Gun Crazy (1949)


Holy Oh Boy, those gams!
Holy Oh Boy, those gams!

Genre: Film Noir Drama Thriller

Starring: John Dall (RopeSpartacus), Peggy Cummings (Night Of The Demon)

Directed By: Joseph H. Lewis (The Big Combo • "The Rifleman")

Overview: When a couple of sharpshooters meet at a carnival, their whirlwind romance takes them to dizzying heights from robbery to armed robbery.

If you were to ask me to define Film Noir, apart from the established visual formula and the anti-hero characters, I'd say it would have gritty dialogue, long black cars, slick guys, sultry dames, guns, crimes and passion, passion, passion. Gun Crazy? Yeah, pretty much right bang on.

We begin with a troubled youth named Bart stealing a gun and promptly getting caught. At his juvie trial he explains that he stole the gun because he liked firing them, because he was good at it. We flash forward to years later when he's back in town after serving time in juvenile jail where he's talking to his friend about the time he spent there before joining the army. They cut loose by visiting the carnival sideshows where they quickly find a tent with a cowgirl sharpshooter act. Bart is overjoyed by Annie's skill with a pistol. The carney offers a challenge to anyone in the audience, a 10:1 bet that no one is as good as her. Bart outdoes her and instead of of taking her money, he asks for a job, falls for the girl, and soon gets caught up in a whirlwind romance that finds Bart madly in love, but certainly in over his head.

There's just something about cowgirls that makes me titter
There's just something about cowgirls that makes me titter

What sets Gun Crazy apart for me is how intense Annie and Bart's romance is. It's obvious to both of them that where they're heading can't possible last, but as long as they're doing it together, they know in their hearts that they can do it forever. Add coppers, guns, wicked dialogue, characters and a plot similar to Bonnie and Clyde, and you've got yourself a pretty slick flick, without forgetting of course Peggy Cummings in the role of Annie - the very, very ravishing, Peggy Cummings.

She likes it rough...
She likes it rough... really really rough

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 7 Script: 8 Plot: 7 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 76% (Dark as Noir)

I can safely say that I haven’t seen enough Film Noir to be able to rightly place this on a Film Noir Must See hierarchy, but given that it’s one of my favourite genres, I can assure that I’ll be watching a lot more. With the help of the internet the way it is, it’s nice to be able to just pull up great lists like this one and this one in seconds to help you in your task.

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