Gun Crazy

Gun Crazy

I feel good when I’m shooting; I feel awfully good inside…

Gun Crazy, directed by Joseph H. Lewis, stars Peggy Cummings and John Dall in a film noir heist caper featuring a duo clearly inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, and one that precedes many more famous film adaptations of the two. It’s a simple film, as most classic films are, and it’s one that manages to work despite its admittedly straightforward plot.

This is the story of Bart Tare, played by Dall, who has a lifelong fixation with guns. From his early days as a kid, he’s loved shooting guns, but after a traumatic accident he vows to never kill any living creature with one. After he gets caught stealing a gun from a hardware store, he’s sent off to a reform school, and the film jumps forward to when Bart gets back in town. He meets a crack shot carnival sharpshooter named Annie Starr, and together they go on a crime spree across the nation. The film is very plot driven, unlike a lot of films I’ve been watching recently, so it was a nice change-up. This has plenty of thrills and drama, which should satisfy just about any viewer; however, because it’s so straightforward it also runs the risk of becoming predictable and melodramatic, depending on your viewpoint – I personally didn’t find it so, but I can see how others might.

This and Detour are but two films that share the title of champs of the B movie; it’s simple, and it’s effective. It also contains a rare long take sequence of a bank heist, uncommon for the era of films it was made in. The relationship between Bart and Annie is a complicated one, one that revolves around their mutual love for guns, as well as Annie’s need for bigger and better things, to the end that she starts manipulating Bart around every corner to achieve her ends. It ends up being quite fascinating, and certainly entertaining, and I’d recommend it to just about anyone.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

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