Bryan Burrough Q&A #11

Author or PUBLIC ENEMIES

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Bryan Burrough Q&A #11

Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:40 am

ONBC: If you could be one of the Public Enemies for a day, who would you choose and why?

Bryan Burrough: Wow, great question. I guess I’d have to say Dillinger. I knew almost nothing about him when I started my research, but he came to obsess me. He was the most human of them all, or at least he seemed that way, in large part because he was the only one of the major Public Enemies who was captured at the height of his fame. You can actually watch him in newsreels, which are fascinating. You can see Karpis and Kelly in the same way, but they didn’t have Dillinger’s flare. By the time reporters got to them, all the fight had gone out of them.

You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Betty Sue
Posts: 1430
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm

Status: Offline

Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:08 pm

Love the question and the answer! Dillinger and his impact on America were rather unique!! :-O A beloved bank robber?!! :-O
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

User avatar
suec
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Location: uk

Status: Offline

Unread postby suec » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:03 pm

Somehow, I'm not surprised by the answer. :grin: I think Dillinger's fascination and appeal come across very strongly in the book, but all the same, that he states Dillinger came to obsess him is a strong statement. But yes, he was an armed robber and killer and he was a nice bloke in some ways and he was very charismatic. And ah! Those escapes! And it is hard not to have some compassion for him, specially in the way that he died. But Mr Burrough sums up his appeal so well as being both the most human and having the flair too.
But look at what he's started - a whole new bunch of people are seeing that about Dillinger now, and by the time Johnny has finished with him, it'll be a whole lot more.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby gemini » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:42 pm

suec, you sum it up pretty well. Dillinger was a charismatic fellow and I am sure that he held the interest of all the books readers even if Johnny wasn't going to play his character. It is obviously one of the reasons that the book is being made into a film. The other reason being that Burrpough wrote a great book.
That last line of his answer about Karpis and Kelly.....
By the time reporters got to them, all the fight had gone out of them.
is a little haunting and sad.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Parlez
Posts: 2503
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Colorado

Status: Offline

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:22 pm

Yes, I thought that last line of Mr. Burrough's was quite interesting too, Gemini. It reminded me that timing is everything, innit?! If you're not there at the top of your game when your 15 minutes of fame comes along (or, in Dillinger's case, 15 months, give or take), you're likely to get it later as a has-been or an also-ran.

As I've said all along, my whole point and purpose in reading the book was learning about Mr. D., so naturally he was the star of the show for moi. However, I must say I was absolutely captivated by BFN, who seemed much more like my idea of the quintessential gangster. His unpredictability, his hot-headedness, and his renegade style of independence were all very intriguing to me...not to mention his use of a rather psychotic trigger finger!

So, if I was asked this most excellent question, my answer would be (don't shoot!) BFN.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:13 pm

Parlez, I'm with you that BFN was more my idea of a gangster. And Suec, I agree with you that after Johnny's finished with Dillinger, he will even be higher up there on the sympathy scale.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby gemini » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:26 pm

Yes BFN was the real gangster, Parlez. I too felt intrigued with him. Even though he was a hot headed killer , he started so young and kept his wife with him. I was embarrassed to say how I felt about him because of what he was. It was interesting that they looked for the Priest when he was dying.
I was really torn up when he was dying and asked his wife to say good bye to his mother and brothers and sisters. Especially when he started crying when he asked her to bid farewell to their children. Its embarrassing to feel for an unrepentant killer but the sympathy was still there. I think his wife loved him. On the "Don't call us Molls page" http://www.geocities.com/ellen_poulsen/Gillis.html
She is quoted with
"I knew Les was going to die, and I wanted to be with him as long as I could."
She married him at 16. Sad.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:38 pm

gemini wrote:Yes BFN was the real gangster, Parlez. I too felt intrigued with him. Even though he was a hot headed killer , he started so young and kept his wife with him. I was embarrassed to say how I felt about him because of what he was. It was interesting that they looked for the Priest when he was dying.
I was really torn up when he was dying and asked his wife to say good bye to his mother and brothers and sisters. Especially when he started crying when he asked her to bid farewell to their children. Its embarrassing to feel for an unrepentant killer but the sympathy was still there. I think his wife loved him. On the "Don't call us Molls page" http://www.geocities.com/ellen_poulsen/Gillis.html
She is quoted with
I knew Les was going to die, and I wanted to be with him as long as I could."
She married him at 16. Sad.


