The Sunday L.A. Times just arrived outside my door wrapped in its usual plastic body bag, but this time it was also wrapped in a faux front-page advertisement touting “Gangster Squad,” the big-deal movie that opens Friday. The four-page L.A. Times ad disguised as a legitimate front page complete with screaming headlines and real photos of 1940s – ’50s gangster boss Mickey Cohen (pictured above) and others of his ilk, is a sure sign that this film is getting the big-time promotional treatment reserved for high-ticket movies such as “The Dark Night.” Warner Brothers, who is releasing the thing, seems to have high hopes that this one is going to be, as the Mafioso would say, a “good earner.” Sean Penn plays the Mickster.
The script was written by ex-L.A. cop Will Beall based on the book of the same title by Paul Lieberman. Apropos to the Time’s four-page advertorial spread, the paper also published a series on Mickey Cohen’s reign over the city, and the secret police squad that skirted the law to break organized crime’s stranglehold on L.A. You can read the series online here: L.A. Noir: Tales from the Gangster Squad.