The editor of a New York exploitation newspaper meets the wife he had abandoned years ago, while using another name, at a LonelyHearts ball sponsored by his newspaper. She threatens to ... See full summary »
A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
Since he was a child, Bart Tare has always loved guns. After leaving the army, his friends take him to a carnival, where he meets the perfect girl, Annie, a sharp-shooting sideshow performer who loves guns as much as he. The two run off and marry, but Annie isn't happy with their financial situation, so at her behest the couple begins a crosscountry string of daring robberies. Never one to use guns for killing, Bart is dragged down into oblivion by the greedy and violent nature of the woman he loves. Written by
Martin Lewison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original title of "Gun Crazy" was "Deadly Is the Female," and they ain't kidding. If you thought Faye Dunaway's Bonnie Parker was the more ruthless member of the crime duo that gave Arthur Penn's 1967 film its name, wait till you get a load of Peggy Cummins's Annie in this little known cheapie from 1949. I wouldn't want to get on this woman's bad side; she can shoot cigarettes out of people's mouths, for God's sake.
"Gun Crazy" is such an obvious influence on Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" that I can't believe the later film doesn't credit it directly. Though the 1949 film is based on a short story that appeared in the "Saturday Evening Post" and the 1967 film worked with an original screenplay, both films could have been adapted from the same source. They portray the Annie/Bonnie character as bored and restless, turned on by the thought of crime and by a manly man who can really use his "gun." The Bart/Clyde character is tickled by the idea of being a virile stud in the eyes of his lover, but is ultimately too sensitive for the life they choose. And both films do a good job of portraying the desperation that plagues both couples, the isolation and loneliness they create for themselves and can never break out of, and the ultimate futility of their actions, since the "law" is going to catch up with them sooner or later.
Peggy Cummins is really good in this. I don't know what else she's been in, but her baby-doll voice creates an effective contrast to her colder-than-ice attitude. She's crooning into her lover's ear one minute and itching to kill someone the next. And you have to dig those French-inspired fashions that would cause a sensation nearly 20 years later when Dunaway donned them again for Penn's film.
I thought John Dall was at first odd casting for the role of Bart. Annie is supposed to think of him as a man's man, and Dall, with his willowy physique and gentle mannerisms is far from that. But then when we realize that he's at heart really too gentle for the life he and Annie have chosen for themselves, his casting makes sense.
There are some small touches to this film that really add to its immediacy and realism. I loved the scenes of Annie and Bart driving to and from their heist jobs, shot from the back seat of the car as if we are a member of their gang. They have really funny and natural banter back and forth about where to park, etc. which I have to believe was improvised to some extent. The ending of the film, a face off in a creepy swamp, is eerie, and there's a small twist in the last seconds of the film that might be easy to miss but may give you some things to think about if you catch it.
It's interesting, and rather depressing, that one of the main themes of this film is the obsession with guns and violence that pervaded the country nearly 60 years ago, and here we are a handful of wars later, still dragging around the same old obsessions. Michael Moore's recent documentary "Bowling for Columbine" could have just as easily been called "Gun Crazy," if that title weren't already taken by this forgotten little blast of a movie.
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