An autobiographical book by Frank Abagnale Jr. It recounts his life, during the mid sixties from age fifteen to age twenty one (or thereabouts). He was a con man. He specialised in bad checks and forged checks as his main means of income. He impersonated a Pan Am pilot for years, spent almost a year as a supervising resident at a major Atlanta children's hospital when he was eighteen, and worked as an assistant prosecutor when he was nineteen. He was a high school drop out who stole two and a half million dollars (this was in the sixties, mind you) and was wanted by twenty countries on four continents. The book is great, at times hilarious. The man himself is a genius, as some of his exploits will readily attest to. Unfortunately it is also being made into a movie. Go buy and read the book before it becomes a bad movie! (I could be wrong, the movie could be great, but after such disasters as The Ninth Gate, I doubt it).

After a psych evaluation showed he had a low criminal threshold an NYPD officer said "This phony rips off several hundred banks, hustles half the hotels in the world for everything but the sheets, screws every airline in the skies, including most of their stewardesses, passes enough bad checks to paper the walls of the Pentagon, runs his own goddamned colleges and universities, makes half the cops in twenty countries look like dumbasses while he's stealing over two million dollars, and he has a low criminal threshold? What would he have done if he had a high criminal threshold, looted Fort Knox?"

Catch Me If You Can


The Movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr., directed by Steven Spielberg, and actually turned out pretty good. This was mainly because the episodic nature of the book was sacrificed, and a bit of fiction introduced to create a plot of sorts:

Christopher Walken stars as Frank Abagnale Sr., a fatherly figure that his son adores. Jr. learns everything from his father. After Sr. is invesitigated by the IRS, his marriage falls apart, and Junior (at age 16) is asked to choose who he wants to live with. Faced with a dilemma, he runs instead.

The movie connects all his hoaxes and scams into a plot by intoducing Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) as the FBI agent tracking Frank down. Carl is a composite of numerous other agents that were tracking down the real Frank.

Frank is constantly trying to appeal to fatherly figures in the movie, both Frank Sr. and Carl. These relationships are both touching and funny, and serve their purpose of tying the movie together.

I won't spoil any more of the plot, but the movie is actually quite entertaining. It moves along at an exciting pace and is always funny and witty. It's one of those rare movies that can be entertaining to watch without resorting to a lot of needless action or love scenes. The script went through a couple of revisions, but the final draft (and writing credit) comes from Jeff Nathanson.

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