“Pretty Boy is like a big kid who’s been more than just lucky. He’s really beginning to believe that something is protecting him.”
After being released from prison, Charlie “Pretty Boy” Floyd (John Ericson) leaves his part-time boxing gig when his promoter learns he’s having an affair with his wife (Casey Peyson), and soon Charlie is back to a life of crime, working with his friend Curly (Carl York) and his former manager (Barry Newman), and rooming with a woman (Effie Afton) whose boarder (Joan Harvey) falls hard for Charlie.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Peter Falk Films
This fictionalized biopic about notorious bank robber “Pretty Boy” Floyd (so-called because he liked to dress in fancy suits, though he apparently despised the nickname) perpetuates the myth that Floyd was a Robin Hood to the Okies, as memorialized in Woody Guthrie’s ballad:
… many a starvin’ farmer
The same old story told
How the outlaw paid their mortgage
And saved their little homes.
Others tell you ’bout a stranger
That come to beg a meal,
Underneath his napkin
Left a thousand-dollar bill.
As noted in History on Film’s article, “The script follows the basic chronology of Floyd’s life but tosses in generous helpings of fiction” — i.e., opening the film by showing him boxing (which he never did):
The primary interest here seems to be glamorizing Floyd’s exploits, presenting him as a handsome man who was irresistible to beautiful women:
Actually, there’s not a whole lot notable about Floyd’s story, which culminated in his purported involvement in the Kansas City Massacre:
… and ultimately his death in a corn field:
Watch for Peter Falk in a small role as Floyd’s accomplice:
… and Al Lewis of “The Munsters” fame as “Machine Gun Manny”:
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Atmospheric cinematography
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious.