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Author Topic: Gun Crazy (1950)  (Read 1646 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: May 16, 2012, 05:23:00 PM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042530/

Gun Crazy (1950) (on initial U.S. release, the distributors gave this movie the awful title Deadly Is the Female )

cast, courtesy of wikipedia

    Peggy Cummins as Annie Laurie Starr
    John Dall as Bart Tare
    Berry Kroeger as Packett
    Morris Carnovsky as Judge Willoughby
    Anabel Shaw as Ruby Tare
    Harry Lewis as Sheriff Clyde Boston
    Nedrick Young as Dave Allister
    Trevor Bardette as Sheriff Boston, who apprehends the teenage Bart
    Mickey Little as Bart Tare at age 7
    Russ Tamblyn as Bart Tare at age 14
    Paul Frison as Clyde Boston at age 14
    David Bair as Dave Allister at age 7
    Stanley Prager as Bluey-Bluey
    Virginia Farmer as Miss Wynn
    Anne O'Neal as Miss Augustine Sifert, Laurie's first victim at the plant
    Frances Irvin as Danceland Singer
    Robert Osterloh as Hampton Policeman
    Shimen Ruskin as Cab Driver
    Harry Hayden as Mr. Mallenberg, the plant manager



-------------

here is the one previous post on this movie in the Film Noir Discussion Thread, http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg146929#msg146929

cigar joe: Gun Crazy (1950) Dir. Joseph H. Lewis. with Peggy Cummins, John Dall, Berry Kroeger, Morris Carnovsky, Anabel Shaw, Harry Lewis, Nedrick Young, Rusty (Russ) Tamblyn. Cummins is femme fatale who leads gun-crazy Dall in a Bonnie & Clyde like spree. Seen the beginning and the end never the whole thing through, caught the end again today after I picked up the wife & got back home.


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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 04:53:11 AM »

Just finished my second viewing of Gun Crazy.

This movie gets a 9/10. This movie has one flaw, and it is a very, very significant one: the awful casting of John Dall in the lead male role. Dall may not be a bad actor I think he was really good in Rope but he is just terribly miscast here, and singlehandedly makes almost every scene he is in which is just about every scene in the movie, after the first few minutes painful to watch. Peggy Cummins delivers one of the all-time great (and unconventional!) femme fatale jobs here, but every scene with her and Dall, it's like every time she opens her mouth, I am loving it, and then every time he opens his mouth, I am hating it. Aside from Dall, this movie is just amazing. It's kind of like somebody took a crap in Mona Lisa's mouth.

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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 11:05:45 AM »

. . .and singlehandedly makes almost every scene he is in which is just about every scene in the movie, after the first few minutes painful to watch.
If "just about every scene is painful to watch" how can you justify a "9" for this film? Because of moviemaker's good intentions?

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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 03:52:28 PM »

If "just about every scene is painful to watch" how can you justify a "9" for this film? Because of moviemaker's good intentions?

Sorry if I was unclear. I didn't literally mean that every scene is painful to watch; I meant that almost anytime Dall opens his mouth which happens at least once every scene is painful for me. Specifically, whenever Dall has some dialogue where he's talking about how unhappy he is at committing these crimes which is what most of his dialogue consists of, once the crime spree begins he has this way of whining that makes me wanna shoot myself. It's that whining of his that gets on my nerves. So, once the crime spree begins, just about all of his dialogue between crimes is painful for me. My problem is not with the dialogue per se; it's the way Dall whines when he delivers that dialogue. When the lead character's dialogue is painful to watch, that makes for a lot of painful moments in a movie that's otherwise just about perfect.

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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 07:29:21 PM »

Dall's downright cringeworthy in Spartacus, too. He played only in a (very) limited range.

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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:06:23 AM »

Your buddy Glenn Erickson did the commentary to this dvd. I listened to just a few minutes of it before shutting it off. (Erickson sounds like he is reading straight off his prepared notes; it's awful to listen to.) Erickson says that Gun Crazy is Dall's greatest role (he only did 8 movies before dying at 52). The only other movie I have seen him in is Rope, in which he was a million times better than Gun Crazy.

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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 01:19:50 AM »

I think it's brilliant how Peggy Cummins was used here. She definitely doesn't look like a bad girl, this cute little girl with the hoarse voice and English English. But then you realize how downright evil she is one of the most evil of all femmes fatale. How she is totally using Dall and doesn't even care for him.
But somehow, toward the end, despite knowing how bad she is, you actually do care for her again. Firstly, she actually does genuinely fall for Dall later on; she seems to actually not wanna go to Mexico on her own (no doubt she was initially planning to run off with her money), but now she doesn't wanna leave him for a moment. And then, when you see how pathetic they become how she, who said she wants "things, lots of things," has to come sneaking into her sister-in-law's home to and say, "Can I have something to eat," almost makes you wanna cry for her. And when you see her sister-in-law with a nice domestic life with three kids, knowing that Dall & Cummins have blown any chance of enjoying the same peace. And finally, when they are in the mountains, and, when it's all come to the very end, how she truthfully says, "Bart, I'm scared," she is truly a scared little girl, who wants nothing more than to bury her head in her man's chest and hope that he can make the boogy man go away. By that time, no matter what she has done, the movie succeeds in actually making you care.

But then.... just so there's no mistaking how truly evil she is, she jumps up at the end and says I'LL KILL THEM; I'LL KILL THEM ALL! The filmmakers aren't deluding you that she is anything but a killer. You almost feel ashamed that there was a brief moment where you actually felt sorry for her.

Just a brilliant job by Cummins and director Joseph H. Lewis.

Cummins is still with us, at 87 years old  Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 02:49:55 AM »

In the annals of cinema, when you talk about really good movies that were prevented from being great by a bad lead actor, IMO Gun Crazy (John Dall) is right up there with Shane (Alan Ladd). Also They Live by Night though that one probably wouldn't have been great anyway, it was a good movie that could have been very good were it not for Farley Granger.

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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 02:50:18 AM »

This movie played TCM's Noir Alley this week.

Eddie Muller's intro: https://youtu.be/2BKJBZEU_LU

Eddie Muller's afterword: https://youtu.be/8VtXt8aJh1M

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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 09:12:08 AM »

Thanks D & D. One of my all-time favorites. Not even Dall ruined it. Cummins should have had a better career.

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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 05:06:48 PM »

It's one of the first noirs I saw, about 13 or 14 years ago. I really enjoyed it, especially John Dall's performance. He should have had a better career. I loved him in this movie, as well as Rope and The Man Who Cheated Himself.

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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2017, 07:07:22 PM »

He was good in ROPE.

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