year: 1974
cast: Dale Robertson, Harris Yulin, Steve Kanaly, Margaret Blye
rating: **

John Milius's "Dillinger" (1973) has everything you'll ever want in a gangster flick with a thousand bullets to spare. Warren Oates plays Dillinger and Ben Johnson plays Melvin Purvis, both to perfection. A year after the 1973 theatrical hit, Milius figured Purvis's story needed more coverage, and we get it here with this TV-movie written by Milius and starring Dale Robertson in the title role. But there's not enough Purvis and too much of the bad guys, who are, as opposed to John Dillinger: Machine Gun Kelly and his gang of bickering villains. So this is more or less a prequel to "Dillinger", and being that it was made for TV, it falls flat on many levels. While Harris Yulin is a dependable actor, his portrayal of Kelly borders on silly. Although the climax before the climax - a shootout between the G-Men and the thugs, is fairly good, reminiscent of the Milius film. All-in-all there's nothing gained/nothing lost here, 'cept an hour fifteen minutes where you could have watched something better.

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