Gun Crazy. 1949. USA. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. 86 min.
Screenplay by MacKinlay Kantor, Dalton Trumbo (as Millard Kaufman). With Peggy Cummins, John Dall. “Thrill Crazy... Kill Crazy… Gun Crazy” screams the poster for this influential and idiosyncratic noir about a pair of young lovers on a crime spree. Gun Crazy is breathless in its pacing and distinctive in its visual sensibility, featuring one of cinema’s most memorable heist scenes, shot entirely in the back of a Cadillac while the robbery is occurring. Writing about Lewis for The New York Times, Scorsese and Jay Cocks remarked on how his films “pull the audience along with the actors and the action. They obliterate the separation between screen and spectator.” It’s as though we’re on the lam with the doomed protagonists, sharing their anxieties, their frissons of excitement. Ultimately, as Scorsese and Cocks put it: “There's no more audience. There are only accomplices.” Restored print courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive.