always want the title of a movie to be an exciting and engaging thing.
It should aid the visual representation provided by the poster, but
ultimately it’s the name that drags you in. Through the years Hollywood
has offered up countless films with titles that ultimately turned out to
be MISLEADING, and that’s where we step in. We’re going to expose those
films that promised one thing, only to deliver something entirely
different from what was promised from the title. Remember, these are not
(Previously… Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn)
THE OFFENDER: The Untouchables
BUY IT FROM US
RELEASED: June 3rd, 1987
THE DIRECTOR: Brian De Palma
CAST: Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia and Sean Connery
U.S. BOX OFFICE TAKE: $76.3 million
AWARDS: Best Supporting Actor (Oscars and Golden Globes, Sean Connery), Best Score (BAFTA and Grammys, Ennio Morricone),
TAGLINE: “Al Capone. He ruled Chicago with absolute power. No one could touch him. No one could stop him – Until Eliot Ness and a small force of men swore they’d bring him down”
IF CHUD WROTE THE TAGLINE: “Al Capone’s a real jerk”
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead]
Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables is a great film, beloved by many and considered one of the best Mob movies ever made.
It’s also a horribly misleading title.
Now I’m not here to debate the merits of the film itself: I love it. Despite all of the historical inaccuracies I still love the movie. Sure Ness never threw Frank Nitti off of a building, but it’s Billy Drago so why wouldn’t you? And who cares that there were really 11 Untouchables and all lived, while the film only has 4 and HALF live! It doesn’t matter because De Palma did a great job utilizing David Mamet’s excellent script and Morricone’s wonderful score, and it makes it easier to overlook things like that. Plus, Charles Martin Smith is a gun-toting accountant so who cares how accurate it is.
to the title: the “untouchable” label refers to the group of men Eliot Ness gathered together to help in his fight against Capone’s crime empire back in the old days. Those men were of such fine moral standing that they couldn’t be bought with bribes or threats – hence “untouchable”. But the title is misleading on another front, and that is it implies that the men couldn’t be gotten to with bullets, which is far from the truth in this movie.
TOUCHABLE EXAMPLE #1: Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith)
Wallace is the accountant assigned to Ness’ team via Washington (not George), and becomes our first example of being extremely touchable. O.W. meets his end escorting another bookworm, one of Capone’s number crunchers, at the hands of the evil Billy Drago. He’s left in the elevator (along with the dead snitch) with “touchable” scribbled on the walls in blood. Irony can be pretty ironic at times.
TOUCHABLE EXAMPLE #2: Jim Malone (Sean Connery)
In the film, Malone is Ness’ right-hand man and pseudo mentor. Known for his tough demeanor and absent Irish accent, Malone carries with him a pendant of St. Jude which does absolutely nothing to protect him from tommy gun bullets. He almost makes it, though.
While the group Ness assembled in the movie was cut in two, Al Capone’s gang suffered far more losses. Switching gears we’re going to take a look at some of the less fortunate members on the other side who were never considered untouchable… and for good reason.
ALMOST MADE IT #1: Frank Nitti (Billy Drago)
Nitti is one of Capone’s most trusted henchmen, and is a real mean cat. A cold blooded killer and wearer of fancy white suits, he’s arguably the meanest guy in the whole film outside of Capone himself. After Ness spares his life towards the end dumb Frank opens his big trap, mentions stuck Irish pigs, and finds himself being sent off a rooftop for his troubles.
ALMOST MADE IT #2: Capone’s Traitorous Henchmen
This poor guy was trying to enjoy a nice dinner and cigar before Al Capone decided to test out his new Lousiville Slugger on his dome. Never considered a real untouchable to begin with, he’s even less so now.
ALMOST MADE IT #3: Bowtie Driver (Vito D’Ambrosio)
The guy wearing a bowtie almost never survives in movies that feature guns (science has proven this), and The Untouchables has plenty of firearms. This sad gent decides to take Capone’s accountant hostage during the famous train station shootout. He’s given ’til the count of 3 to let the man go, but barely makes it to 1 before falling victim to Andy Garcia’s skull shot. He had a hand in Malone’s murder, so it’s safe to say he deserves this.
ACTUALLY MADE IT: The Baby Carriage
The only entry in the ACTUALLY MADE IT category, this baby carrying device saw a lot of action before finally coming to rest on top of Andy Garcia. While the baby boy was safely snuggled inside, Capone’s minions were blasting the daylights out of the carriage and any cop or passerby that wandered into their line of shot. With several bullet holes nicely aerating it, both child and buggy were successfully protected by the remaining two Untouchables.
Obviously The Untouchables centered around Ness and his team of cops, but it’s nice to step aside every now and then and try to see a film through the eyes of someone who has no clue what the title means. Many people were “touched” in De Palma’s The Untouchables, and for that alone it can be considered a misleading title.