Tagged: Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd

A Bullet for Pretty Boy: Fabian’s Navy Suit

Fabian Forte as Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd in A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)

Fabian Forte as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)

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Fabian Forte as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Depression-era bank robber

Kansas City, Spring 1930 and 1931

Film: A Bullet for Pretty Boy
Release Date: June 1970
Director: Larry Buchanan (and Maury Dexter, uncredited)
Wardrobe Credit: Ron Scott

Background

After Warner Brothers’ success with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, American International Pictures (AIP) leapt at the chance to capitalize on the emerging trend of Depression-era crime movies using their own brand of inexpensive, exploitative filmmaking. This wasn’t AIP’s first rodeo in the realm of ’30s public enemies, having earlier produced The Bonnie Parker Story and Machine Gun Kelly, both released in May 1958. Their B-movie output in the decade that followed Bonnie and Clyde ranged from fictional stories like Boxcar Bertha (1972) directed by Martin Scorsese to those loosely based on actual criminals like Bloody Mama (1970) starring Shelley Winters as a caricature of “Ma” Barker (alongside a young Robert De Niro as one of her sons) to Dillinger (1973).

Even before that arguably most famous ’30s bank robber would be played by a grizzled Warren Oates, one-time teen idol Fabian got a shot to rebrand his image by playing Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, the outlaw whose moniker alone lent itself to suit the fresh-faced Mr. Forte.

The real Charles Arthur Floyd was born 117 years ago on February 3, 1904, in Adairsville, Georgia, though his family moved to Oklahoma when Floyd was seven, and it was the Cookson Hills that he would consider home for the 30 years of his life.

A fellow Aquarius, Forte was born only three days (and 39 years) later on February 6, 1943, making him 26—the same age as Floyd was for his first bank robbery—when A Bullet for Pretty Boy was filmed from June to October 1969. A Bullet for Pretty Boy loosely follows the facts of Floyd’s life, albeit exaggerated and certainly simplified for the sake of AIP’s low-budget, short-runtime formula for success that would thrill teens at the drive-ins just before these audiences found the real thrills in their own back seats later that night. Continue reading

“Pretty Boy” Floyd’s Birthday

Steve Kanaly as Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd in Dillinger (1973).

Steve Kanaly as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Dillinger (1973).

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Steve Kanaly as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Depression-era bank robber

Midwest U.S., Spring 1934

Film: Dillinger
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George

Background

Today marks what would have been the 111th birthday of Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, one of the best-known of the original “Public Enemies” that terrorized American banks during the Great Depression. The early 1930s were a prime era for American crime. Unlike the murderous gangsters whose machine gun battles littered newspaper headlines during the “roaring twenties”, many of the Depression-era desperadoes painted themselves as contemporary Robin Hoods, stealing from the banks to give to the poor. While some were genuinely psychopaths like “Baby Face” Nelson and Clyde Barrow, others like Floyd and John Dillinger were more akin to simple farm boys led astray. Continue reading

“Pretty Boy” Floyd’s Death in Public Enemies

80 years ago today, Depression-era outlaw Charles Arthur Floyd was shot down by federal agents and local police in a farm outside East Liverpool, Ohio.

Channing Tatum as Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd in Public Enemies (2009).

Channing Tatum as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Public Enemies (2009).

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Channing Tatum as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, charismatic but violent Depression-era outlaw

Clarkson, Ohio, October 1934

Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

After dedicating the majority of my life to researching the Depression-era crime wave that saw guys like John Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Alvin Karpis roaming the American countryside with the support of the public and the rage of the government, I was elated when I learned that Bryan Burrough’s masterful docu-novel Public Enemies was finally being turned into a film. I wondered how a two-hour movie could capture the intricacies of each colorful individual in each of the various gangs over a two-year period, and I assumed that – like Burrough – director Michael Mann would focus primarily on Karpis, the lone survivor of the original batch of Public Enemies. Continue reading

“Pretty Boy” Floyd in Dillinger

Steve Kanaly as

Steve Kanaly as “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Dillinger.

79 years ago today, Depression-era outlaw Charles Arthur Floyd was shot down by federal agents and local police in a farm outside East Liverpool, Ohio.

Vitals

Steve Kanaly as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd

Midwest U.S., October 1934

Film: Dillinger
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George

Background

Want to know something that truly bothers the hell out of me? The life of Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd has never been accurately, accessibly, and fully portrayed on film. Continue reading