If you have $999.99 burning a hole in your pocket — and hang out with any of the cult followers of the 1983 Brian DePalma film “Scarface” — have I got a one-of-a-kind gift for you!
To celebrate the launch of the Blu Ray edition of the film, 1000 copies are being packaged in a collector’s humidor created by someone the movie company refers to as “the renowned Daniel Marshall” — I’m not up on designer cigar accessories — that is reminiscent of the one in which Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stores the gigantic stogies he smokes throughout the movie.
The object’s exterior is “hand painted and polished with Marshall’s trademark ‘1000 coat brilliant finish.’ The interior – made with untreated Spanish cedar – will properly condition and age approximately 100 cigars at optimal humidity levels.”
“Each individually numbered humidor comes embellished with custom medallions inspired by the iconic film and includes a certificate of authenticity.”
The gangster drama is not quite in the so-bad-it’s-good class of “Valley of the Dolls” (1967) or “Mommie Dearest” (1981), but it too is embraced by fans for its craziest excesses.
Pacino’s performance as the Cuban gangster Tony Montana is one of the greatest scenery chewing displays in movie history — on a par with Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Patty Duke as Neely O’Hara in “Dolls.”
Some critics charged Pacino with racist stereotyping, but the movie wouldn’t be remembered today without the star’s manic and hilarious performance — if you don’t respond to what Pacino does as Tony, you won’t respond to the movie that barely contains his star turn.
Pacino’s slightly sheepish acceptance of the “Scarface” cult is reminiscent of the way that Patty Duke slowly came around to the idea of embracing the folks who know every line and gesture of her “Dolls” performance.
No other movie the actor has ever done has elicited such fan devotion and that has to be slightly bizarre for a man with “The Godfather” and “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon” on his resume.
In 1983, “Scarface” created something of a scandal with its over-ripe dialogue, suggestions of extreme violence and depiction of the cocaine explosion of the late 1970s and early 1980s. “Scarface” received some respectful reviews, but was also vilified by cultural icons such as Kurt Vonnegut who stormed out of a pre-release celebrity screening.
The film struck a nerve in the entertainment industry because of its focus on cocaine which was then causing so much trouble in Hollywood (the late 1970s were marked by wildly out of control productions such as “New York, New York” and “1941” where drug use reportedly played a role in mammoth cost overruns and narrative incoherence in the finished products).
DePalma and screenwriter Oliver Stone were viewed as bad boys telling tales out of school by some industry insiders who knew of Tony Montana-style monster addicts within their own community.
The “Scarface” humidor will be available in September.
What on earth will they do to mark the 30th anniversary of the movie in 2013?