Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Capturing the Giancanas

In 1951, the Chicago Tribune ran a front-page story about the “bad nineteen.” Among the notorious local gangsters pegged was Sam Giancana.

How his daughters reacted to the “blowback” at high school is a good example of the appeal of Momo: The Sam Giancana Story,which was just awarded Best Documentary at the 2012 Bel Air Film Festival. Feisty Bonnie got into a fight; sister Francine ignored the whispers and held her head high; grand nephew Nicholas Celozzi said his world became “very small.”

Oldest daughter Antoinette wrote about her life in the Giancana family in Mafia Princess, adapted into a movie starring Tony Curtis. This new documentary is the turn of siblings Bonnie and Francine to tell their side of the family tale. Both are co-executive producers on the film, and certainly, if there is a star to this home movie - both in terms of demeanor and recollections - it is the red turtlenecked Bonnie. The second half of the documentary also spends time touching the celebrated Giancana touchstones relating to Frank Sinatra, Jack Ruby, Fidel Castro, Marilyn Monroe and several others.

The movie, which has a 2013 DVD distribution deal, was directed by Dimitri Logothetis, who is also hoping to turn the life story of Giancana into a six-hour TV miniseries. It premiered at the beginning of the year in Memphis and is due to show next at a film festival in Kansas City. Well worth checking out.

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