Film Box Retrospective: ‘Gun Crazy’

With Kathleen Ellison

October 11, 2012

photo courtesy of

I like to enjoy a good action film now and then; watching “Die Hard” with some mac ‘n cheese was the perfect recipe for a day home from school for me. Of course when it comes to action movies I admit that I prefer the more modern ones that are more explosive and high tech, but there is something about older action movies. They seem to have more depth and intense characters, especially the fast paced 1950’s film noir movie “Gun Crazy,” directed by Joseph H. Lewis and starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall.

Bart Tare (Dall) has always been fixated with guns.  This obsession lands him in reform school for attempting to steal a pistol. Although he is obsessed with guns, he never kills and never would, as his sister and friends try to convince the judge of. After reform school and a period in the Army, Bart ends up at a carnival and falls in love with a sharpshooter, Annie Laurie Starr (Cummins) whom he marries. Although they share a mutual love of guns, Laurie lacks certain morals and eventually drags him into a dark spiral of crime.

I love the characters in this movie, especially how the actors portray them. Cummins manages to really show the unstable nature of Laurie. You can see the craziness in her eyes when she does her sharp shooting act. She also really illustrates the homicidal tendencies and complex emotions that her character often reveals in the intense situations throughout the movie. Dall, meanwhile, exhibits a character that is reluctant in crime and serious in his obsession over Laurie. Although his performance isn’t as impressive as Cummins’, he still manages to create a well founded character.

The plot was very basic but it surprisingly draws you in. The complexities of the relationship between the two leads really help to propel this movie. The cinematography is well done but nothing really imaginative. This is all of course is made up for with the excellent acting and fast pacing of the movie.

This is one of the best action movies in my opinion. It is like Annie Oakley meets Clyde Barrow. The chemistry between Laurie and Bart is tangible; they’re like “guns and ammunition.” The deep love between the two characters makes this story so much more poignant and dramatic than any other when it’s combined with the action driving them to the edge. It’s a movie I strongly encourage others to watch.

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Posted in: A&E

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