11 May 2004 | vertigo_14
There was more than one Capone, and they weren't all gangsters.
'The Lost Capone' is a small budget made-for-tv movie about the Capone brothers. Four of them: Ralph, Frank, Johnny, and the notorious gagnster, Al Capone. Only not all of them followed in big Al's footsteps into gangsterhood.
The Capone crime family, as told through this story, originated throught he brothers. Their father seemed to run a respectable barbershop, despite not making much money. Growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, the Capone boys were growing up as street tough kids and making their reputation there.
Under the mistaken belief that during one of their midnight rumbles with some rivals, he killed a man, Johnny Capone (played by that handsome fellow, Adrian Pasdar) leaves town and both his family and the life of crime behind. He bums around for awhile in odd sorts of occupations such a traveling with the circus and then a tour in the first World War (this is only mentioned, not shown) before winding up in Nebraska, where his good-nature and tough attitude lands him a job as the small town's new Marshall.
The three Capone brothers assume their brother is dead as Johnny completely falls out of contact with his family. He left his old life in Brooklyn behind to start over again, fresh, as Richard Hart, town Marshall. And he's good at what he does, cleaning up the gangsters rolling through town with supplies for the speakeasies and gin joints in this Prohibition-era story. And Richard Hart isn't going to let the trash take over his town.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the tough as nails Al Capone (Eric Roberts), and his two brothers, Ralph and Frank, are behind all of these gangsters that are forcefully trying to drive in the liquor to these towns. And they plan to get it done, whether by bribery or death. They meet their match however, when they find out that some unknown town Marshall isn't one to accept those bribes, and he isn't backing down, either. They have yet to discover that Richard Hart is actually their long-lost brother, Johnny Capone. It is a question of how far Al Capone will go to get what he wants. And whether Johnny, knowing that his brothers are behind these deals, is going to back down for the sake of family over the town's trust. Richard Hart can be just as though when he has to.
Based on a true story, this is an interesting and rather unknown side of the life of Al Capone. At least for me, not being alive during his time, or even within the few years after his death when these kinds of stories might have been more publicized. As for the movie itself, despite being a small-budget film, it turned out to be pretty good as well. I thought Eric Roberts did tend to slop up a few of Al Capone's more aggressive moments, but I'm not sure if he was just trying to emulate Al Capone's behavior or manner of speaking. And for such a vicious gangster, they painted this pathetic, sympathetic picture of him at the end (because Al Capone died of Neurosyphillis, so he was nearly completely delusional at the end).
Nonetheless, it is probably a lesser known story about the Capones, and a surprising one, as well, given that Al, Frank, and Ralph decided to become first generation mobsters, while simultaneously competing with their brother, Johnny, who chose the life of law enforcement.