Tagged: Warren Oates

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Warren Oates as Bennie in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Warren Oates as Bennie in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Vitals

Warren Oates as Bennie Benjamin, piano-playing bounty hunter

Mexico, May 1973

Film: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Release Date: August 14, 1974
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Wardrobe Credit: Adolfo Ramírez

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Warren Oates, the grizzled Kentucky-born actor celebrated on BAMF Style for his depiction of John Dillinger in 1973’s Dillinger and also his collaborations with director Sam Peckinpah including The Wild Bunch (1969) and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). It was this latter film that the iconoclastic director deemed the only one from his three-decade career that matched his original vision.

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Warren Oates’ Brown Striped Suit as Dillinger

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber

Indiana, Fall 1933

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

Background

Eighty four years ago tonight – November 15, 1933. Four police cars converge on a small office building on Irving Park Boulevard in the Chicago Loop. In an upstairs doctor’s office, one of the most wanted men in the tri-state area is being treated for either a ringworm infection or “barber’s itch,” an inflammation of hair follicles, depending on which account you read. On the floor below, a cagey informant named Art McGinnis is signaling desperately to police that their quarry is upstairs. Fate, however, is on the side of the outlaw, a thirty-year-old bank robber named John Dillinger. Continue reading

The Death of John Dillinger – 1973 Style

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, doomed Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, July 1934

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

Background

Although it had been founded in 1908, the FBI had existed for more than a quarter of a century without grabbing major national attention. There were many major successes, but the recent crime wave of bank-robbing desperadoes tarnished the agency’s image and, in turn, turned outlaws into folk heroes.

One of these “folk heroes” was John Dillinger, a 31-year-old Indiana native who had recently embarrassed national law enforcement by reportedly breaking out of jail with a wooden gun. Although they had Dillinger in their sights for the better part of a year, the FBI – then known as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) – had no legal jurisdiction to take him down. Dillinger’s crimes – ranging from bank robbery to alleged murder – were all certainly major, but none violated any federal law. Then, it was realized that Dillinger had stolen the Lake County sheriff’s car during his escape. By driving the stolen automobile across a state line, Dillinger violated the Dyer Act.

The Dyer Act, also called the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, was passed in 1919 to combat the growing threat of trafficking stolen automobiles. If a person was found guilty of violating the Dyer Act, they would be sentenced with imprisonment up to ten years, a hefty fine, or both. In Dillinger’s case, the BOI determined that his punishment would be execution. Continue reading

Truth vs. Fiction: The Bank-Robbing Style of Warren Oates as Dillinger

A very Dillinger-esque Warren Oates as John Dillinger, leaving a South Bend bank job in 1973's Dillinger.

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, leaving a South Bend bank job in 1973’s Dillinger.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber and “super gang” leader

Indiana, Fall 1933

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

Background

Eighty years ago today in East Chicago, Indiana, 43-year-old ECPD patrolman William Patrick O’Malley responded to a call concerning the robbery of the First National Bank. Without hesitation, O’Malley showed up at the scene, unaware that he would be going up against John Dillinger, the Indiana bandit who would soon become famous as the first national Public Enemy #1. Continue reading

Warren Oates’s Dark Brown Suit as Dillinger

Warren Oates as master bank robber John Dillinger in 1973's Dillinger.

Warren Oates as master bank robber John Dillinger in 1973’s Dillinger.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber and “super gang” leader

Mason City, Iowa to Manitowish, Wisconsin – Spring 1934

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

Background

By March 1934, John Dillinger had well-established himself as a national criminal hero. He made a mockery of both hated bankers and inept police and, best of all, he kept getting away with it. Sure, he wasn’t the only beloved “Public Enemy” in the national scene, but “Baby Face” Nelson was too violent, Bonnie and Clyde were too incompetent, and no one had heard from “Pretty Boy” Floyd in almost a year. Continue reading

Warren Oates as Dillinger: The Man in Black

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in 1973's Dillinger.

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in 1973’s Dillinger.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber

Tucson, Arizona to Crown Point, Indiana, Winter 1934

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

Background

“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