Friday, 26 September 2014

SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

MACHINE GUN KELLY (1958) Directed by Roger Corman. ***

I've always had a strong affection for Roger Corman's early efforts and, for me, MACHINE GUN KELLY stands out as one of the best. I first saw it at the National Film Theatre many, many years ago and liked it then. It has a lot going for it. In the first place, unlike many of the other Corman's of the period, there is no element of humour in it - this one is serious business. It is very nicely shot and tightly edited - the opening wordless bank heist and getaway is a mini-masterclass in economy.  The cast is really excellent. Charles Bronson heads the list as the death-haunted Kelly and he is ably backed up by Susan Cabot as his Lady MacBeth moll. His gang consists of Morey Amsterdam, Jack Lambert, Richard Devon and Frank DeKova - all outstanding.  The film may not bear much resemblance to the career of the real George "Machine Gun" Kelly and it is hard to imagine why Corman let slip on Kelly's famous cry of "Don't shoot G-Men" but otherwise this is bargain basement film-making at its best.    

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