Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Aaahh! Some trash at last! Made ten years before Roger Corman pervy version starring Shelley Winters, this is an another inaccurate (although slightly less so than Corman's) retelling of the story of Ma Barker and her boys. It is generally accepted now that the legend of the gun-toting old lady beloved by Hollywood was created by the FBI when they discovered the dead body of the old girl when they shot it out with her son Arthur. But the old John Ford dictum "When the legend becomes fact print the legend" holds true and rather that showing Ma cleaning their shirts and cooking their grits we again have Ma as the machine gun brandishing brains behind the Barker gang. Laurene Tuttle plays the part well, encouraging he boys to steal, kidnap and murder. The real-life brains of the gang seems to have been Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, played here by Paul Dubov - having his second stab at the character after having played him five years earlier for the same director in the GANG BUSTERS series. The film is no masterpiece but it has a nice low-budget 1950's feel to it which gives it a nice seedy atmosphere. Inaccurately, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly all turn up - the first two as actual members of Ma's gang! Rating **

No comments: