July 07, 2009

"Public Enemies" - John Dillinger and Johnny Depp

Gangster lore is part of growing up in Chicago. Some people may find the admiration of people of the time for such violent men rather odd, but for those suffering during the Great Depression, Dillinger's Robin Hood gestures (and their understandable hatred for banks) seemed to justify their reactions. (Not that such behaviour is unique; the scene in PUBLIC ENEMIES of the people cheering Dillinger's escape made me think of OJ).

I remember years ago talking with an older shoeshine man who worked in our northwest side neighborhood. He was in his 70s and expressed that same admiration for John Dillinger as a kind of "Robin Hood" bank robber, as shown in the new movie PUBLIC ENEMIES featuring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

The interesting thing about such lore is you forget that Dillinger and his like were dangerous, violent men.

Some haven't given the movie good reviews, but watch actual video of Dillinger and you can see the reported charm and that smirk which Depp got down perfect.

The best part of such a film is seeing familiar landmarks like the Biograph Theatre renovated into what they looked like back in the 1930s.

Yes, as some people have said, you won't learn much about Dillinger or other gangsters like Pretty Boy Floyd or Baby Face Nelson watching this movie. It has a lot of action and I jumped several times when the shooting began. But it seemed realistic. To me, going back in time is the best part of watching a period film. I enjoyed the movie, and knew some of the background already, so for that aspect, Id watch it again. What about you?

* See the actual FBI Dillinger wanted poster

* Read the New York Times front page on Dillinger's death

* Watch the Wisconsin Little Bohemia Lodge video


  1. Most likely part of that 'bad boy' persona we can't resist. We are so happy here in Upstate SC today that our local serial killer who killed five in nearby Gaffney was found and shot to death. With a 25-page rap sheet for burglary, theft, breaking and entering, etc., and having brutally murdered five upstanding citizens ranging in age from 83 to 15, we won't be elavating him to superstar status around here! We're all breathing a sigh of relief. But I know my DH will want to see Dillinger when it comes out on DVD.


  2. I don't really have much interest in gangster history, but oh do Johnny Depp and Christian Bale look good in this film! They're so dreamy; I'll pretty much watch anything with them in it.


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