Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger, Morris Carnovsky, Anabel Shaw
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
A collection of classic film noir. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: NR Release Date: 6-JUL-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Terrific Little Gem !
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 07/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over the years, I had seen the striking, lurid poster for "Gun Crazy" in various film books ( nicely rendered on the DVD cover ), but I had never actually seen the movie. Well, the movie knocked me out ! This has to be one of the greatest "B" movies of all time. It was also briefly titled "Deadly is the Female", very "film noirish" and appropriate. I will not reveal too many details about the plot--other reviewers have covered it extensively ( perhaps in some cases too extensively ). Bart Tare ( John Dall ) has had a passion for guns his whole life. At a carnival, he meets a sideshow sharpshooter from London, Annie Laurie Starr ( Peggy Cummins ). They are soon sharing not only a passion for guns, but an intense passion for each other ! Falling under the spell of this charismatic, young blonde--who craves excitement, action and the finer things in life--Bart is drawn into a cross-country crime spree that escalates from robbery to murder.As one of the best "femme fatale" types in film history, Peggy Cummins gives a rivetting performance. You can't take your eyes off her, as she fanatically plunges down a road from which there is no return, taking the man she loves with her. Her character steals money--Ms. Cummins steals the movie ! As Bart, John Dall is rather stoic and one-dimensional until later in the film, when he realizes the harm he is causing others, including those who were close friends. His performance really picks up in the later scenes. Incidentally, Bart as a youth is played by Russ Tamblyn, later to spark a number of movies with his dancing and acrobatic skills.The other "star" here is the Director, Joseph H. Lewis. His approach is refreshing and innovative. I particularly liked the scenes where you--the audience--are in the back seat of the getaway car during a heist. You cannot help but wonder how much later films like "Bonnie and Clyde", "Badlands" and "Natural Born Killers" were influenced by this low-budget masterpiece ?
I also liked the way that Lewis depicts the sexual overtones of his characters and situations, remembering that this film was first released in 1949. Concerning the picture quality of the DVD, I see that one reviewer had some problems with the image. Personally, I found the black and white picture to be crisp and clear, especially for a film now 55 years old. The optional comments of author/film buff, Glenn Erickson, are a very nice bonus."Gun Crazy" provides further proof that, whether it's the 1940s or 2004, you don't need big budgets and "superstars" to make a memorable film. If you have a taut script, a talented director and even one terrific performance, you can come up with a winner. Thank you, Warner Bros !"
Perverse Noir Thriller that Stands Above The Rest
Mad Dog | Canada | 10/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gun Crazy is a tale of the symbiotic relationship between two sharpshooters: he's a gentle soul who likes guns and loves her; she's a psychopath who winds him up like a cheap watch.They rob their way across mid-west, get chased by the cops, kill a few people on the way. But when push comes to shove, when the smart money says "split up", they can't bear to be apart.It's a Pre-"Bonnie and Clyde" "Bonnie And Clyde"; a perverse mixture of sadism and sympathy.For Afficionadoes:Joseph H Lewis was on of those B-Movie directors who knew how to make his limitations into strengths. As a result there are some amazing camera moves, car-rigs, lighting set-ups, and all round great cutting.The set-piece is the one-take real-time bank robbery, shot in a town of people most of whome didn't know anyone was making a film. It saved Lewis a day of shooting, and I haven't seen it's equal.The Practicle Car-Rigs used were unusual for their time (there's very little rear-projection.For Everyone Else:Non-Stop and Never A Dull Moment."
A Psychological Spellbinder
William Hare | Seattle, Washington | 04/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Gun Crazy" was recently included in the National Film Registry and has been called by many the greatest B film ever made. Joseph Lewis, an ingenious director noted for getting astounding results from small budgets, made two of the most acclaimed B successes in film annals, the other being "The Big Combo." In the latter film he had recent Oscar-winning screenwriter Philip Yordan put his ideas on paper. With the 1949 psychological noir spellbinder "Gun Crazy" Lewis had future Pulitzer Prize-winning author MacKinlay Cantor adapt his story to the screen along with future Oscar-winning scenarist Dalton Trumbo, whose name credit for the film is Millard Kaufman, a move resulting from the uncertainty of the blacklist period."Gun Crazy" includes one of the most unusual seduction scenes recorded on film. When the ultimately wayward love duo of John Dall and Peggy Cummins initially meet it is at a traveling carnival, where the sexy young blonde is the Annie Oakley-styled sharpshooter. She takes on all comers in competition, and meets more than her match in Dall, who ultimately triumphs over her. This is the only scene you will ever see where an act of seduction occurs while the sharpshooters take turns shooting out candles atop each other's heads. The more intense the competition, the greater the sexual intensity building between the pair. Cummins ends up more intrigued and sexually aroused than ever after losing the competition to Dall, displaying open admiration for the only sharpshooter to defeat her at her own game.Before long they pull out of the carnival, infuriating the carnival's boss, who was Cummins' lover. Dall immediately proposes and they marry, despite Cummins' cautionary warning that she is "no good." Totally smitten, Dall tells her that she will become a better person. She promises to try but ultimately falls short.The intriguing psychological element of this film is that Dall, while loving guns and an excellent sharpshooter, has a pronounced non-violent streak. Cummins, whose love for guns equals his own, has an equally pronounced psychotic violent streak. Despite Dall's verbal opposition, he agrees to go along with her on a Midwest robbery spree reminiscent of the antics of Bonnie and Clyde.The clashing psychologies of Cummins and Dall must ultimately prompt the sensitive young man to make a decision as to how far he will follow his assertive wife. He agrees to undertake one more job at an Armour meatpacking plan, but this holdup sets them off on a critical survival course. Ultimately Dall must choose between his devotion to Cummins and attempting to kill one of his best boyhood friends, now the sheriff of the town where he grew up.This film never degenerates into sensationalism or violence for its own sake. It is a serious study of the roots of violence in American society with a strong emphasis on the popularity of guns in U.S. culture."
Noir, but different
Mark Fradl | Austin, TX United States | 04/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful film - I went into this expecting a cult classic bordering on camp and was surprised to find it a very intelligent film with nuanced characters and amazing camera work. Thoroughly enjoyable. And once you're done go back and listen with the commentary track - a great mix of stories from the making of the film and perspective on the work's influence and place in history."