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Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Gun Crazy" (1950)

This justifiably famous cult noir is the grandaddy of all "young lover criminals on the lam" movies. Without it there would be no "Bonnie and Clyde", no "Badlands", no "Natural Born Killers". And although those stories pushed the boundaries of the scary mix of sex with violence, this tight, low budget character study still has the power to disturb and seem evergreen 65 years later. It's a simple plot: two aimless and alienated young people meet, fall in love, and begin a life of crime, leaving a murderous path in their wake before society sadly brings them down. The twist here is all in the title, the couple (John Dall and Peggy Cummins, both excellent), are each expert sharpshooters. Guns and gunplay are eroticized for these two walking ids. Shooting and killing are their sexual release. Credit goes to director Joseph H. Lewis for taking a B movie premise and pushing it into a bigger statement about America's fascination with firearms that's still sadly relevant today. Look for the famous long take bank heist with the two leads in cowboy outfits(!) Just terrific filmmaking.

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