The St. Valentine's Day Massacre/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Orson Welles was originally picked by director Roger Corman to play Al Capone, while Jason Robards was to play "Bugs" Moran. Welles was willing, but Fox vetoed the deal, feeling Welles was "undirectable". Robards took over the role of Capone and Ralph Meeker was brought in to play Moran.
  • More squib charges were used in this film than in the three-hour war epic The Longest Day (1962).
  • The film came in at $200,000 under budget because Corman reused sets from other movies, including a mansion which served as Capone's home (even though in reality he lived in a modest brick home in a working-class neighborhood).
  • The set used as a brothel also served the same function in Fox's The Sand Pebbles (1966)
  • Jack Nicholson was to play the Bruce Dern character, but instead shows up in a bit part as a henchman, loading garlic-soaked bullets into a Tommy gun (Nicholson was still paid for all seven weeks of the shoot.)
  • For the massacre scene in the garage, the actors playing the slain gangsters were shown photos and directed as how to fall so their positions were identical to the real photos of the massacre. Two actors bumped together on the way down. After studying photographs they realized they had fallen and collided in the exact way the slain gangsters had fallen and had landed in the correct positions.
  • The real garage where the massacre took place (2122 N. Clark St, Chicago) was torn down three months after the movie was released.
  • Average Shot Length = ~9.2 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~8.4 seconds.
  • When "Bugs" Moran is leaving his hotel, just before the massacre, the clerk stops him and says "You have a call from a Mister Bernstien in Detroit". "Bernstien" was the last name of the four brothers-Abe, Joe, Ray, and Izzy-who ran Detroit's notorious "Purple Gang". Both Moran and Al Capone used the Bernstiens to get liquor shipments from Canada. This fact is evident later when Moran complains to his bodyguards about Bernstien jacking up the price.
  • Although most of the facts in the film are mostly close to the truth, the only real deviation comes in the fate of Joe Aiello. While the movie does accurately portray Aiello aligning himself with Moran and conspiring to kill Mafia chieftain "Patsy" Lolardo, he was not killed personally by Al Capone on a train (Though Capone was known to personally kill when seized by a fit of personal rage). As shown in the film, Aiello, knowing he was marked for death by Capone, did arrange to have a cousin purchase a train ticket for him at the last minute so that he could skip town. However, he was killed by machine gunners from an apartment window opposite his apartment building as he was leaving to catch the train on October 23rd, 1930: A year and nine months after the massacre, not before.
  • At the beginning of the movie when Peter Gusenberg (George Segal) asks the barkeep where he's getting his beer from, the barkeep answers "A fellow named Slausen." to which Gusenberg replies "Slausen? The only Slausen I know works for Caponi, Al Caponi." Believe it or not, Gusenberg's pronunciation of Capone's name is in fact a source of debate amongst historians. Though he's known as "Capone" with an "E", early arrest sheets and Chicago tribune stories listed Capone's name as "Caponi" with an "I". However, the Chicago Tribune was known at the time for their blatant spelling errors (like "clew" for "clue") and may be responsible for this mis-conception of Capone's name.
  • This was Roger Corman's first directorial project for one of the major studios (Twentieth Century-Fox). After approximately 15 years experience as a producer/director of low budget productions, it was no surprise that Corman wrapped this production ahead of schedule and well under budget.
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