Gun Crazy is a Hays Code era movie about a couple of gangsters united by their love of guns. Fortunately, his one manages to be both disturbing and sexy despite the era’s often-obtrusive censorship.
Essentially, it follows the death spiral of an initially well-meaning couple, a guy who is the best shot in town who just came out of the army and wants to get a job at Remington to stay close to his passion and a bit of a fallen woman who falls in love with him (and who also has a passion for handguns) and promises to try to be good.
We all know she’s going to fail.
From the very beginning, the wheels start to fall off. A bad night at a casino puts their back against the wall financially, and the woman, now a wife, bluntly informs him that either they get more muney–a LOT more money–or she’ll walk.
So they turn to armed robbery. The guy, essentially a country bumpkin at heart, doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, but the girl is the one who is Kill Crazy on the poster above. She is utterly trigger-happy, and her protestations–probably code-related–that she shoots because she just gets so scared, aren’t really believable.
And that makes it better. We like our crazies undiluted.
This one is considered one of history’s better b-movies and, though I didn’t love it, I admit that it deserves its position on the 1001 movies list. And the main reason I didn’t like it is not even the movie’s fault. The problem with crime flicks under the Hays Code is that the code wouldn’t permit the movie to have a happy ending for criminals… so as soon as they started on the downward path, you knew they were going to end up as a couple of photogenic corpses.
As always, I like to give a shout out to surviving actors from the old films I watch. In this case, the survivor is Russ Tamblyn, critical in the film because, in his role as a younger version of the protagonist, he is the first person we see on screen. So hello, Russ!
Watchable, although I wouldn’t classify it among the noir genre, because it didn’t feel like noir to me, this one laid a lot of the groundwork for the later Bonnie and Clyde films, especially the one from 1967.
Gustavo Bondoni’s crime fiction is best represented by his thriller Timeless. Just as disturbing, and much sexier than this film, you can buy it here.