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Machine-Gun Kelly is a 1958 film noir directed by Roger Corman, chronicling the criminal activities of the real-life George "Machine Gun" Kelly. The film was considered low budget, but received good critical reviews.[3] It was the first lead role for actor Charles Bronson.

Machine-Gun Kelly
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoger Corman
Produced byRoger Corman
Written byRobert Wright Campbell
StarringCharles Bronson
Susan Cabot
Morey Amsterdam
Jack Lambert
Music byGerald Fried
CinematographyFloyd D.Crosby
Edited byRonald Sinclair
Distributed byAllied Artists
Release date
1958 (1958)
Running time
80 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office138,293 admissions (France)[2]

American International Pictures released the film as a double feature with 1958's The Bonnie Parker Story.



George Kelly (Charles Bronson), dubbed "Machine Gun" by his partner in crime Flo Becker (Susan Cabot) because of his obsession with Thompson submachine guns, pulls off a bank robbery and eventually becomes Public Enemy #1. Discord grows among his inner circle, and Kelly, deathly afraid of being jailed or killed, is dominated and ridiculed by the tough-talking Flo.

A botched robbery causes one of their partners, Michael Fandango (Morey Amsterdam) to lose an arm. Kelly, goaded on by Flo, kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy businessman for ransom. Fandango fingers him to the police, but is killed by one of Kelly's gang as the house is surrounded.

Kelly intends to surrender, if only to receive a more lenient sentence and avoid execution. Flo again questions his nerve, whereupon Kelly slugs her with his fist, knocking her unconscious. Both are taken away to jail.



Although Dick Miller was originally announced as star[4] the film was the first lead role for actor Charles Bronson who would later be acclaimed for roles in Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, and the Death Wish series.

Susan Cabot was the female lead, as part of her agreement with director Roger Corman, for whom her roles would be the end of her film career.

Corman says the film was shot in ten days for $60,000. He says he wanted to make the film because he thought Kelly was an interesting character, and liked the title "Machine Gun Kelly".[5]

Susan Cabot said the film was the "most satisfactory" of the six movies she made with Corman in part because of the "fun thing going on" between her character and Bronson's, and the strength of the relationship she had with Bronson.[6]


The Los Angeles Times called it a "sleeper" with "a very good screenplay" in which Bronson makes Kelly "a full, three dimensional human being".[7]

Corman says the film was reasonably successful in the US but very successful in Europe.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Samuel Z Arkoff & Richard Turbo, Flying Through Hollywood By the Seat of My Pants, Birch Lane Press, 1992 p 77
  2. ^ Box office information for Roger Corman films in France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly: Review".
  4. ^ MOVIELAND EVENTS: 'Machine Gun Kelly' New Crime Thriller Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Dec 1957: B15.
  5. ^ a b "Interview with Roger Corman". You Tube. 2015.
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom (2006). Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup. McFarland. p. 74.
  7. ^ 'Kelly' Surprises as New Crime Sleeper Warren, Geoffrey M. Los Angeles Times 4 July 1958: 12.

External linksEdit