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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Factual Inaccuracy: Movie vs News.. What's the Difference?

Today's posting will be a little different than others in that the focus will be on one specific movie which was released a few years back, but I couldn't find a better example of how historically inaccurate and intentionally deceptive a movie could be..

All for the sake of 'entertainment'.

Last night I watched a movie which was released in 2009 called "Public Enemies" starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis who was the FBI lead who pursued him.
So I'm watching the film which starts off with Dillinger's escape from prison in 1933 followed by a scene where Purvis kills Pretty Boy Floyd who is alluding capture.

This gives the impression Floyd was captured/killed a full year before Dillinger was ultimately shot and killed by the FBI on July 22, 1934.

Of course I didn't know this until I Wikipedia'd all these people after watching but Floyd was shot and killed by Purvis three months After Dillinger, on October 22, 1934!
~ Pretty Boy Floyd

So this really got me inquisitive as to how many historical lies and intentional distortions the film played with facts just to move the plot along..

It turned out it was many..

In the film, Baby Face Nelson is also shot and killed by Purvis a couple months or so before Dillinger's death.

This is 100% factually wrong.

Nelson was killed on November 27, 1934, a full Four months after Dillinger!
Guess the scriptwriter or director or producer thought it would be more dramatic to have Dillinger be the culmination death rather than the first of the three.

Then there's Anna Sage, the "Woman in Red", a Romanian prostitute who informed the FBI as to where Dillinger will be the night of July 22nd in exchange for protection against being deported back to her native country.

In the film, Purvis will not commit beyond 'doing all he can' but there's the inference that Sage stays in the US as a result of her assistance.

Turns out in reality, Sage was deported back to Romania anyways and stays there until her death from liver disease in 1947..  No mention of this in the movie
Also no mention about Purvis' life after Dillinger's capture beyond one sentence that he shot himself in the head in 1960, an unsubstantiated inference to feeling 'guilty' or such.

Because the movie is sympathetic toward Dillinger they can't portray his pursuer with any noble qualities of goodness, can they?

So there's no mention that Purvis captured more public enemies than any other agent in FBI history, a record that still stands.

Nor any mention that served in the United States Army as an intelligence officer during World War II, reaching the rank of colonel and assisted with compiling evidence against Nazi leaders in the Nuremberg trials
Nope.. No mention..  Just treat Purvis' post-Dillinger life like he twiddled his thumbs and watched paint dry for 26 years then died..

Just so many inaccuracies in this terrible film!

No mention in the film that in his younger years, Dillinger had a 3-yr affair with his step-mother or that he was once married for a spell or that in his first incarceration in 1924, he was sentenced by a judge to spend 10-20 years in prison..

For stealing $50.
~ Dillinger, 1934

Yes its just a movie..  Yes its entertainment and Yes most people know historical films are not always truly factual with names, places and dates, etc...

That sure is a lot of giving benefit of the doubt'and looking the other way isn't it?

Because who really has the time and inclination to research every historical-based film?

Or the time and energy to see if every article written by AP, Reuters or the NY Times is truthful and accurate?
Or the time and energy and will to discover if everything on cable and national network news is on the up n' up??

Because ultimately what is the difference in the media formats, other than how willing and accepting you are to be placated by factual inaccuracy and distortion for the sake of a little entertainment diversion?