DILLINGER
1973, Park Circus/MGM, 107 min, USA, Dir: John Milius

For his feature directorial debut, high-powered screenwriter John Milius crafted an action-packed biopic about Depression-era criminal John Dillinger, because “of all the outlaws, he was the most marvelous.” Warren Oates is marvelous himself in the title role, with Harry Dean Stanton and Richard Dreyfuss as members of his gang, Ben Johnson as the FBI agent on Dillinger’s trail and Cloris Leachman as “the Lady in Red” who led the notorious gangster to his bloody end at a Chicago movie theater.


JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN
1971, Shout Factory, 111 min, USA, Dir: Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo not only wrote but directed this fiercely powerful cry of anguish against the legions of aggression - the ultimate anti-war film. Joe (Timothy Bottoms), a foot soldier during WWI, loses his legs, arms and most of his face in an explosion. He awakes in a hospital and slowly becomes aware that not only is he imprisoned in a shell of a body but also the doctors think he is a vegetable. Through a series of flashbacks involving his father (Jason Robards), his fiancee and his fantasy encounters with Jesus Christ (Donald Sutherland), we learn about Joe’s character. As Joe’s hospital stay lengthens, he develops a friendship with a sympathetic nurse (Diane Varsi). “Trumbo has taken the most difficult sort of material - and handled it, strange to say, in a way that's not so much anti-war as pro-life. Perhaps that's why I admire it. Instead of belaboring ironic points about the ‘war to end war,’ Trumbo remains stubbornly on the human level. He lets his ideology grow out of his characters, instead of imposing it from above.” - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


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