Gun Crazy

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Gun Crazy is a 1950 film noir feature film starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall in a story about the crime-spree of a gun-toting husband and wife. The film was directed by Joseph H. Lewis, and produced by Frank King and Maurice King. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (credited to Millard Kaufman because of the Hollywood Blacklist), and MacKinlay Kantor was based upon a short story by Kantor published in 1940 in The Saturday Evening Post. Gun Crazy was selected for the National Film Registry, and is also known as Deadly Is the Female.[1](1950)



Bart Tare (John Dall) is an ex-Army man who has a lifelong fixation with guns—they make him feel good inside. The drama opens with Tare, age 14, being grilled by a judge because he had been arrested for breaking and entering and stealing a gun. In flashbacks his friends say that while it's true that Tare loves guns, he would never kill anything. They tell the judge the number of times he's refused to kill animals. Nevertheless the judge sends him to reform school.

The next time we see Tare, he's grown up and back in town. He's also left military service behind. He reunites with his childhood friends and they decide to go to a carnival.

There he meets a kindred spirit in sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) and goes to work at the carnival. They are attracted to one another and after upsetting the carnival owner who lusts after Starr, they both get fired. Soon, on Starr's behest, they embark on a crime spree for cash. Subjects of a manhunt, they are tracked by police in the hills Tare enjoyed as a boy.



The screenplay was credited to Kantor and Millard Kaufman; however, Kaufman was a front for Hollywood Ten outcast Dalton Trumbo, who considerably reworked the story into a doomed love affair.

The picture was originally slated for Monogram release, yet the producers, the King Brothers Productions, chose United Artists as the distributor. As such, Gun Crazy enjoyed wider exposure.[2]

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