Machine-Gun Kelly, the famous bank robber, seldom without his Thompson machine gun. The story opens with great jazzy music and a murder shown in shadows. His moll is the driving force ... See full summary »
Machine-Gun Kelly, the famous bank robber, seldom without his Thompson machine gun. The story opens with great jazzy music and a murder shown in shadows. His moll is the driving force behind his exploits. He has an exaggerated fear of death and death symbols. The sight of a coffin makes him freeze during a bank job, causing his lieutenant to lose his arm. Finally, the gang kidnaps a little girl along with her nurse and hold them for ransom. Written by
Corman takes the gangster genre beyond film noir, finally
A unique crime story -- a small-time thief (Bronson) is turned into a legend by his tough-as-nails moll (Cabot). "Machine Gun" robs a chain of banks and finally turns his ambitions to kidnapping -- hounded all the way by a compulsive fear of death. The photography by Crosby is elegant, the acting of the lead pair and the supporting cast are all pretty much dead-on. A tight, efficient telling of a memorable tale, peopled with all sorts of interesting characters (the gas station owner/accomplice who keeps a deadly menagerie behind the garage, Cabot's mom who keeps telling Kelly what a disappointment he is because he hasn't broken into the "big time", etc.).
Interestingly, this film takes the gangster genre beyond film noir (finally, after 3 decades) by making his characters not only self-loathing but WORTHY of self-loathing!
One of Corman's very best films as a director.
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