Gun Crazy (1950)

“Two people dead, just so we can live without working!” Also known as Deadly Is the Female, this low-budget, highly entertaining film noir was directed by Joseph H. Lewis (My Name Is Julia Ross). Troubled gun nut “Bart Tare” (John Dall) hooks up with sideshow sharpshooter “Annie Laurie Starr” (Peggy Cummins) and the duo embarks on a Bonnie & Clyde-style crime spree across the country. Despite his gun obsession (he did a stint in reform school for stealing a gun as a kid), Bart is rather harmless and actually goaded into a life of crime by the ruthless, overly ambitious Laurie, who remarks, “Bart, I’ve been kicked around all my life, and from now on I’m gonna start kicking back.” Highlights include young Bart stealing the gun from the shop window, Bart and Laurie competing at the sideshow, the idyllic honeymoon shots, the couple desperately wolfing down hamburgers at a greasy diner, the single-take bank robbery scene, the final robbery of the meat processing plant and the couple fleeing into the marsh in a futile attempt to escape the police. Based on a 1940 short story by MacKinlay Kantor that was first published in The Saturday Evening Post, Gun Crazy was scripted by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (fronted by Millard Kaufman). Look for Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story) as the young Bart Tare. Gun Crazy would make a great double feature with You Only Live Once (1937). Dall was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his film debut in The Corn is Green (1945) opposite Bette Davis.

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