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Film / Gun Crazy

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"We go together, Laurie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together."

Gun Crazy is a 1950 Film Noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis, starring John Dall and Peggy Cummins.

It tells the story of an Outlaw Couple of sharpshooters, former soldier Bart (Dall) and circus performer Laurie (Cummins). They are both obsessed with guns, but in a different way: Bart likes owning and shooting them, but would never hurt anyone living, while Laurie dreams of actually killing somebody. When they find themselves unemployed, Bart wants to look for a decent job, but Laurie seduces him into a robbery spree. Soon it ends up with murder, and they find themselves hunted by much more force than they could ever outrun.

It had a loose remake (Guncrazy) in 1992, directed by Tamra Davis and starring Drew Barrymore and James LeGros.

Not to be confused with the Japanese film series of the same name.

Gun Crazy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ambition Is Evil: Laurie wants to be rich and decides the best course is committing robberies.
  • Action Girl: the sharpshooting Laurie. Soon she turns into a Dark Action Girl.
  • Anti-Hero: Bart might be a criminal, but he is also a somewhat dimwitted fellow, who couldn't dream of actually harming anyone, and has serious moral qualms over the path Laurie has put him on.
  • Bank Robbery: Bart and Laurie start with gas stations and move up to banks and trade companies.
  • By-the-Book Cop: The cop Laurie knocks unconscious outside the bank is an affable guy who nonetheless resists her attempt to get him to take out and hand over his gun, not out of suspicion but because it's against the rules for him to do so.
  • Cassandra Truth: Laurie telling Bart that she isn't good even though she'll try to be.
    Laurie: I told you I was no good, and I didn't kid you did I?
  • Character Witness: Dave, Clyde and Bart's sister Ruby during his childhood trial, saying he's a gentle soul at heart.
  • The Corrupter: Laurie plays this to Bart's Corruptible. Most notably, when Bart is considering leaving the outlaw life because he fears for his own slipping sense of morality, Laurie responds by essentially telling him that he should be happy to have a pretty wife like her, so therefore he should ignore his troubled conscience and only listen to her.
  • Dark Secret: They trade their dark secrets before getting their Fourth-Date Marriage. Bart confesses that when he was a kid he stole a gun from a store and was sent to reform school. Than Laurie confesses she had already killed a man.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bart and Laurie's shared gun fixation is pretty clearly symbolic as well as literal.
  • Downer Ending: What would you expect from a Film Noir?
  • Evil Former Friend: Bart, to his childhood friends.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Laurie is a beautiful, young blonde woman who revels in the mayhem her and Bart's crimes causes.
  • Femme Fatale: Laurie's a pretty clasic example, bringing destruction to any man who gets involved with her.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: After being fired from the carnival, Bart and Laurie have to marry at a roadside chapel before The Hays Code will let them stop driving and spend the night together.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: In the opening scene.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: With a literal door which Bart closes in faces of his childhood friends who came to offer him a Last-Second Chance.
  • Heel Realization: Bart, after finding out the robbery ended in blood.
  • Lady Macbeth: Laurie goads Bart into turning to crime by threatening to leave him while he's reluctant to do anything.
  • Last-Second Chance: Bart's childhood friends come to him unarmed, asking him to surrender. He doesn't.
  • Love at First Sight: Main characters fall in love right when they meet and, despite morality quarrels, never stop loving each other.
  • Martial Pacifist: Bart, before he met Laurie. A sharpshooter who only shoots objects.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bart after noticing he has to fight himself not to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: At the climax, Dave and Clyde makes another attempt at talking Bart into give himself up peacefully. Laurie, however, readies herself to gun them both down, and so to protect his old friends, Bart shoots her, but by doing so he spooks the surrounding police who shoots him down in turn.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Bart and Laurie are an Outlaw Couple derived from Bonnie and Clyde.
  • One Last Job: And it goes well! Except they later get tracked by bill numbers.
  • The Oner: One particularly famous scene from the film has the camera placed on the back seat of Laurie and Bart's car, were it follows them as they are driving to their next heist, then executing the robbery, and then getting away from the scene of the crime. The whole scene ticks in at three-and-a-half minutes.
  • Outlaw Couple: Main plot.
  • Pop the Tires: Laurie shoots out the tyre of their stolen getaway car when they abandon it. Bart later shoots out the tyre of a police car that is chasing them.
  • Pretty in Mink: Laurie wears a flashy fur stole on her and Bart's final night out in California, when they are due to escape to Mexico the next day. She drops it when they have to flee the police.
  • Properly Paranoid: Laurie, at the end.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni - Laurie, Blue Oni - Bart.
  • Run or Die: Near the end, when the police is instructed to shoot to kill.
  • Same Clothes, Different Year: Clyde and Dave remain recognizable as grown-ups, as they are still wearing Nerd Glasses and a leather jacket in the style of the ones they wore as kids respectively.
  • Sexual Extortion: Packett is implied to be blackmailing Laurie into being his lover and/or staying at the carnival over the man she killed.
  • Spinning Paper: Or rather Zooming Papers with reports on their robberies.
  • Stern Chase
  • These Hands Have Killed: The cop outside the bank comments he had to shoot a man the year before and it visibly weighs on him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Bart has an aversion to use his sharpshooting skill for lethal means, but Laurie has no such qualms.
  • Those Two Guys: Bart's childhood friends, Clyde and Dave.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Bart enlisted in the army straight out of reform school. His friends are surprised when he leaves, as they had all assumed he was going to be a career soldier.
  • Trigger-Happy: Laurie likes guns too much. It seems, for her shooting during the robbery is pleasure rather than necessity.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • William Telling: At the show where they meet, Laurie does this, and than Bart challenges her. During the contest, they do this to each other.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Averted. They actually use Bart's home, owned by his sister, as a last resort. They are surely not welcome there.