Quick recap: Bart Tare is into guns. Like, really into guns. But not in that way (killing people). His wife on the other hand is totally into guns AND killing people. I guess you could say they are………gun crazy!
Fun (?) fact: During the credits it says that the script was written by MacKinlay Kantor and Millard Kaufman. In reality, there was no Kaufman, but instead a guy named Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted at the time.
My thoughts: With all of the talk on gun control and me being a crazy person who thinks not everyone should have all the guns, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. The late 40s/early 50s were a different time when guns were used mostly for recreation and not terrifying mass murders, so a young boy with a fascination with guns didn’t really register with people that this was alarming. Case in point, the very beginning of the movie has a young Bart break into a hardware store to steal a gun. The reason he stole it was because his mean old teacher took away his other gun when he was showing it off to the class. That was the punishment, by the way- bring a gun to school and it will get taken away……and that’s about it.
The director went out of his way to show that Bart was a sweet kid (I know this because he guns down a chicken in a flashback scene and then cries about it. Aww.) and it wasn’t guns that made him violent. Instead, what caused his crime spree was all the woman’s doing. Annie Laurie Starr is the Bonnie to Bart’s Clyde and from the very beginning of their relationship, it’s pretty obvious that the reason Bart loved guns so much was because he really wasn’t all that bright. He is told on several occasions that this woman was no good and yet he couldn’t resist her. She talks him into robbing every chance they get, which is bad enough, but then (according to her), Starr has this habit of getting nervous and killing people. This, understandably, gets the two of them into trouble with the law until they are finally cornered and must surrender. In one of the more beautiful moments of the film, Bart, who hasn’t killed anyone or anything since that chicken, turns the gun on his wife, who was about to shoot his friends. Gunfire is returned and Bart is also killed. The final shot is of them in the marsh, their dead bodies lying slumped against each other.
It might be the ridiculousness of the plot or how ‘B-movie’ certain scenes felt, but I really enjoyed Gun Crazy. It was a lot of fun and didn’t take itself too seriously. I kept expecting some larger discussion about guns, but really, it just came down to an idiot in love with a woman who kills.
Final review: 4/5
Up next: Little Big Man