I might be the one of the few to not know this but the Michael Mann movie, Heat (1995), was inspired by a true story. Well, in part. There actually was a serial criminal named Neil McCauley, who is portrayed in the movie by Robert De Niro. He was caught by Chicago cop Chuck Adamson in 1964. I just happened to find this info as I was browsing for something else. I have the unfortunate habit of reading production notes on movies I’ve watched. Spoilers are up head for those who haven’t seen the film.
There are two scenes in the movie, Heat, said to be inspired by real life events. One scene is where the police stakeout a score by McCauley and his team. McCauley hears a noise and walks away. Chuck Adamson, the detective who collaborated with Michael Mann, said in real life someone flushed the toilet and McCauley and his team took off. The second scene that also happened in real life was the meeting between McCauley and Adamson under non-violent circumstances in a coffee shop. In real life, Adamson said he asked McCauley to cause trouble somewhere else and McCauley told him he liked Chicago. Isn’t that interesting? It’s the little things. Anyway, I’m posting this more for myself than anything. If you’re a fan of the movie, did you know of its origins?
Roger Ebert’s Crime in the Emptiness Of Los Angeles ( 2011) is a wonderful essay about the style of the film and discusses its origins. You all should read it. The Blu-Ray DVD version of the film has a featurette with Chuck Adamson (he has since passed away) discussing the good ole days when he was tracking McCauley in Chicago. I actually own this DVD copy and watched it for the first time the other night. Normally, I don’t watch the special features on DVD’s which explains why I overlooked it. Not the curious type at the time I suppose. Heat is one my favorite movies. What hooked me besides Pacino and De Niro being in it was the romance. Heat is also known for its shoot out scene during a bank robbery. No music. Just guns firing everywhere for a good long time. As for this post, I just became fascinated by the story behind the story several years after the fact. So laugh at me. I don’t mind. If you haven’t watched this film you should. Roger Ebert deemed, Heat, as “the single greatest Los Angeles crime epic of all time”