Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema (2015) Eddie Muller
Black Pool Productions
Trade paperback, 192 pages
The Saturday Evening Post may just possibly be the unlikeliest place to give birth to one of the all-time classics of film noir, but that’s where Eddie Muller’s Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema begins.
Popular American novelist/journalist/screenwriter MacKinlay Kantor’s short story “Gun Crazy” appeared in the February 3, 1940 issue of The Saturday Evening Post and if no one else took much notice of the tale, the three King brothers certainly did. King Brothers Productions had a knack for turning low-budget pictures into fat profits. (Their 1945 Dillinger cost $193,000 and took in more than $4 million.) Their production of Gun Crazy looked to become their next big hit, but…
The story of how Gun Crazy went from box-office failure to film noir classic reads like a thriller as Muller describes the unlikely manner in which the film was created, produced, cast, directed, promoted and received. This is how all “making of” books should be: well-researched, told with bold creativity, and made relevant for an audience who may think a movie from 55 years ago couldn’t possibly hold their interest.
The book also includes pages from working scripts, communications from the producers, and a wonderful selection of photos. No film noir or classic movie fan will want to pass this one up. If you’re thinking about buying it on Amazon, forget it. The only way to get a copy of Gun Crazy is through the Black Pool Productions website. Now all we need is a Blu-ray edition of the film with a Muller commentary. (A couple of French editions are available) . Highly recommended.