Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love Crazy


At first glance, 1950's Gun Crazy is a mere re-telling of the 1930s Bonnie and Clyde myth, following up on Nick Ray's They Live by Night from the year before and Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once (1937). At heart though, Gun Crazy is one of the most deliriously romantic films ever made.

A young man and young woman are obsessed with guns, and both can shoot out the eye of an eagle at 100 yards. When they meet, what else can they do but fall in love? Since they sense everything around them in straight society means to rip them apart and put them in their place, they do all they can across the landscape of post-World War II America to make their love burn ever brighter.

Peggy Cummins is the soul and guts of the film, always stoking the flames, director Joseph Lewis making prominent the delicate silvery cut of her face (while eventually betraying her): that delicate girl face below the blonde hair. Love must murder us unless we possess it altogether, is the look she gives us. And yet she has a fear of the man she is in love with, for she senses that his words and gestures, perhaps those she could possess. But him, his private substance — she would never have it, and so her eyes often shudder. At the end, she is proved correct.