Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

1950

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

Critics Consensus

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97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,246
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Movie Info

The definitive Joseph H. Lewis-directed melodrama, Gun Crazy is the "Bonnie and Clyde" story retooled for the disillusioned postwar generation. John Dall plays a timorous, emotionally disturbed World War II veteran who has had a lifelong fixation with guns. He meets a kindred spirit in carnival sharpshooter Peggy Cummins, who is equally disturbed -- but a lot smarter, and hence a lot more dangerous. Beyond their physical attraction to one another, both Dall and Cummins are obsessed with firearms. They embark on a crime spree, with Cummins as the brains and Dall as the trigger man. As sociopathic a duo as are likely to be found in a 1940s film, Dall and Cummins are also perversely fascinating. As they dance their last dance before dying in a hail of police bullets, the audience is half hoping that somehow they'll escape the Inevitable. Some critics have complained that Dall is far too effeminate and Cummins too butch, but Joseph H. Lewis was never known to draw anything in less than broad strokes: recall the climax of Terror in a Texas Town, wherein Sterling Hayden participates in a western showdown armed with a whaler's harpoon. The best and most talked-about scene in Gun Crazy is the bank robbery sequence, shot in "real time" from the back seat of Dall and Cummins' getaway car. Originally slated for Monogram release, Gun Crazy enjoyed a wider exposure when its producers, the enterprising King Brothers, chose United Artists as the distributor. The film was based on a magazine article by MacKinlay Kantor; one of the scenarists was uncredited blacklistee Dalton Trumbo.

Cast

Peggy Cummins
as Annie Laurie Starr
John Dall
as Bart Tare
Morris Carnovsky
as Judge Willoughby
Anabel Shaw
as Ruby Tare
Harry Lewis
as Sheriff Clyde Boston
Ned Young
as Dave Allister
Trevor Bardette
as Sheriff Boston
Mickey Little
as Bart Tare (age 7)
Russ Tamblyn
as Bart Tare (age 14)
Paul Frison
as Clyde Boston (age 14)
David Bair
as Dave Allister (age 14)
Stanley Prager
as Bluey-Bluey
Virginia Farmer
as Miss Wynn
Anne O'Neal
as Miss Sifert
Frances Irwin
as Danceland Singer
Don Beddoe
as Man From Chicago
Robert Osterloh
as Hampton Policeman
Shimen Ruskin
as Taxi Driver
Harry Hayden
as Mr. Mallenberg
Ray Teal
as Border Patrolman
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Critic Reviews for Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

  • Feb 25, 2011
    A solid noir that really focuses on gun ownership as a metaphor for masculinity. Focusing on Barton's upbringing, the gun is where he finds his male identity. We he eventually meets his love, he does it by winning a shooting contest. Clearly asserting his manliness. For the films femme fatale Annie, wielding the gun is a source of power and in one scene in particular, she shows off her shooting skills to a sea of young men. She shoots out into the crowd, almost as if she is shooting her masculinity all over these men. There is even a scene when she pulls out a gun and sets it on her lap and it is as if she too has her source of masculinity, her very own penis. These are just a few examples of all that Lewis leaves the viewer to unpack. The influence that it would later have on Penn's Bonnie & Clyde is obvious. Although not as intriguing as other Noirs, this psychologically dense film is certainly a good watch.
    Reid V Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2010
    "Gun Crazy" is square in the predictable "lovers on the run" genre, but it stands out because the suspense as the couple's resources and options thin is unusually fierce and prolonged. Also, both of the lead actors seem to belong in a much different, nicer sort of film, so we especially identify with their frantic confusion and insecurities. On the other hand, the good/bad contradictions of Bart's character strain credibility and it's hard to understand why his less rational mate can manipulate him so easily.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    The classic Bonnie and Clyde themed forties movie. It's not a well known cast, but they are really good in this movie. The film is exciting, dramatic, and romantic as well. I just love it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 13, 2010
    What an unexpected treasure trove Gun Crazy is! A classic precursor to the seminal Bonnie And Clyde. Brilliantly shot in all of film noir's technique. Suprisingly sexy, a depiction of love gone wrong in a world where small town America has been corrupted by the big city. Ultimately a contemplation of obsession. "We go together like guns and ammunition".
    Jeremy S Super Reviewer

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