Dillinger

Dillinger

Director: Max Nosseck

Cast: Edmund Lowe, Anne Jeffreys, Lawrence Tierney

     
 

Max Nosseck's Dillinger (1945) never made it onto laserdisc, but it has been given an ambitious -- if slightly strange and unsatisfying -- treatment on DVD. The source print is the cleanest and sharpest that this reviewer has ever seen, and the disc is worth seeing on this basis alone. The 20 chapters are more than generous on a 70-minute movie, and there'sSee more details below

Overview

Max Nosseck's Dillinger (1945) never made it onto laserdisc, but it has been given an ambitious -- if slightly strange and unsatisfying -- treatment on DVD. The source print is the cleanest and sharpest that this reviewer has ever seen, and the disc is worth seeing on this basis alone. The 20 chapters are more than generous on a 70-minute movie, and there's even a trailer, which contains some footage not in the final cut of the movie, and some overheated narration, calling Anne Jeffreys' character "the blond Delilah of the outlaw world." The most alluring feature, and the strangest, is the commentary track, recorded by director/writer John Milius, who made the 1970s remake of the same name, starring Warren Oates, and screenwriter Philip Yordan, who passed away in 2003. Milius opens his commentary by stating that he was not influenced by this earlier movie, nor did he take it very seriously as a film. He admits that he later came to appreciate its merits, especially as it was obviously made for very little money, but he doesn't really know a great deal about the making of the movie and spends a lot of his time trying to reconcile the material we see with the reality of the Dillinger story. Yordan comments on the movie on occasion, but otherwise is heard discussing such matters as the Hollywood blacklist; he does provide the answer to one of Milius' puzzlements as to why nobody had previously filmed the Dillinger story, explaining that, in reaction to the gangster movie cycle of the 1930s, the major studios had all agreed not to make movies based on the lives of celebrated criminals, while Monogram Pictures had not. He also claims that Louis B. Mayer of MGM contacted Monogram and asked what it would take to destroy the negative and suppress the movie, presumably so that MGM could do its version. But there are amazingly few insights of that kind. He discusses how this is good film noir but rotten history, and how some moments are "neat" -- and he even passes up a moment to cite a scene that was later parodied by Woody Allen in Take the Money and Run, the breakout with the wooden gun. Milius is sophisticated enough to observe that the depiction of the gang in this movie is very urban, whereas the real Dillinger gang was made up mostly of rural Midwesterners, and had no resident gun moll of the type played by Anne Jeffreys. In the end, it's the movie -- made as cleverly as it was cheaply -- that will be the main reason for buying this disc. The audio is mastered at a high volume (as opposed to the commentary, which is too low), and the picture is razor-sharp, making this almost a demonstration-level disc on that basis, and enhancing the impact of the violence and the intensity of Lawrence Tierney's performance.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Max Nosseck's Dillinger (1945) was made on a shoestring budget, far lower than the money allocated for John Milius' 1973 remake, yet it still retains a high reputation, mostly thanks to its noir-ish elements and the intensity of Lawrence Tierney's performance in the title role. Tierney is a dominating presence in this movie and pretty well carries the film, overcoming some obvious gaps in the budget and holes in the script; his eyes have a scary look, and his sheer attractiveness makes him a scary, savage presence. The rest of the movie works mostly because of its threadbare nature; if the director hadn't been hemmed in by a low budget, he might well have tried to elaborate scenes that work all the better because they're made of quick cuts and have minimal (or no) dialogue. Coupled with a frantic pacing -- the picture covers Dillinger's whole criminal career in 70 minutes -- the result is a kind of hybrid film noir, a gangster movie that only works because of its need for a doom-laden visual shorthand, and to keep the story moving, lest anyone realize how cheaply it was being made.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/05/2005
UPC:
0012569695368
Original Release:
1945
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:10:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by John Milius, director of the 1973 Dillinger, with audio interview excerpts of screenwriter Philip Yordan; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edmund Lowe Specs
Anne Jeffreys Helen
Lawrence Tierney Dillinger
Marc Lawrence Doc
Elisha Cook Kirk
Ralph Lewis Tony
Ludwig Stossel Otto
Hugh Prosser Guard
Dewey Robinson Guard
Bob Perry Proprietor
Kid Chissel Watchman
Billy Nelson Watchman
Lee "Lasses" White Salesman
Lou Lubin Walter
Eduardo Ciannelli Marco Minnelli
Elsa Janssen Mrs. Otto
Constance Worth Blonde

Technical Credits
Max Nosseck Director
Leon Charles Screenwriter
Robert Clark Special Effects
Maurice King Producer
Frank King Producer
Otho Lovering Editor
Edward Mann Editor
Jackson Rose Cinematographer
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer
Philip Yordan Screenwriter

Read More

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [1:03]
2. Money for Drinks [4:17]
3. Specs Green and Friends [5:06]
4. Sure of Himself [4:10]
5. White Cross [3:03]
6. Breakout and Bank Spree [4:09]
7. Remember Me? [4:35]
8. Thinking to Much [3:56]
9. Double Cut [3:02]
10. One Big Happy Family [3:02]
11. Robbery on the Run [2:04]
12. Captured [3:32]
13. Wooden Gun [3:04]
14. Death Between Pals [1:49]
15. Rail Heist [5:33]
16. RIP: The Ottos and Tony [5:48]
17. Hiding in Chicago [4:07]
18. Stir Crazy [3:10]
19. To the Movies [2:55]
20. Final Shootout [1:19]

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >