Thursday, 24 July 2014
Gun Crazy 
The classic template of delinquent lovers on a crime spree and on the lam, used in Bonnie & Clyde, Badlands, True Romance, and Natural Born Killers, and adored by Nouvelle Vague exponents, had their genesis in the excellent B-noir Gun Crazy. Daring, frenetic, pulpy, doom-laden and filled with stylistic flourishes, the film touched on social themes and subtexts – post-War disillusion and social taboos in particular – through a deliriously fun ride. Bart (John Dall) has had a fascination with guns since a young age, and becomes a crack-shot through his stints in a reform school and the army; Annie (Peggy Cummins) shows shooting skills as part of a traveling carnival, and her lethal beauty masks a dangerous inclination towards violence. These two natural born social outsiders, on account of their aberrant obsessions, hit it off like a house on fire as soon as they meet. He leaves his staid life and she quits on her vile manager who she’s been a mistress to, and together they hit the road. They commit small thefts to start with, and soon, on Annie’s pursuance despite Bart’s growing guilty conscience, graduate to robberies. However, the mythical final job – holding off of a payroll office – proves a crime too many. The final scene, where they retreat to the mountains to escape from the police, albeit in futility, is bound to remind one of High Sierra. The film boasted of great B/W photography and camera work which would be taken to dizzying heights by Lewis in The Big Combo; the real-time capture of the final heist, with the camera placed like a silent observer behind the lovers’ backs during their car escape, made this sly examination of sex and violence a visual treat.
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Genre: Crime Thriller/Film Noir