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7

THURSDAY

In its Dec. 7, 1998, issue, the third in a series of five chronicling the 20th century’s most influential figures, Time magazine selected “20 remarkable builders and titans who most embody capitalism and its triumphs.” It included such usual suspects as Henry Ford, Walt Disney, and Bill Gates, who got props not only for their financial acumen but also for the ubiquity of their products. (In other words, the fact that Microsoft is the proverbial itch in most computers’ jocks is considered a good thing.) More interesting was the magazine’s inclusion of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a New York City mobster who rose to prominence in the ’20s and enjoyed a period of tremendous wealth and kinglike stature before being jailed in 1936 on 62 counts involving a prostitution racket. The businesslike organization of organized crime is often credited to Luciano, under whose leadership the Syndicate had controlling interests in rackets from narcotics to gambling and was run with a corporate efficiency and bottom-line focus that would make even Dick Cheney blush. Francesco Rosi’s 1973 film Lucky Luciano is not the biopic the mobster—then exiled to Italy and the focus of a drug sting—was originally cooperating with when he died in 1962. Rosi’s film concentrates almost exclusively on Luciano’s exile, even tapping former U.S. Narcotics Bureau Chief Charles Siracusa, who retired only after Luciano’s fatal heart attack, to play himself. The film screens at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Chris Hagan)