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Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female) (1950)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,068

My Rating

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

Jan 19, 1999

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (1) | DVD (10)

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

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 7, 2014 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Reefer Madness for gun control?

May 12, 2014 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

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.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Montreal Gazette
Montreal Gazette

One of the great, specifically American love stories ever put to film... among the most overtly erotic films of the post-WWII era.

February 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

If you had to select a single film to justify the present enthusiasm for film noir and define its allure, few movies could compete with Gun Crazy.

May 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Some old pulpy noir thrillers aren't as pleasurable as the garish posters that advertised them, but this re-release gives us an example of the genre that's every bit as brash, lusty and stylish as you could wish it to be.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Sunday Times (UK)

It's a superbly crafted film by a cult film-maker.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Darker and more subtly complex than you'd expect from a 1950s crime caper.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Gun Crazy is less an exposť than a hugely exciting crime thriller. And since he's as polite as he is intelligent, Lewis doesn't beat us about the head with his philosophies.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Admittedly, the script is vintage corn. But visually Gun Crazy is a rude, startling and suggestive pleasure.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

this is a small but perfectly formed black-and-white masterpiece of flash and trash, unwholesome obsession and criminal daring.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian

Nearly 20 years before the same themes powered Bonnie and Clyde, Lewis was on to the possibilities of "outsider" cinema, and his film is all the more subversive for its origins as raw pulp, unpoliced by the Hollywood system, and getting away with murder.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A major influence on both Bonnie and Clyde and the French New Wave (with Godard a particular admirer), it's a film that far transcends its low budget constraints.

February 27, 2009
Little White Lies

Extremely well made, this is one cult classic that justifies its reputation.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Like all great films noirs, this 1949 lovers-on-the-run thriller, directed by cultists' darling Joseph H. Lewis (The Big Combo), is lean, mean and delirious.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

This modest-looking B-movie, first seen in 1949, has acquired a substantial following in the years since - justifiably.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent

Seldom seen, but GREAT little film directed by Joseph H. Lewis. Cummins and Dahl are perfect as Bonnie and Clyde types.

March 8, 2008

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.
February 25, 2011
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.
October 24, 2010

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.
July 16, 2010

Super Reviewer

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".
May 18, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Bart Tare: We go together, Laurie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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