The life and death of the infamous gangster John Dillinger is a natural for the cinema – who better than a pirate and murderous barber to play the role?


Filming for the movie "Public Enemies," with Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Marion Cotillard as his girlfriend Evelyn "Billie" Frechette, has begun with scenes scheduled to be shot in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Dillinger, 74 years after his death, is back where he belongs — in the Midwest and, soon, up on the silver screen.

John Herbert Dillinger's life of crime began at age 12, stealing coal from railroad cars in Mooresville, Ind. It ended in a hail of bullets on a sticky July night in 1934. Dillinger had just emerged from the movies at the Biograph Theater on Chicago's Lincoln Avenue. Government agents had been tipped off and were waiting for him.

As a crowd gathered around the outlaw's corpse lying in an alley just south of the theater, women dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood. Later, at the coroner's office, 1,000 people stood in line to view the remains. According to the American Folkloric Center, Dillinger's violent life and death inspired 13 songs — "Dillinger's Doom," "Dillinger's Fate," etc. Shelves of books were written about him.

(Chicago Tribune)


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