Dillinger (1945 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Max Nosseck|
|Produced by||Frank and Maurice King|
|Written by||William Castle (uncredited)
Elisha Cook Jr.
|Music by||Dimitri Tiomkin|
|Release dates||March 2, 1945|
|Running time||70 minutes|
|Box office||$4,000,000 (USA)|
Dillinger is a 1945 gangster film telling the story of John Dillinger.
The film was directed by Max Nosseck. Dillinger was the first major film to star Lawrence Tierney. The B-movie was shot in black and white and features a smoke-bomb bank robbery edited into the film from the 1937 Fritz Lang film, You Only Live Once. The film was released on DVD by Warner Bros. for the Film Noir Classic Collections 2 in 2005 even though the film is generally regarded as not being film noir. Some sequences were shot at Big Bear Lake, California.
The story begins with a newsreel summing up the gangster life of John Dillinger in detail. At the end of the newsreel, Dillinger talks to the movie audience about his son's childhood back in Indiana. The father talks of John’s childhood as ordinary and not very eventful, but concedes that his son had ambitions and wanted to go his own way. John left his childhood town to find his fortune in Indianapolis, but soon ran out of money. One night when he was on a date he found himself not being able to pay for the meal, so he excused himself, ran over to a nearby grocery store and robbed it for a total of $7.20 in cash. He makes the clerk at the store to believe he has a gun in his hand under the jacket.
John was soon arrested by the police for this felony, and he was sentenced to prison. When incarcarated he found new acquaintances and became good friends with his cell mate, Specs Green. Specs was an infamous bank robber and had a gang of his own, Marco Minnelli, Doc Madison and Kirk Otto, who were also in the same prison. John was very impressed by Specs and his experience and intelligence, and he began to look up at him as some kind of a father figure.
Since John had a much shorter sentence he decided to be the gang’s help on the outside when he is released, in an attempt to get them out of there and escape. Right when John is free, he continues his criminal career by holding up a movie theater box office. Before he does, he manages to flirt with the female clerk, Helen Rogers, with the result that she refuses to identify him in the subsequent line-up after the robbery, even though she does recognize him from a police photo. Instead she goes on a date with John.
John continues his criminal spree of robberies, to get money to finance the escape of Specs gang. When he has enough, he plans to smuggle a whole barrell of firearms to the gang as they are out working in a quarry. The plan succeeds, and the gang manage to escape. They include John in their gang and start a crime wave, committing a long series of robberies in the Midwest.
Specs sends John to scout for new targets, because he is the only one not recognized by the witnesses at the quarry at the time of the gang’s escape. John gets to check out the Farmer’s Trust bank. Right before he goes on his mission, he loses his temper on account of a waiter at a restaurant, who refuses to accept the check he has written. He goes to the bank and poses as a potential customer to get inside the office. He reports back to the gang about the security system, and tells them it’s very sophisticated. Too sophisticated even.
Specs still wants to hit the bank, and getting tired of John’s ego and trigger happiness he decides to get help from outside the gang. John suggests another way to get into the bank - with gas bombs. John convinces the rest of the gang of his way and they rob the bank. When they arrive at the hideout, John demands Specs double share of the loot and also takes his place as the leader of the gang.
The gang part for a few weeks, to lay low for a while, and John and Helen go on a big shopping spree. They meet up with the rest of the gang at a cabin lodge owned by the Otto’s, Kirk’s relatives. They stay there for a while, but soon realize that the police are closing in on them, so they head West and start a new series of bank robberies.
- Lawrence Tierney as John Dillinger
- Edmund Lowe as Specs Green
- Anne Jeffreys as Helen Rogers
- Eduardo Ciannelli as Marco Minelli (as Eduardo Cianelli)
- Marc Lawrence as Doc Madison
- Elisha Cook, Jr. as Kirk Otto
- Ralph Lewis as Tony
- Elsa Janssen as Mrs. Otto
- Ludwig Stössel as Mr. Otto
- Constance Worth as Blonde
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