February 7, 1996 |
Has prison life taken the macho out of the Philly mob? From a prison in Virginia, convicted former mob boss John Stanfa and a couple of his henchmen have taken to complaining about being far away from home while awaiting sentencing for acts of racketeering, including murder. Now one of Stanfa's alleged soldiers, Giuseppe Gallara, also known as "Joe Stanfa," who is in a South Jersey prison awaiting trial on the same racketeering charges, is yelping that North Jersey and New York mobsters get much better plea bargains than guys like him from Philly.
April 23, 2000 |
The litany of recorded conversations, outlined by a federal prosecutor during a plea hearing last week, was staggering: Anthony Viesti meeting in a South Jersey restaurant, where he solicits $20,000 for a drug deal from another mob associate. Viesti at Garden State Park, where he and several other reputed mob figures set up a drug purchase. Viesti at a second restaurant meeting, where the price for a pound of methamphetamine ($8,500) is negotiated. Viesti at another meeting, receiving a $7,500 payment.
May 21, 2010 |
Thought exercise: Imagine Romeo and Juliet . Next, Bonnie & Clyde . Next, Thelma & Louise . OK. Now, reimagine all these doomed romantics on the same plate, add a dollop of Showgirls , a side of Dirty Dancing , a Scarface chaser and many, many, many Dukes of Hazzard car chases, and you have Kites , a Bollywood musical/gangster/melodrama romance in Hindi, Spanish and English. Preposterous? Oh, yeah. Preposterously entertaining? You bet. The principal attractions of this film are its gorgeous stars, Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan and Japanese-Uruguayan-Mexican bombshell Bárbara Mori, who have matching jade-green eyes and pearly smiles.
March 23, 1998
Every culture has its myths. One that's prevalent in ours is the myth of the cuddly mobster. It probably goes back beyond Robin Hood, but the modern equivalent may spring from Damon ("Guys and Dolls") Runyon's short stories. Whatever the origin, thanks to movies and TV and especially (we must admit) the mass media, most Americans see the Mob as simpatico guys who are rough-hewn but have hearts of gold, living glamorous - if a tad dangerous - lives. Not so. No matter how cute we get in our news columns and editorials about the funny nicknames and Uncle Rocco's advice to nephew Louis ("Don't throw grenades, someone else might get hurt; use a double-barreled shotgun instead")
July 26, 1991 |
The virtue of "GoodFellas" was that it took the glamor out of mob sagas, and it's going to take a picture a lot better than "Mobsters" to put it back in. "Mobsters" tries, however. The movie casts a fond, nostalgic look back at the early careers of New York crooks Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Seigel, circa Prohibition. "Mobsters" does not allow itself to get bogged down by such troublesome issues as morality. Instead, it concentrates on the more exciting, fun-to-photograph aspects of gangsterism - clothes, cash, chicks and guns.
September 3, 1993
It is tempting to suggest that the warring factions of the Philadelphia mob abandon their hit-and-run guerrilla skirmishes, and stage a pitched battle. Let them all gather, say, in some desolate swale in the Jersey Pine Barrens. Supply them with mortars and grenades, and let them wipe each other out. We're not serious about that solution, of course. But we are serious when we say that these bloody skirmishes are no longer hazardous only to the mobsters. The participants aren't simply colorful local characters with comical nicknames engaging in traditional rites.
July 26, 1991 |
Mobsters is Young Guns brandishing Thompsons instead of Winchesters. Not for nothing have wags already dubbed it Young Buns. This saga about the wild-oats years of gangsters Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel is scarcely more than an excuse to put vealcake hunks Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey, Costas Mandylor and Richard Grieco in pin stripes and fedoras. The film boasts natty threads, handsome period decors, burnished-gold cinematography and a jazzy soundtrack, but where is the script that explains why these Lower East Side toughs became bootleggers and mob bosses?
May 11, 1989 |
Two men who once held high posts in the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob were hit yesterday with 45-year prison sentences that are likely to ensure that they will spend most, if not all, of their lives behind bars. Former underboss Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, 49, who was demoted to soldier in 1986, was ordered to serve the sentence in addition to the life sentence he is serving for the 1985 murder of mob associate Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso. Mob captain Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, 55, who has been in prison on other racketeering charges since 1983, was scheduled to have been paroled tomorrow.
September 26, 2014 |
"THE EQUALIZER" stars Denzel Washington as a home-improvement-store worker named McCall, whose secretive bearing is a source of amusement to his co-workers. They pester him for details, but all he will say, after busting a few old-school moves, is that he worked behind Gladys Knight as a Pip. It's not true, of course, but it's true he was a pip of a special-ops ass-kicker, as we suspect when we watch him go about his regimented business in his spartan home. He has the efficient habits of a military man, and also a romantic soul - he reads Cervantes.
December 6, 1986
With a headline appropriate to the outbreak of World War III, The Inquirer recently heralded the indictment in New Jersey of Nicodemo Scarfo, among others. And so continues the intense fascination of the press with Italian- Americans accused of involvement in organized crime. Each act of an Italian alleged to be in organized crime is trumpeted in a way atypical of crimes committed by others. While every piece of scholarship on the subject insists that virtually every ethnic group has its organized criminals, only Italian-Americans remain at front and center in the press.