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Gun Crazy (1950) - Blu-ray Review

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Gun Crazy (1950)- Blu-ray Review

5 beers

Because a life on the run is never that much fun!

America loves its guns. It is possible that this film noir classic, featuring a bevy of fascinating performances, best explains why. The power they wield is an attraction that cannot be matched. Bang, bang, shoot, shoot. Gun Crazy is done reloading.

Bart Tare likes guns. Even as a 14-year-old boy, Bart finds himself equipped with an itchy trigger finger. He swears he doesn’t want to kill anything or anyone, but that doesn’t stop him from breaking into a local hardware store to snatch a revolver before getting busted by the cops. Poor boy. Judge Willoughby (Morris Carnovsky) is going to send him right squarely away.

Upon his return to town, Bart (John Dall) finds himself attending a traveling carnival where sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) challenges him to a dual. The two gunslingers are a match made in Heaven. Hearts are stolen as these two cross paths and cement a legacy of gun-loving exploits and it’s all because, as one sideshow clown puts it, Bart was “born dumb” and thinks Miss Starr is all for him.

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It has to be stated that Joseph H. Lewis masterfully directed this film noir thriller. His directions to be like two dogs in heat to the two leads worked. Their performances, both with and without a loaded gun, are absolutely perfect. Dall is wanting and Cummins is going to give it to him…in time. Spellbinding tension follows.

Thing is, as the romantic jazz score plays on, it is obvious that these two want to be good people.   But their draw to the loaded gun is too strong. They must break the law. And so begins their life of crime on the road. Miss Starr swears she’s no good. She wants BIG things. And she only wants a man who will give her all that. Bart just wants her. Even if that means he has to be a “stick-up man” for her.

Gun Crazy (1950)- Blu-ray Review

Suddenly, thanks to a keyed-in montage, guns are being waved in surprised faces and banks are being robbed. And then diners. And then people. The money comes flowing in. It’s not enough. We all know how these stories go and screenwriters Dalton Trumbo and MacKinlay Kantor absolutely delivers with unforgettable characters and sequences because these two can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Amazingly enough, there is one single take bank robbing sequence, filmed in the back seat of the car that Cummins is driving, that is absolutely riveting. One single take. And a choreography of mayhem and distraction to boot as Cummins has to distract a police officer on the road so the big escape can play out as planned.

With Cummins getting more excited with each and every con, it’s hard to deny the sexuality of the flick. Lust looks and acts a lot like this. Her rising aggression is a perfect match for Dall’s own moral wavering. We get several high-powered chases – filmed expertly for the time period – and a dramatic love story that is as starry-eyed as they come. Think these two are going to part any time soon? Think again.

Considered armed and dangerous, Gun Crazy is a classic of film noir mania. It is now on blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.

Gun Crazy (1950)- Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Joseph H. Lewis
Writer:
MacKinlay Kantor, Dalton Trumbo
Cast:
John Dall, Peggy Cummins, Berry Kroeger
Genre
: Crime | Drama | Film noir
Tagline:
Her Violent Loves! Her Vicious Crimes! Her Wild Escapes!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Bart, I've been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I'm gonna start kicking back."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 20, 1950
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 8, 2018
Synopsis: A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

Gun Crazy (1950)- Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- May 8, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Gun Crazy arrives courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection. The 1.34:1 aspect ratio serves the original film’s release well. Gray levels are solid and whites offer a nice balance in this crisp presentation. Shadows hold their edges and there’s a new depth to the black and white images that is perfect. The sound is presented in a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • CineSavant (formerly DVD Savant) himself, Glenn Erickson, provides a wonderfully articulate commentary about the film and its legacy.

Special Features:

How about a 90-minute documentary about film noir to make you happy? Because that’s exactly what you get with this release.

  • Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light

Gun Crazy (1950)- Blu-ray Review

 

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