Last night I watched the new Warner Archive Bluray of Joseph L. Lewis‘s Gun Crazy (’50), and within five minutes I knew I’d been burned. The opening-credits sequence looks like shit; ditto the courtroom scene with RussTamblyn, the compassionate judge, his mother and some friends. Then it starts to improve; then it slides back again. Going by the immaculate standard of Warner Archives Out Of The Past Bluray, the Gun Crazy Bluray is an in-and-outer that lacks consistency. Some portions look exquisite; others look grayish and dupey. And then the sharpness returns.

Pre-Jabba Orson Welles, director Carol Reed during the filming of The Third Man.

I’ve always thought it ironic that director Ernst Lubitsch, world-renowned for the touch of subtlety and sophistication in his films, never looked like a man of elegance and refinement. Instead, Lubitsch looked like a butcher or a sandwich-maker in a Brooklyn delicatessen, like a cab driver or construction foreman. Something tells me that author Joseph McBride won’t address this observation in his forthcoming “How Did Lubitsch Do it?“. (Pic was shot during the making of Heaven Can Wait.)

James Cagney, Ann Sheridan.

John Wayne during the filming of George Stevens’ The Greatest Story Ever Told.