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Ashot Burov
Ashot Burov

[S1E4] Knife To A Gunfight

  • M-R Meaningful Echo: "What are you prepared to do?"

  • Men of Sherwood: The Chicago cops outside of the main quartet are unreliable due to widespread corruption, but the Mounties provide a lot of tactical assistance in ambushing over a dozen bootleggers at the Canadian border and kill many of them without losing anyone.

  • Mentor Archetype: Malone teaches Ness how to deal with Capone's forces in Chicago beyond conventional legal methods.

  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Jim Malone is Eliot Ness' mentor, showing him the ropes on how to bring down Capone and the corrupt system working against him. Then, Frank Nitti murders him on Capone's orders.

  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: When Bowtie makes it clear that he's willing to kill Capone's bookkeeper to keep him from testifying in court, the bookkeeper immediately tells Ness that he'll testify if the Untouchables save him.

  • Mob-Boss Suit Fitting: A variation, with Al Capone talking business while getting a straight-razor shave from a barber.

  • Mob War: Chicago is being torn apart by the violence between different mobs. Truth in Television.

  • Money Is Not Power: This Trope is the entire reason for the film's title. Eliot Ness and his group cannot be bribed, which is Al Capone's usual way of keeping the cops away from him.

  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Jim Malone. Pretty rare for the Trope, he manages to survive long enough to provide Ness a vital clue, although the scene makes it clear that he's in incredible agony the whole time.

  • Naturalized Name: George Stone's birth name is Giuseppe Petri, a close-enough translation ("Petri" is close to pietre, Italian for "stones", but Giuseppe's English equivalent is traditionally Joseph, not George; normally, George would be the Anglicized version of "Georgio").

  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Referenced in-universe via dialogue from Malone (which is also the page quote for this trope), possibly a Call-Back to Malone's earlier description of "the Chicago way" ("he pulls a knife, you pull a gun"), and subverted in that the gangster with the knife is actually just bait, meant to lure Malone into Frank Nitti's fatal tommy-gun ambush.

  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ness' speech about the Chicago way and all his moves to honor it (read the conflict escalation) ultimately puts his family in great danger, so that his wife and daughter have to move away from their house to avoid murder or worse. Strangely enough, the threat to his family comes as a surprise to Ness, implying that he honestly thought that Capone would never go that far (or, as in his speech he always has the last word, maybe he would go even further than Capone's murder of his family... Better not to know).

  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Malone is very vocal about his anti-Italian prejudice, but Stone earns his respect.

  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Malone is supposed to be Irish, yet Sean Connery speaks in his normal accent. When asked why he didn't attempt an Irish accent for the film, he reportedly said, "If I didn't talk like this, you wouldn't know who I am." (it was named "Worst Accent Ever" by the British film magazine Empire).

  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The team are trying to interrogate a mobster to no effect. Malone goes outside to grab the body of a gangster killed in a shoot-out and pops him up against the window in front of the suspect's sight, hiding the man's bullet wound. He then berates the corpse as if interrogating him, pushing a gun to his head and finally shooting it. Naturally, the terrified mobster agrees to tell anything he knows.

  • Officer O'Hara: Malone and Mike.

  • Oh, Crap!: The barber trying to shave Capone while he chats with the reporters, after Al moves suddenly and gets a nasty cut on the cheek from his razor.

  • Wallace when Nitti turns his gun on him.

  • Bow Tie attempts to sneak up on Malone with a knife...until he turns around and points a sawn-off shotgun at him.

  • Malone has a tragic one when he sees Nitti waiting with his Tommy Gun and realizes he's been set up.

  • Nitti when he realizes Ness isn't taking him into custody after all.

  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Malone and Stone.

  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Although not a British film, Malone fills this role. He is introduced by being such a hardass that he tells Elliot Ness to straighten up. His idea of recruiting a new cop? Go directly to the Police Academy and find the guy who shoots straightest. Gets downplayed in the end, seeing Malone ultimately picked the second-best shooter, as the best shooter could barely put together an intelligible sentence:

  • Malone: There goes the next Chief of Police! Old-School Chivalry: The Mounties. To such a ridiculous degree that almost blows the whole Whiskey Exchange ambush. Their glorious melodramatic head-on charge gives the gangsters plenty of warning to get ready. If The Untouchables didn't cut them off from behind, the gangsters would have probably escaped.

