Before I proceed this is a spoiler warning for all the history scholars out there who don’t know that gangster John Dillinger was shot and killed by FBI agents on a hot night in Chicago in July 1934. Okay? Sorry if this upsets anyone who wants to be kept in a state of white-knuckled suspense when they sit down to see Michael Mann‘s Public Enemies sometime next year.
Last night I bought a copy of Bryan Burrough‘s “Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI — 1933 to ’34,” which is the basis of Mann’s currently-shooting movie. I then received a copy of an 11.4.07 draft of the script of Public Enemies (written by Ronan Bennett, with revisions by Mann and Ann Biderman, and then Mann again).
The book is about all the wild-ass outlaw buckaroos of that era (including Machine Gun Kelly, Alvin Karpis, Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, the Barker gang ) but the bulk of it — certainly the heart of it — is about John Dillinger. The book is 542 pages long (not counting the epilogue), and Dillinger finally goes down in a shower of hot lead on page 408. The script is even more Dillinger-friendly. It runs 131 pages, and Dillinger succumbs on page 123.