Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dean O'Banion recognized in Ireland

Ten months ago, I went to Chicago to be interviewed by AbuMedia, a TV production company that had flown over from Ireland to film a series about Irish gangsters in America. They wanted me to talk about Dean O'Banion and his role in the Prohibition drama. The crew was fantastic to work with, and I had a great time.

Months afterward, I received a DVD of the episode that I appeared in. It was dedicated entirely to O'Banion's life, and included interviews with T.J. English, author of Paddy Whacked, and Craig Alton from Chicago's popular Untouchables Tour. It has since been broadcast in Ireland, but has yet to be seen in North America.

In most instances, I find the reenactment segments of these projects to be disappointing or downright embarrassing. The actors that are chosen to play O'Banion, Capone, etc look nothing like their real-life counterparts, and Irish-American gangsters speak with a ridiculous brogue that belies their actual birthplace. The AbuMedia production, however, was an exception. They treated O'Banion's story with respect, especially at the beginning, when his Maroa childhood was revisited. The actor who portrayed Dean was close to the mark in appearance- same height, weight, face shape, etc. The cinematography was spectacular, and the musical score that accompanied the reenactments was so compelling that O'Banion's death scene actually brought a lump to my throat. I really hope that they televise it here soon, as it was the best film treatment yet of O'Banion's life.

I've posted some screenshots below. The first two show him writing a letter to his invalid mother, the remaining two depict his death.


Pat Downey said...

Hey, nice to see you in the blog pool. Did they have a re-enactment of me stuttering my way through my lines?

Rose Keefe said...

Yes, they did. They're still splitting the prize money from "American's Funniest Home Videos" over that one.