Cheaply-made and over-simplified account of the life and times of the most notorious gangland figure of The Roaring Twenties; clearly intended as exploitation – with liberal doses of nudity and foul language to embellish the typical blood-soaked exploits – the Fox film was produced by Roger Corman (who was associated with any number of similar genre efforts, released in the wake of BONNIE AND CLYDE  and which became an even greater commodity after THE GODFATHER ).
As Capone, Ben Gazzara chews more than the scenery – as he obviously has placed something in his mouth to help ‘authenticate’ his delivery! Similarly, so as to give the impression of realism, the script continuously precedes scenes with the date and year when the event depicted is supposed to have happened; still, this doesn’t prevent the film from appearing clichéd most of the time! Curiously, the film ends with Capone on parole going mad in some luxurious mansion – a turn of events which, as far as I know, is completely fabricated.
With the various real-life characters and myriad factions on display, one is prone to lose track of who’s killing who and why – but, for all that, the carnage is constant and moderately well-staged (though, at one point, Corman inserts footage from his own film THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE , also a Fox production!). The cast is made up of veterans like Gazzara, Harry Guardino and a cameo by John Cassavetes, and newcomers such as Sylvester Stallone (a pretty good pre-stardom role as Capone’s right-hand man who eventually has his boss ousted!), regular baddie Martin Kove (as a thug from a rival clan) and lovely Susan Blakely as Capone’s young but free-spirited moll.
Needless to say, the film doesn’t do justice to the character (seen in countless other gangster pics, the most significant impressions perhaps being those given, Method-style, by Rod Steiger in AL CAPONE  and Robert De Niro in THE UNTOUCHABLES ) – but neither is it the disaster Leonard Maltin claims, having slapped a BOMB rating to it! By the way, while the print on Fox’s R2 DVD is O.K., the audio is pretty lousy (often displaying a distracting hiss).