Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Film noir discussions: Gun Crazy (1950)

An update about the online film discussions I mentioned in the last post. While I am putting together a module for classes, I wanted to kick things off with a couple of informal sessions centred on 1940s-50s film noir. This is how it will go:

– I upload a film and make it available through Google Drive.
– Those who are interested, mail me at jaiarjun@gmail.com so I can share the link.

– Watch the film. Make notes if you feel like it. Preferably, don’t read detailed analyses of the film before our discussion. (When I share the link, I will provide a basic synopsis along with points of interest and what to look out for.)

– We get together on Zoom for an hour or two on a specific date to talk about the film; I will try to provide some historical context, recommendations for other related works and so on, but in my experience some of the sharpest observations during such classes come from people who have watched the film for the first time without preconceptions/too much contextual information.
For the film-noir discussions, I will include some of the more famous works in the genre, such as Double Indemnity, The Third Man, The Big Heat, The Asphalt Jungle, and In a Lonely Place. But I want to start with a “B-noir” that doesn’t have major stars or a major director but is a personal favourite: the 1950 ˆ, which was one of the first “couple on the run” films, made nearly two decades before Bonnie and Clyde, and a big influence on the French critics-turned-filmmakers of the decade to come. (There are visual similarities between Gun Crazy and Godard’s Breathless, for example.)
Please mail me at jaiarjun@gmail.com so we can set this up. I would rather start small, which means no more than 20-25 participants for the discussion. But I’m happy to share the link with anyone who wants to just watch the film.


  1. Since you mention Double Indemnity, I need to recommend Eight Perfect Murders, which I am currently listening to. A lot of people are mad because the author "spoils" a lot of mysteries (even more than eight) but my guess is that you have read all these books and watched all these movies anyway. Among the eight perfect murders are the ABC Murders, Strangers on a Train, Double Indemnity, Death Trap, The Red House Mystery, Malice Aforethought, The Secret History, The Drowner. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is also casually mentioned and the murderer revealed.

    Anyway, check it out if you haven't already! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Thanks, Deepa. Will keep this in mind (though I haven't read a couple of the works you mention, so maybe I should stay away for now!)

    2. What?! I am shocked. :) I feel like you're the kind of person who would casually mention the one murder mystery that A.A. Milne wrote (maybe you have read that one!) while the rest of us only associate him with Pooh and crew. I honestly had no idea.

      I read the Tokyo Zodiac Murders after your mention here, and that would have been a good fit in Malcolm Kershaw's Perfect Murders list (he is the narrator of the book). Anyway, I look forward to your review someday.