Friday, January 15, 2010

Gun Crazy (1950)

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Warner DVD

This a sort of Bonnie & Clyde story of two wacky kids in love that have one major thing in common, they are GUN CRAZY! The story starts with Bart (Russ Tamblyn!) as a young boy growing up parent-less, being raised by a sister. He finds he has an unnatural attraction to guns but after killing a baby chick, discovers that he can never point a gun at a living thing again without getting the shakes. Then, at a carnival, he meets Annie (Peggy Cummins). She is the resident trick shot artist, they are attracted to each other, and he joins the carnival to be close to her. After they are fired from the carnival because of a jealous boss, Annie talks Bart (the grown-up version played by John Dall) into pulling some armed robberies. He's reluctant, but she wants the glamorous life. As things start going bad, Annie talks Bart into one last heist at a meat packing plant. Things really go wrong and the pair are on the run. Lewis pulls off some great tension during the build up to the robberies, particularly in the use of putting the camera in the backseat for extended sequences of the two looking for places to park, escape routes, etc. It has a very natural feel in the way they banter back and forth. The film is also of note in how closely it relates violence to sexual thrills. The couple seem to only be able to get intimate after they use their guns. A well made noir with a screenplay secretly written by Dalton Trumbo.


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