Movie Review: Young Dillinger (1965)
“The Kingpin of All Public Enemies!”
Young Dillinger (1965)
Director: Terry O. Morse
Cast: Nick Adams, Robert Conrad, John Ashley
Synopsis: A fictionalised account of the criminal career of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger.
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Nick Adams (Rebel Without a Cause) plays the young gangster John Dillinger in a typically cheap Allied Artists flick aimed squarely at the teen drive-in market. The story in Young Dillinger probably bears only a passing resemblance to the truth – it’s difficult to believe Dillinger and his moll sped away from their first robbery whistling ‘She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain,’ somehow – and yet ii’s still fairly dull. Dillinger, it appears, was a victim of the justice system, led astray by his wayward wealthy girlfriend for whom he takes a dive when the law catches up. But a promised short sentence never materialises, and Dillinger falls in with the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd (Robert Conrad) and Baby Face Nelson (John Ashley – Zero Hour!) while serving time.
Young Dillinger doesn’t worry too much about period details, and its soundtrack has a distinctly 60s feel about it. Nick Adams isn’t particularly convincing as a tough guy, either, but there’s an enjoyable turn from John Hoyt (Spartacus, Duel at Diablo) as a sleazy doctor who, after failing to alter Dillinger’s face with plastic surgery or successfully molest Dillinger’s girl, meets a memorably watery end. Although Young Dillinger is pedestrian in all departments, it does contain some good scenes, in particular a sequence shot from the rear seat of Dillinger’s car as he and his buddies engage in a spot of joy riding.
(Reviewed 3rd February 2012)