HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
   
 
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
   
 
  Baby Face Nelson Little Man, What Now?
Year: 1957
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Carolyn Jones, Cedric Hardwicke, Leo Gordon, Anthony Caruso, Jack Elam, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia, Elisha Cook Jr, Robert Osterloh, Thayer David, Dabbs Greer, George E. Stone, Lisa Davis, Emile Meyer, Dan Terranova, Duke Mitchell
Genre: Thriller, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lester M. Gillis (Mickey Rooney) has an alias: Baby Face Nelson, given to him because of his features and short stature, but he is possessed of a temper which makes him unpredictable, dangerous even. He is in prison thanks to one of his crimes, Nelson preferring to turn to illegal means to get his money rather than work for it like the majority of men during the nineteen-thirties Depression, and though the scarcity of employment is the reason many have become criminals, he comes across as doing so because he enjoys it. Still, he'd rather be out of jail...

And his wish comes true when gangster boss Rocca (Ted de Corsia) springs him, apparently to persuade Nelson to perform a hit on a union leader who won't go along with Rocca's schemes. There was a real Baby Face Nelson of course, but this biopic opted to fictionalise much of his exploits for reasons best known to the filmmakers, though he emerges pretty much the same. Although movies set around the lives of the gangsters of the thirties tend to be overshadowed by Bonnie And Clyde in the late sixties, they were a regular fixture of cinemas for decades, often in low budget efforts such as director Don Siegel's production here.

There's no mistaking that this was not operating on a huge amount of money as for a start the period detail is lacking aside from the vintage cars and tommy guns - one character even sports a very fifties quiff - but it was an example of the psychological approach to criminals in such thrillers as these which had made James Cagney in White Heat so striking and influential a few years before this, and it's true Rooney's madman antics owed much to that star. Rooney had become famous as a beloved child perfomer before branching out into "Lets do the show right here!" musicals, but now he was nearing middle age, it was as if Hollywood wasn't quite sure what to do with him.

Thus he turned to crime, or his characters did, so when he wasn't being a comedic presence he was filling victims full of lead. In a way he was playing up to the stereotype of "small man syndrome" where it's believed they are barely suppressing a huge rage because of the trick Mother Nature has played on them by making them short; Rooney wasn't doing much to dispel this misconception by taking roles like this, and Siegel accentuated his height by placing him in the frame with actors who towered above him, making him often appear to be a toddler suffering tantrums rather than a deadly hoodlum. Yet somehow this wasn't supposed to be funny, in fact we're meant to be dreading his next outburst.

Carolyn Jones, the woman who launched a million Goth girls as Morticia in sixties sitcom The Addams Family, played Nelson's wife Sue, and even she is a little taller than her leading man, but she convincingly veered between doting over her beau and becoming frustrated with her lot, never settling down between robberies unless holing up in the latest rural hideout counted as settling, which it didn't. Such well known faces as Jack Elam, Cedric Hardwicke and Elisha Cook Jr also appeared, almost as if it were compulsory to have them show up in something like this, but it was really Rooney's movie all the way as he explosively cut a swathe through everyone else, even dismissing John Dillinger (Leo Gordon) as beneath him. So much was made of Nelson's size being what drove him to being a psychopath that it's a running joke: every so often someone will mention "elevator shoes" or make some reference to the villain's diminutive dimensions that reminds him he has a lot to make up for. Hence, more killing. Music by Van Alexander.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3314 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Siegel  (1912 - 1991)

Respected American director, a former editor, whose action thrillers were second to none. He started out in lower budget movies like The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Bock 11 and The Lineup but come the sixties he started making higher profile work such as the remake of The Killers and Madigan. His fruitful partnership with Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, among others. Another of his finest 1970s films was Charley Varrick.

Siegel had small acting roles in Play Misty for Me and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - he had directed the classic original in the 1950s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: