Ace Atkins

New York Times Best Selling Author

Machine Gun Kelly 1946? Gardner. Lancaster. It could’ve been great.

Just last week, I came across these images from an ebay auction. A ’46 noir starring Burt Lancaster as “Machine Gun” Kelly and Ava Gardner as Kathryn!

It sounded too good to be true — the only MGK flick I knew about was a really cheesy one from the ’50s starring Charles Bronson. I quickly scanned imdb for any mention of such a movie but couldn’t find it.

Turns out, the stills were shot as a promotion for the classic movie THE KILLERS — a film based on one of my favorite short stories of all time by Ernest Hemingway.

Why did the case of THE KILLERS decide to get decked out as the Kelly Gang and reenact the Charlie Urschel kidnapping? I’m not sure. But in these photos, you’ll see some real legends acting out scenes you’ll recognize from INFAMOUS.

* George’s arrest by a G-Man.
* Kathryn being pushed around by Charlie Thorne
* The gang hatching the kidnapping plot
* Kathryn in all her glory
* Harvey Bailey’s arrest on the Paradise, TX farm
* Charlie Urschel trying to escape.

I even went to my good pal, noir czar Eddie Muller, for a little direction. Apparently these stills were so rare that even Eddie hadn’t seen them.

I will say a couple of ’em are now in my possession. But the one I really wanted, that great photo you see of Ava Gardner as Kathryn, fetched a price that went in the stratosphere. Isn’t that just like Kit?

— Ace

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