeemed.

Still the censorship of the Hayes Office was basically self-imposed, Hollywood knew it was time for the gangster to gasp his last. The times were changing and as the nation looked forward to the administration of Roosevelt it left behind prohibition, the jazz age, and the gangster. It was not however the last time America would see the face of the dreaming rebellious loner, he simply took other forms in other times going out of 1938 with a bang.

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