I know exactly what you mean, Gemini. I vaguely remember feeling the same way when he was dying. And I was surprised at my reaction. That is the difference, I guess between us and him. We can even feel sympathy for those who don't really deserve it. But when someone like BFN can be concerned about his family, it makes you wonder how he could turn out the way he did.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
flo116
Posts: 1330
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: back in the Pacific NW

Status: Offline

Unread postby flo116 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:49 pm

Hey you guys what about the way Dillinger died shot in the back, I think without warning. Who are the bad guys here. These "public enemies" where products of the times...they were human, wanting the samethings we all want to have families be comfortable. I am not defending what they did but they were just human. You get started down a certain path and it is hard to change impossible sometimes. There is nothing wrong with having sympathy for them, there but for the grace of God go I.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby gemini » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:11 pm

Yes flo116, you are right. I feel just as upset about the way Dillinger died. I have been reading "Dillinger the Untold story" . Its nice to be reading a book the same time Johnny is. Anyhow the beginning is really sad.
His mom died when he was 3 and they found him trying to wake her up in her casket. He looses his first girlfiend. They even said he got married trying to get over her, but eventually came to love his wife and then she divorced him in prison when he was really trying to get back to her and make things right. Then his step mom, that he loved, died the day he came home from prison to see her. I have been in tears so far and I am just starting into this book.
It sort of gives you the other side of his life. I am wondering what Johnny is making of it.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:13 pm

flo116 wrote:Hey you guys what about the way Dillinger died shot in the back, I think without warning. Who are the bad guys here. These "public enemies" where products of the times...they were human, wanting the samethings we all want to have families be comfortable. I am not defending what they did but they were just human. You get started down a certain path and it is hard to change impossible sometimes. There is nothing wrong with having sympathy for them, there but for the grace of God go I.


Flo, I'm with ya. And :welcome: to ONBC.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
sleepy
JDZ Founder
Posts: 6867
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:27 pm
Location: Indian Territory

Status: Offline

Unread postby sleepy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:13 pm

What I'm wondering, is how this film will portray Dillinger. Will they go with the soft side of Dillinger (We know Johnny CAN do that...look how we felt about George Jung, in the end) or give us the rougher side? Should Dillinger be portrayed with sympathy? My Dad was a police officer in the 50's and I remember his mom talking about Pretty Boyd Floyd, who grew up in her home town. I wish I had listened to more details! In addition to Mr. Burrough's book, I've just ordered another Dillinger book. It's different from the one Johnny is reading, so now I think I need to order that one, also!
Funny ol' world, innit?

User avatar
Parlez
Posts: 2503
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Colorado

Status: Offline

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:26 pm

I seems we've come full-circle, discussing the humanity of our individual gangster friends and understanding (or trying to) the times and circumstances in which they lived and evolved. :cool:

It's been interesting to me to see all the pics of Johnny smiling and looking so benign and easygoing during this shoot...then, ever once in a while, he's caught by the camera with a look that's completely vicious and downright scary-mean! To me, that's Dillinger, right there in a nutshell. Johnny's got it, IMO, and I think we'll see it on screen in a big, surprising way.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

savvy avi by mamabear

User avatar
Linda Lee
Posts: 2464
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:02 pm
Location: Aboard the Black Pearl

Status: Offline

Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:43 am

I felt Dillinger was the most sympathetic of the gangsters. He seemed to be very charismatic in the book, so I'm not surprized that Mr. Burrough would choose him.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

User avatar
suec
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Location: uk

Status: Offline

Unread postby suec » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:46 am

I remember reading a review of Heat, in which the reviewer stated he felt the "wrong man died". Personally, I think it was a bit harsh on the Pacino character! But it is testament to how sympathetic De Niro's character seemed, even after seeing everything he was capable of. Mann and De Niro laid it all out on the line with the worst of his character, and still there was a likeable quality and that sorrow at his death. Likewise with Collateral, with Cruise's character (IMO). Show the audience the worst, and get them to connect despite of it all because of seeing the rest, too. That is what I am hoping for.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."


Return to “Bryan Burrough”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest