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Machine Gun Kelly Reviews

This was typical of the gangster films made in the 1950s which capitalized on infamous 1930s gangsters, using the formulas found in such potboilers as THE RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND, BABY FACE NELSON, and PORTRAIT OF A MOBSTER (about Dutch Shultz). Bronson is aptly cast as the phlegmatic Kelly, a bootlegger, put out of business at the end of Prohibition, who turns to bank robbing. His thrill-seeking moll, Cabot, insists Bronson pull a big caper so they can retire to a life of ease. To that end, Bronson plans the kidnaping of an industrialist's daughter, but things go sour when Bronson gets jealous of henchman Amsterdam, who makes a play for Cabot. He kicks Amsterdam out of the mob, and Amsterdam informs the police of Bronson's whereabouts. The feared gangster is captured and sent to prison for life. Of course, this being a Roger Corman film, none of the film is based upon the real facts, which would have proved to be much more interesting. Kelly was known among friends as "Popgun Kelly," his outside reputation promoted by his scheming, avaricious wife Kathryn, the real brains and guts behind the Kelly kidnaping gang. This was Bronson's first film as a star at age 37; it would typecast him as a brooding, cold-blooded killer, a character he would exploit to the hilt in DEATH WISH and its idiotic sequels.