Guns, Girls and Gangsters (1959)

“A Cheating Blonde … A Crazed Con … The Biggest Armored-Car Robbery in History!” A low-budget caper film with a great title and an immensely entertaining performance from blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren, Guns, Girls and Gangsters revolves around the elaborate heist of an armored truck carrying cash from a Las Vegas casino. Ex-con Chuck Wheeler (Gerald Mohr) teams up with Vegas lounge singer Vi Victor (Doren) and sleazy racketeer Joe Darren (Grant Richards). All hell breaks loose when Vi’s jealous husband Mike Bennett (Lee Van Cleef), who also happens to be Chuck’s ex-cellmate and one of the architects of the plot, breaks out of prison. Van Cleef is also excellent as the psychopath who wears dark shades throughout most of the film. Guns, Girls and Gangsters was directed by Edward L. Cahn, who was best known for working on the Our Gang shorts in the late 1930s and early 1940s. I particularly enjoyed the Van Doren singing and dancing her way through two numbers: “Anything Your Heart Desires” and “Meet Me Halfway, Baby.” There’s also this Dragnet-style voice-over narration throughout the entire film that’s pretty hilarious. Van Doren was born Joan Lucille Olander in Rowena, South Dakota, and reportedly named after Joan Crawford.

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