Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female) (1950)

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

After spending his youth in a corrective institution and a tour of duty in the Army, Bart Tare (John Dall), a troubled young man with a life-long fascination with guns, meets a carnival sideshow performer Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins), who shares his obsession. Bart joins her act and begins an affair with Annie. Fired from their job by their jealous boss, they begin a life of increasingly violent crimes, culminating in murder. They attempt to flee across the border, but cut-off by the … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Dalton Trumbo, MacKinlay Kantor, Millard Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 19, 1999
United Artists


as Annie Laurie Starr

as Bart Tare

as Packett

as Judge Willoughby

as Ruby Tare

as Sheriff Clyde Boston

as Dave Allister

as Sheriff Boston

as Bart Tare (age 7)

as Bart Tare (age 14)

as Clyde Boston (age 14...

as Dave Allister (age 1...

as Bluey-Bluey

as Miss Wynn

as Miss Sifert

as Danceland Singer

as Man From Chicago

as Hampton Policeman

as Taxi Driver

as Mr. Mallenberg

as Border Patrolman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

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Critic Reviews for Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (3)

Fault is in the writing and direction, both staying on the surface and never getting underneath the characters.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Top Critic

One of the most distinguished works of art to emerge from the B movie swamp.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Gun Crazy' is a magnificently enjoyable film, distinguished by Joseph H Lewis's restless, catch-all directorial style.

Full Review… | February 27, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Joseph H. Lewis charts it all with a perverse artisan's dynamic glee, one wicked jolt after another

Full Review… | July 7, 2014

Reefer Madness for gun control?

Full Review… | May 12, 2014

The plotting is simplistic and predictable. The acting and tough-guy/gal dialogue are rather comical at times. Yet the film hit home then, and it still hits home today.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
Montreal Gazette

Audience Reviews for Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)


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 Volk

Super Reviewer

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


Why is it that the more you want to see a film, the more disappointed you are when you finally see it? I've been reading about this film in essays and books for 20 years. And now that I've seen it? Sigh....not that it wasn't good, mind you. I just built it up in my mind too much. My bad.

Let's touch on the positives first, and there are several. It looks great -- all dark and noir-y. Done on a small budget, and looks it...and that's OK. Some street scenes are obviously on a soundstage, but it doesn't really take away anything. And one scene in a fog-shrouded swamp is particularly effective. There are several chase sequences that really had me going. And the bank robbery scene --- filmed from the backseat of the getaway car and done in one long take -- is the most exciting, probably due to the POV aspect. And finally, the climax of the film and the fate of the couple is a knockout.

Now for the negatives -- only one, but it's BIG one that affects the whole film...I just didn't buy the casting. These people -- Bart Tare, the gun-loving, reform school graduate, male lead (John Dall) and Annie Laurie Starr, the sharp-shooter bad girl (Peggy Cummins) -- were supposedly blatantly sexual, ruthless and dangerous. Dall and Cummins were far too soft-spoken for their roles. They seemed more suited for ingenues in drawing rooms dramas. One exception is at the circus during their first meeting. There is obvious heat there, but I don't really see it sustained through the film. And both characters were supposed to be gun-obsessed -- hence the title -- but neither appeared to ever have even fired a gun before. There was actually very little gunplay once the film gets underway. From what I had read, I was half-expecting for them to be fondling their guns as if they were sex organs. And finally, Dall's Bart was far too whiny. I understand that Laurie was the more powerful and dangerous of the two, so maybe that was intentional. But it just wasn't effective or convincing for me.

Ultimately, it was a good movie, but not the sex-fueled action-packed film it was touted to be.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female) Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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