Noir City, the Home Game: GUN CRAZY and PALE FLOWER

Strange days continue, kids. I’ve been forced to miss some Noir City screenings in the past for a variety of reasons, but this is pandemic action is exponentially sadder and weirder. Good thing we have movies and pie.

Speaking of pie, happy Pi Day everybody! Make mine key lime, please.

Anyway, on to the eating of pie and talking of movies.

First up in today’s Noir City Home Game, GUN CRAZY.

You know what’s crazy? That I’ve never written about this flick before. I was positive that I had and I know I’ve seen it a zillion times and at least once before at the festival, but I guess I was wrong. I must have seen it back before I started doing my write ups.

Regardless, it’s about fucking time. Because this film is aces.

A military marksman (John Dall) falls for a sexy circus trick-shooter (Peggy Cummins) and the two go on a wild psycho-sexual crime spree that is as much about their mutual attraction to guns as it is about their attraction to each other. They both seem to want to change their gun loving ways at first, he because of childhood trauma involving the theft of a gun and killing of a baby chicken and she because she knows she’s rotten but desperately wants to be normal. Until she realizes how boring normal really is, of course.

I love this legendary quote from director Joseph H. Lewis, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this flick:

I told John, “Your cock’s never been so hard,” and I told Peggy, “You’re a female dog in heat, and you want him. But don’t let him have it in a hurry. Keep him waiting.” That’s exactly how I talked to them and I turned them loose. I didn’t have to give them more directions.

Peggy Cummins is absolutely fantastic in this and high on my list of the best Femme Fatales of all time. It isn’t hard to see, and I find it kind of hard to believe any of you who care enough about Film Noir to still be reading this wouldn’t have seen it yet. But, hey, if you haven’t, go watch it now. I’ll wait.

Next up another knock out foreign film that I wish I could have seen on the big screen: PALE FLOWER.

Another story about a man and a woman connecting in a fiercely sexual and deeply twisted way over an ostensibly non-sexual pastime. In this case, gambling.

A Yakuza hit man gets released from prison and gets mixed up with a beautiful and mysterious young woman he meets at a gambling parlor. She seems determined to chase higher stakes and bigger thrills in a self destructive downward spiral, and he seems more than willing to go down with her.

Oddly enough, I had already seen this one because my mother’s partner was obsessed with it and with the beautiful card game it features, called Hanafuda.

This is a visually striking and coolly seductive stunner of a film. It’s available through Criterion and Mistress Christa says check it out.

Today would have been the big 5 movie marathon featuring OUT OF THE PAST, THE GUILTY, HIGH TIDE, THE PROWLER, and TRY AND GET ME. Way back before all this pandemic shit hit the fan, I was wondering if I was really going to be able to go the distance and make it through all five. I was making deals with myself on which ones I might consider skipping, seeing as I’d already seen them all except for HIGH TIDE. Now I wish I still had that problem. Regardless, there will still be a write up, so stay tuned Faustketeers!

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