Lady in Red [1979]

Pamela Sue Martin kicked off the goody two shoes from her Nancy Drew image to play the feisty farm girl with Hollywood dreams who walked out of the Biograph on the arm of John Dillinger the night he was killed by the FBI. John Sayles wrote this depression-era gangster drama, loosely based on the real story of Polly Hamilton (renamed Polly Franklin for the film), and stuffs plenty of sex and social commentary around a surprisingly faithful recounting of the real-life event. Martin transforms from naive young thing to brassy hustler without losing her sweetness, and Robert Conrad is quite the gentleman hoodlum as Dillinger, but the unsung hero of the piece is Robert Forster, uncredited but indelible as a hit man who falls for fallen woman Polly. Colorful, action packed, and full of underdog spunk, this is exploitation moviemaking with a populist sensibility. --Sean Axmaker

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