Edited by Solomon on 3/19/2017, 11:50 am
Then, there are people who question that it is film noir. Some see it as a social problem film: "...it was very much part of a cycle of films you may wish to call the ‘social problem thriller’ which encompasses works like The Wild One and plenty Elia Kazan productions, such as On The Waterfront (1954) and The Harder They Fall (1956)."
"Joseph H. Lewis’s film Gun Crazy is not a film noir. Gun Crazy is an existentialist film disguised as a film noir. It could also be classified as a two person crew gangster film, lovers on the lam picture, or possibly even a criminal psychology flick. It defies a simple definition as its two main characters and their story may comprise some or all of these elements. I’m far from the type of person who over-intellectualizes or reads too much into films (especially 1950s B-Movies) however, the philosophical dark waters of “Gun Crazy” run deep below its turbulent surface."
Or this: "Gun Crazy is really a robbers-on-the run movie with noir pretensions,..."
There is a ton of insightful commentary on this film. I like this take. Laurie verbally says what she wants, but it's not really as if she's sure of getting it. "Laurie never really gets any of her ‘things'; material gain from the couple’s crime spree is fleeting, and the guy isn’t up to much either. One senses that she knows this from the start, but cannot articulate the power of desire for desire’s sake; cannot admit to how much the violent process of satisfying that desire excites her." "Instead, Laurie Starr’s most memorable moments are non-verbal: flashes of action and intent from the mobile, expressive face and body of British actress Peggy Cummins, then in her early 20s - more tomboy than vamp, and exuberantly transported by action, violence and transgression, however hard her words might strive for conventionality. As the couple drive away from the scene of the film’s most celebrated heist, Cummins turns and faces the camera; as she sees the clear road behind them, her face blooms with pleasure, breaking into an impish and breathless grin."
Thematically, this particular comment says that Laurie doesn't know her self. The doing and the action and the striving and the moment of the action, the winning the game, the getting over of society are what really count for her. The thrill comes from being outside the law and getting away with it, even momentarily. Laurie expresses materialism verbally and enacts it through robbery, but her actual pleasure comes from kicking over the traces, as she put it to Dall. She's a rebel against society. In this way, she expresses her individuality. Dall's individual expression is through guns, but society thwarts that early on when his gun is taken away from him. His drive then finds an outlet with Laurie. This particular theme is individuality vs society's influence. Laurie's course has evidently been shaped earlier, but we can only guess at how she got in with Kroeger and the carnival. However, the carnival background expresses the theme of being on the fringe of society and providing at least some thrills that conventional life doesn't. The carnival is shown as finding ways to extract people's cash in hidden ways, as being outside conventional law.