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Machine-Gun Kelly (1958)

Unrated | | Action, Biography, Crime | May 1958 (USA)
The criminal exploits of Public Enemy number 1, George 'Machine-Gun' Kelly, during the 1930s.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writer:

R. Wright Campbell (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Charles Bronson ... George R. 'Machine Gun' Kelly
Susan Cabot ... Florence 'Flo' Becker
Morey Amsterdam ... Michael Fandango
Richard Devon ... Apple
Jack Lambert ... Howard
Frank DeKova ... Harry (as Frank De Kova)
Connie Gilchrist ... 'Ma' Becker
Wally Campo ... Maize
Barboura Morris Barboura Morris ... Lynn Grayson
Lori Martin ... Sherryl Vito (as Dawn Menzer)
George Archambeault George Archambeault ... Frank
Robert Griffin ... Mr. Andrew Vito
Michael Fox ... Detective Clinton
Larry Thor Larry Thor ... Detective Drummond
Shirley Falls Shirley Falls ... Martha
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Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Without His Gun He Was Naked Yellow!


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Machine Gun Kelly See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

El Monte Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature-film debut of Morey Amsterdam. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Screwballs (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bronson Turns Punk and Morey Goes Gay
19 April 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

For anyone who's looking for the real story of George 'Machine-Gun' Kelly they'll be in for a disappointment. In the wake of the success of The Untouchables on television, Hollywood was rediscovering the gangster era and the criminals that were household names in the Twenties and Thirties. Both the major studios and independents like Roger Corman took a crack at all their stories.

Although Kelly in real life was as big a punk as Charles Bronson plays him here, this is not his real story by a mile. Still Bronson does a good job and in fact this was the first film in which he was given first billing. He turns out in the film to be very good at bullying people, but when in a fight for his life, does a begging act that hadn't seen a cinematic equal since James Cagney turned yellow going to the chair in Angels With Dirty Faces.

The one with the real gonads in the outfit is his wife played by Susan Cabot. In fact Kelly is even intimidated by her mother, beautifully played by Connie Gilchrist as a bordello madam. She's a woman who's been handling his type for years.

The most interesting character in the film is Morey Amsterdam playing the flamboyantly gay Fandango, Kelly mob member. This was a time when gay was practically invisible and only an independent producer/director like Roger Corman in 1958 would have had a gay character.

Would that Amsterdam played a positive role model or that a positive role model was in the film to counterbalance. Amsterdam is very stereotypical and at that time there was no organized gay movement to protest. Over twenty years later there was a great hue and cry over the film Cruising and that would have been nothing had Machine-Gun Kelly come out then.

Machine-Gun Kelly is far from the best work that either Roger Corman or Charles Bronson ever did. Still it might be of interest for the curious.

Oh, and Kelly never utters those words he allegedly said about the FBI giving them their nickname of G-Men.


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