Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fact VS. Fiction The Truth About Dillinger

Hollywood has taken liberties before when they turned infamous men or woman into silver screen villains. They also have been known to stretch the truth a little bit as well, but in Michael Mann's "Dillinger" they stretch the truth until it becomes implausible and in some cases flip it around to fit the movie. If you read my review of Dillinger you know I loved the movie for what it was meant to do, entertain the audience.

The first thing that drew my attention was the ballgame that the police were listening to on the radio when Dillinger walked into the station on the morning he was killed. It is the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs. Game 1 was played on September 28th 1932 the last game in a Yankees sweep was played on October 02nd. Dillinger was killed as he exited the Biograph theatre on July 22 1934, so tell me how could the police be listening to a game that was played nine months prior?

The second thing is the opening sequence of the prison escape, it has been proven that Dillinger was behind the guns being smuggled into the prison but that's where truth stops and Hollywood fact begins. Dillinger was NOT present at the escape, he was locked up in a jail far far away.

The Third thing that the movie "misrepresents" is the shootout between Melvin Purvis and "Pretty Boy" Floyd. The movie has Melvin Purvis Shooting Floyd in the back as he flees into an apple orchard, again prior to the killing of Dillinger. The truth is Floyd was killed on October 22nd 1934 in East Liverpool, Ohio after a shootout with several police officers and F.B.I. agents, including Melvin Purvis and Herman Hollis, who is rumored to have fired the fatal shot. Thats three months AFTER Dillinger's death.

The Fourth thing is the infamous shoot out at the Little Bohemia Lodge near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on April 20th, in the movie Michael Mann shows the Bureau of Investigation obtain information from a wounded member of Dillinger's gang through torture, in reality they obtained this information from lodge owner Emil Wanatka. Mann has Melvin Purvis shoot Baby Face Nelson dead in a field, after they got word of the gang hold up in a rustic cabin. Dillingers whole gang is shot and killed in these scenes. The truth is that Baby Face Nelson died in his bed after a shoot out in the small town of Barrington out side of Chicago with several law enforcement officers that included Herman Hollis and Samuel Cowley on November 27th 1934. Four months AFTER Dillinger was killed. Melvin Purvis was NOT on the scene.

It is understandable that Hollywood needs to fit certain aspects of a movie together, in a certain order, the scene where Melvin Purvis shoots "Pretty Boy" Floyd was meant to be an introduction to the Purvis character, Mann needed to show us just how cold blooded Purvis could be, and this one scene clearly gave us that idea.

Don't let these slight errors stop you from going to see this movie, Johnny Depp is a very good Dillinger, who doesn't like Johnny Depp anyway? Christian Bale is very believable as a haunted Melvin Purvis, the cameo's include some of Hollywood's up and coming stars, Channing Tatum is in one of those blink and you miss him scenes, but who cares he's hot. I do recommend Dillinger, it is a very intense movie and captures the era of Prohibition gangsters very well, the sets are remarkable and the details are amazing, Michael Mann should be considered as a front runner for the Best Director Oscar. Dillinger is the best film of 2009. So far.

No comments: