Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gun Crazy (1950)

Gun Crazy (1950)
seen online via YouTube

How would you rob a bank? (Assuming you absolutely had to.) We've seen so many bank robbers throughout film history, one would think that if one had to do it, there would be some basic rules that would be immutable no matter how times and technology changes. For instance:

- Wear a mask! You don't want people to be able to identify you after you're gone.

- Wear gloves! You don't want your fingerprints all over everything.

- Make sure whoever you're robbing is incapable of calling the cops, or at the very least, make it difficult for them to do so.

But above all:

- Stick to the plan! (But be prepared to improvise if necessary.)

Gun Crazy
was an awesome movie, but I couldn't help but notice how the main characters break all of these basic rules at one point or another, and yet they still managed to make their spree last as long as they did. Given that they'd both spent time on the wrong side of the law before they met, you'd think they'd be smarter about that sort of thing. Changing clothes after you get away shouldn't be enough, especially with these two: Bart is really tall and looks like Jimmy Stewart's evil twin brother; Laurie is really short and with a British accent that comes and goes (it's there if you listen for it).

Still, that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this classic noir movie; another one I read about at Where Danger Lives. Mark said that some critics have made the case for it as the "Great American Movie." I think it's a very archetypal American movie. The love of violence in entertainment in general and gun culture in specific is a major theme throughout the film. I think there are other crime movies that embody American culture a little better, though, such as the original Scarface (or the remake too, I suppose), the first Godfather, or Bonnie and Clyde, which Gun Crazy naturally draws comparisons to.

I loved how some shots were filmed from the backseat of Bart and Laurie's getaway car. It's a bit of a surprise to see actors actually driving on real streets, and not pretend-driving on a sound stage with a "street" projected on a screen behind them. More than that, though, it gives you the feeling that you're in the heist with them, that you're part of the score and that any second the cops will start shooting at your head. It's unusual to see in such an old movie.

I have several other noir films I wanna check out in the coming weeks, but the trick is to weave them into my backlog of titles. I used to write down which movies I wanted to see, but I find I can keep it straight in my head, more or less.

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