Crazy About “Gun Crazy”

Bart (John Dall), one of the central characters in 1949’s Gun Crazy, has always been obsessed with guns but horrified of killing.  He begins a love affair with a sharpshooter-entertainer, Laurie (Peggy Cummins), who admits to being “no good,” by which she means she is disposed to steal and, worse, will kill out of fear.  And she does get fearful as the two embark on a life of armed robbery.

The suggestion could be made that the film deals with America’s love for guns except that Laurie is supposed to be from London.  Besides, was there ever any talk of America’s love for guns in 1949?  No, Gun Crazy is a thriller about two individuals who are gun-crazy enough to turn to armed crime.  It is also pretty romantic:  Bart and Laurie genuinely love each other, notwithstanding a quick second of betrayal occurs at the end.

Cleverly directed by Joseph H. Lewis, this noir achievement is riveting and unpretentious.  Absolutely fine in their parts, John Dall has an appealing face a trifle more friendly than handsome, and Peggy Cummins has a face with a schoolgirl charm and an overall gorgeous appearance.

Peggy Cummins
Peggy Cummins (Photo credit: classic film scans)

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