Warren Oates as Dillinger: The Man in Black
Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber
Tucson, Arizona to Crown Point, Indiana, Winter 1934
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George
“Hey wait, Nick, didn’t you already do a post on Dillinger’s prison suit?” ask many of my astute followers who also happen to know my first name.
While many folks of this generation were introduced to John Dillinger and his band of Depression-era desperadoes through the 2009 film Public Enemies, it was probably the tenth (at least) major production featuring Dillinger as a character. My personal favorite is the 1973 John Milius gunfest Dillinger featuring manly and scraggle-toothed actor Warren Oates in the title role.
As usual for Milius, the film doesn’t hold back in terms of violence, upping the Dillinger gang’s body count from around a dozen to more than fifty. Oates plays Dillinger as an cheeky outlaw who loves being just that – not a misunderstood farm boy who was led into a life of crime by police.
Yesterday marked the 79th anniversary of Dillinger’s legendary “wooden gun” breakout from the Lake County jail in Crown Point, Indiana. While Public Enemies had Dillinger already in prison garb by this time, Dillinger kept him in his black suit worn when he was arrested. Continue reading
Dillinger’s Brown Suit in “Public Enemies”
Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber
Tucson, January 1934
Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
Seventy nine years ago today, on January 25, 1934, noted Midwest bank robber John Dillinger was arrested by a group of small-town cops in Tucson, Arizona. The arrest was notable as the Chicago police had been leading police efforts against the bandit for several months, to the point of assigning an elite team of detectives – dubbed the “Dillinger Squad” – the single task of finding Dillinger.
Public Enemies used photos of Dillinger during his arrest and subsequent interviews to recreate the dark three-piece suit he wore throughout the ordeal. Unfortunately, he ditches his coat and tie early on in the scenes, leaving only a few glimpses in the film and behind-the-scenes photos to get an idea of the full picture of the suit. Continue reading