UCLA Festival of Preservation
dir. Joseph H. Lewis, US, 1950, 35mm, b/w, 86 min.
Bart Tare loves guns and is caught stealing
one at age fourteen. After stints in reform school and the Army, Bart returns
home where he meets Annie Laurie Starr, who works as a sharpshooter at a local
carnival. It is love at first gunsight. They consummate their relationship with
a shooting match. It is all about guns and sex, sex and guns. The fact that she
says she’s a bad girl who may have been involved in prostitution and murder
hardly seems to matter. They rob to make a living, eventually planning a major
heist that they pull off successfully, but not before Laurie has killed two
people, putting the FBI on their tail.
Long before Michael Moore analyzed America’s
pathological love affair with guns, Joseph H. Lewis and Dalton Trumbo nailed it
with this dirty little film noir, which loosely adapts the story of Bonnie and
Clyde. Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted and had to use the nom-de-plume
Millard Kaufman as a front, rewrote MacKinlay Kantor’s 1940 Saturday Evening
Post story, putting the focus on the film’s amour fou. Originally produced on
virtually no budget for Monogram by the King Brothers, the crime drama was
eventually released by United Artists and therefore gained more exposure than
many B films.
35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Preservation funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute
Preserved in cooperation with Warner Bros. from the original 35mm picture and track negatives. Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, YCM Laboratories, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio, Simon Daniel Sound. Special thanks to Ned Price.