A Los Angeles high-school teacher's problems begin when he happens to witness a gangland killing and agrees to identify the murderers. Not realizing this will cause the underworld to retaliate "big time".
Gene Fowler Jr.
After serving together in the French Foreign Legion, a mercenary and a doctor leave the service and go their separate ways. Later, they are reunited by a coincidence. The doctor has made a ... See full summary »
A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration. He calls himself a social reformer. But what he does is stir up trouble--trouble he soon finds he can't control.
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
While loosely--VERY loosely--based on the real "Machine Gun Kelly" (real name George Kelly), there are many incidents in this film that simply never happened. For one thing, the only time Kelly ever fired his machine gun was on on a firing range, and he certainly never killed or even shot at anyone, contrary to what is shown in this film. Also, the Kelly gang didn't kidnap a millionaire's little girl, as shown in this film; they kidnapped the millionaire himself, a wealthy brewer named Charles Urschel, and this is what eventually led to Kelly's capture and imprisonment. Also, he wasn't captured in a shootout with lawmen, as shown here; police and FBI agents in Memphis, TN, surprised him in the stairwell of a boarding house and he fell to his knees and screamed "Don't shoot, G-men!", thereby coining the name that FBI agents have been known by since then--an incident that is completely left out of this film. See more »
Opening credits: THE TITLE CHARACTER UPON WHICH THIS STORY IS BASED IS TRUE. The other characters, all events and firms, depicted are fictional. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. See more »
"Pop Gun" Kelly and Morey's best performance in film
Let us get one thing straight. If you watch this movie to understand the story about the kidnapping of Oklahoma oil magnate Charlie Urchell in 1933 by George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his gang, you are going to be disappointed. The Urchell case made headlines across the nation that year because of the size of the ransom demand (over $100,000 - quite a sum in Depression America), and because in 1933 every kidnapping resurrected the hurt felt (at that time) that nobody had been arrested and made to pay for the kidnap murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. in March 1932. The newly revamped F.B.I. under J. Edgar Hoover went after the kidnappers, and actually captured Kelly and his gang (and Urchell was not hurt). But aside for one moment at the tail end of this movie where an F.B.I. man summarizes Kelly correctly (he calls him "Pop Gun" for his lack of real courage) this film is totally wrong about the story - it basically jettisons it.
That isn't necessarily bad. Hoover and his men had a fairly simple time catching the inept Kelly. Here we are watching the rise and fall of a criminal legend, played well by Charles Bronson, and directed with some restraint by Roger Corman. We see that he is fixated on being a mean, violent man, who is trying to impress his girlfriend Flo (Susan Cabot). In reality Flo was able to manipulate George, and was whatever brains the organization actually had. But the role to watch in this film is that of Morey Amsterdam as Fandango. Amsterdam, a great one liner comic in the Henny Youngman tradition, is best recalled for his regular role as "Buddy Sorrell" in THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW in the 1960s, especially when confronting his bete noir Richard Deacon as producer "Mel Cooley". Here he plays a petty criminal who is injured on the way up by Kelly, and helps bring him down. Given acceptance of Corman's production value limits and the script's, Amsterdam's Fandango is a really vicious character, and a welcome surprise to people who just recall the marvelous comic performer. For him and Bronson's performance I'll give this a "7".
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