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The Local Scene

The Untouchables mythologized a city the Chicago way
About This Episode

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Brian De Palma’s spirited and sweeping Prohibition gangster movie The Untouchables—a great crowd-pleaser that is just as well remembered for its two-fisted turns of phrase (courtesy of screenwriter David Mamet) and its stylized artistic flourishes. Not the least of these flourishes is the way the film uses the imposing architecture of The A.V. Club’s home base, Chicago. For this inaugural edition of The Local Scene, editor Sean O’Neal and film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky visit some of the movie’s iconic downtown filming locations to discuss how The Untouchables uses the city to create an operatic backdrop for the conflict between the straight-arrow lawman Eliot Ness and the despotic gangster Al Capone, and drop into the office of official city historian Tim Samuelson to talk about the real men behind the myth.