The World of Merchandising is Yours

Excerpts from Vulture’s interview with culture critic Ken Burns on his new book, and the indelible effect on pop culture and flea-market entrepreneurship of Scarface, in Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America

Why was the Scarface cast and crew so reluctant to discuss its influence?
I think their interpretation of its acceptance in pop culture is that it somehow tarnishes the movie and they can’t understand that it’s what keeps it alive. I think they really ought to loosen up and embrace it. They should own their Scarface.

You wrote that De Palma has been repeatedly pitched by rappers looking to re-score Scarface with hip-hop. Sounds like a good idea, given Georgio Moroder’s awful disco-synth soundtrack.
He hates the idea and has refused to allow that to happen. He thinks [the old score] captures the period, and while he’s very glad that hip-hop musicians love this movie, he thinks it would ruin his great creation.

You’re also a music critic. It seems hip-hop has moved away a bit from the Scarface paradigm, what with 50 Cent selling water and all that.
I think that the business rules of Scarface provided a business model ten years ago for a lot of hip-hop artists, but now those kinds of showy exhibitionist displays of wealth are considered both bad form and bad business, and we’re entering the post-Scarface era of music economics.

Posted by Ted Zee on November 14th 2008 | Home Page | 0 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

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