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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 »
Many people have a certain degree of affection for Roger Corman's schlock classics, "Little Shop of Horrors," and "Bucket of Blood." "Machine Gun Kelly" was slightly earlier than those two, and it has a more conventional genre structure. It appears that Corman was attempting to make a more coherent movie than his usual churn it out in two days pictures. This is certainly not a very good movie, but a certain amount of care is taken to make it convincing. None of us would think of Charles Bronson as a great actor, but he was a step up from Corman's usual stock company. Supporting roles are well cast, especially Morey Amsterdam as "Fandango," Connie Gilchrest as Flo's mother, and Frank DeKova as the tall tale spouting but cowardly gas station owner. Of course there are Corman regulars in the cast, such as Barboura Morris, Wally Campo, and one time Universal starlet, Susan Cabot (who overacts as usual). Despite a weak ending the movie is a generally fun. The silent opening robbery sequence is well staged. No doubt veteran cameraman Floyd Crosby ("High Noon," "Oklahoma," and uncredited co-DP on "From Here to Eternity") deserves much of the credit for this and the decent night photography. But this is not a movie to be taken too seriously. My favorite bit is when Flo and Kelly go to hide out at Flo's mother's bordello. One of the working girls asks Flo's mother if Flo is, "The new girl." "Watch you mouth," Flo's mom replies, "this is my daughter!" Working girl: "Yeah, ain't we all."
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