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PUBLIC ENEMIES

Designing and Lensing Public Enemies
"You wanted to know where he is, you dumb flatfoot? You walked right past him on State Street. You were too scared to look around. He was at the curb in that black Buick.” —Billie Frechette

The biggest challenge facing Mann was turning 21st-century America back into the world of the early 1930s. As there were some 114 different sets to dress for the film, the art department was kept occupied well before principal photography began. In addition to his crew's work on developing sets, Mann felt it was important to lens at as many of the actual locations as possible. As Dillinger and his crew traveled across the Midwest during their bank-robbing spree, so would this production.

Purvis prepares to capture Dillinger and his men outside of the Little Bohemia Lodge. A keen historian, the writer/director gives an example of just how easy it was for Dillinger and his crew to get away with it all as they robbed. "Indiana State Police had 27 officers for the whole state of Indiana,” Mann offers. "Law enforcement was local, underpaid, poorly supplied, and they didn't talk to anybody else. They didn't know what was going on in the next county, unless it was anecdotally in a bar or in a café. If you're a crew of bank robbers, you could commit a bank robbery in Indiana, go across the border into Illinois and be home free. There was no law against interstate crime and no federal police force at all.”

Though in various states of repair, several of the actual sites visited by Dillinger are still around today. Fortunately, the production was allowed use of the structures for three of his iconic showdowns with the law: the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana; the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin; and the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

Before Dillinger's daring escape in Sheriff Lillian Holley's (Six Feet Under's LILI TAYLOR) personal automobile (after he carved a wooden gun out of a washing board), the Lake County Jail briefly saw him as a reluctant guest. Of the location, production designerNathan Crowley elaborates: "The front portion, which was Sheriff Holley's house, was pretty much deteriorated, while the back part, which was the jail, was rusted and corroded. We didn't have to make anything up, which was fantastic. It had the real corridors and the real geography.”

One of the most notorious photographs ever taken of Dillinger was shot at this jail. The gangster offered a wry smile while leaning on the shoulder of District Attorney Robert Estill (Prison Break'sALAN WILDER); it was a photo that would sabotage Estill's burgeoning political career. Because many photographs of the jail (especially the common areas) were taken during the famous press conference, Crowley's team was able to accurately duplicate the area. As there were no existing images of the interiors of the cells themselves, even more imagination went into their dressing.

At the Little Bohemia Lodge in spring 1934, agents from the Chicago and St. Paul offices of the FBI surrounded Dillinger and his gang, only to be outfoxed once again. Along with the notorious Baby Face Nelson, Homer Van Meter and Red Hamilton, Dillinger had just held up a bank and fled to northern Wisconsin to hide out. A violent gunfight ensued in which one innocent local man was killed; Dillinger recovers from his wounds at the Little Bohemia. additionally, FBI Agent Carter Baum was killed by Nelson. During production of the film, the team lensed at the Little Bohemia 74 years to the week that Dillinger evaded the feds.

The Alpine guesthouse is a tourist spot that now operates as a restaurant, and it took some work to recreate the era. From replicating the gangsters' rooms and planting shrubbery about the grounds, the design

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