  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The tune is first heard as Elliot helps a woman struggling with her baby carriage up the stairs. The second time we hear it is at the end of the bloody shootout immediately afterward.

  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sean Connery's Irish-Scottish brogue. Almost comical when Jimmy Malone's talking to Chief Dorsett (who has a pronounced Irish brogue)... it's even more obvious Connery's accent is Scottish, not Irish.

  • Open Secret: Early on, Malone states that everyone knows where Capone's operations are, it's just that nobody's willing to strike at them quickly enough to avoid the raid being leaked.

  • Pistol Pose: The poster has the other three Untouchables holding rifles in the back as Ness is about to shoot you and under a giant Capone as Evil Overlooker.

  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: George, the man who was checking the alcohol cargo in the Canadian frontier, gets scared after Jim Malone shoots a gangster's corpse to intimidate him and promises to talk about Capone's tax evasion.

  • At the Chicago Train Station, Walter Payne, Capone's bookkeeper, is held at gunpoint by a gangster and encourages Ness to kill him, promising he will tell anything about Capone's tax evasion in the trial.

  • Pragmatic Hero: Malone. In spades. The standout example is his gruesome "interrogation" and "execution" to scare George into cooperating. It's disturbing, but works extremely well.

  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Ness, to Nitti. Technically, it's still pre-mortem, as Nitti is still falling when Ness says it. Nitti: He died like a pig. Ness: What did you say? Nitti: I said that your friend died screaming like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap. [As Nitti walks away, Ness grabs him] Nitti: Hey! AAHH! [Ness pushes him off the roof] Nitti: AAAHHH! Ness: DID HE SOUND ANYTHING LIKE THAT?

  • Properly Paranoid: "I'm telling you, they ARE going to send someb--"

  • Psycho for Hire: Frank Nitti kills people without even battling an eye and takes pride in it.

  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Played with. When Bowtie threatens to kill Payne unless Ness lets both of them go, Ness lowers his gun. It's a ploy to keep Bowtie's attention off Stone, who hasn't lowered his and proceeds to drill Bowtie through the mouth.

  • The Quiet One: Stone almost never speaks, unless when he has to.

  • Nitti is usually seen in silence, but when he talks...

  • Rage-Breaking Point: Ness is a fairly non-violent person, but then Capone menaces his family. He confronts the gangster himself after Oscar Wallace is killed by Frank Nitti and throws Nitti off the building rooftop when he says that Malone died screaming like a pig.

  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: U.S. Treasury officer Ness, Chicago beat cop Malone, U.S. Treasury Department accountant Oscar Wallace, police academy rookie Stone.

  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The infamous baseball bat scene seems like an over-the-top fabrication. But not only did Al Capone really do this... he attacked three associates during a dinner party this way. At the same time! Capone didn't kill them outright, though; he beat them senseless and then had his bodyguards finish them off with bullets.

  • The Chicago police department seems outrageously corrupt for dramatic purposes. But this is more or less what The Feds had to deal with. The Mafia and the local police often were public rivals, but secret partners. As long as the mob kept the violence low and kept to the shadows, they allowed them to bootleg and operate. For a cut, of course. (In addition, Prohibition was basically unenforceable which led to the 21st Amendment.)

  • Reckless Gun Usage: Probably unintentional on the part of the filmmakers, but the Untouchables in general and Ness in particular have a problem with this trope. The latter has a nasty habit of pointing at things with his weapon, and hugs his daughter while carrying a .45 with his finger in the trigger well.

  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The tommy gun of one gangster jams during a fight. (Truth in Television: a problem real tommy guns were frequently subject to, which is one of the many reasons it was never as popular as gangland movies would have you believe.) To the gangster's credit he tries repeatedly to clear the jam, but it gives Oscar time to charge at him from several feet away and KO him with the butt of his shotgun.

  • Rooftop Confrontation: The final showdown between Ness and Nitti takes place on the roof of the courthouse.

[S1E4] Knife to a Gunfight


Back at their barracks, Bob Lee and Donny celebrate their victory with their comrades. Isaac arrives, and Bob Lee tells him that they lost radio contact with him during the gunfight. He asks who is responsible for not keeping radio maintenance, and Bob Lee says it's his fault. Isaac gives him the job of cleaning the whole team's radios that night for his negligence. 041b061a72


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