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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Machine-Gun Kelly (1958)

A petty bank robber called Machine-Gun Kelly (Charles Bronson in his first starring role) because of his fixation on the weapon turns to bigger things when he decides to kidnap the child (Lori Martin, CAPE FEAR) of a millionaire (Robert Griffin) for ransom. Roger Corman directs this low budget, energetic and tawdry gangster flick and it's not bad at all. Bronson's performance is a little wobbly and unsure of itself but already showing signs of the household name he would later become. Bronson's uneven performance allows Susan Cabot as Kelly's heartless, tough as nails mistress to take center stage. While the film references Kelly's name, all the other characters though loosely based on real people and situations are made up. Corman's direction is tight but overall the film resembles a good episode of the TV show, THE UNTOUCHABLES. The crisp black and white photography is by Oscar winner Floyd Crosby (Murnau's TABU) and the jazz score by Gerald Fried. With the comic Morey Amsterdam (THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW) in a rare dramatic role, Connie Gilchrist, Richard Devon, Barboura Morris and Mitzi McCall.

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