Gun Crazy GIFs

The 1950 film Gun Crazy has been on my mind a bit these days, particularly the first scene wherein the protagonist steals a gun from the local hardware store.

The whole film centers around the morbid fascination with guns in the U.S., and I wanted to see if I couldn’t capture that spirit with a montage GIF. I failed. The kid’s obsession with guns is much more richly conveyed in the full scene than the abbreviated GIF I created which isn’t all that interesting in the end. Nonetheless, it’s a first attempt at a larger series of montage GIFs, which I hope will build up to pulling together a coordinated series of GIFs from a film, TV show or some other animated episode (somewhat similar to what Michael Branson Smith did with his North by Northwest animated GIF movie poster). A series of GIFs or coordinated montages have been pretty common practice for a while now in the GIF world, but I haven’t really experimented with this approach yet. I particularly like this mashup of The Shining and Gangnam Style for eternal editing purposes, and this episode from the Scary Snowman is kinda like an animated GIF real-life comic book/tv episode, but then again not really any of those.


Anyway, while scanning through Gun Crazy I couldn’t resist GIFing Joseph H. Lewis’s homage to the final scene of Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 classic The Great Train Robbery. If you haven’t seen Gun Crazy I can’t recommend it enough, it’s one of the two best b films of the noir genre, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) is the other.


So, this is my first official entry for the GIF Festival, I hope to get a more coherent series of GIF montages and episodes together over the next couple of weeks—we’ll see.

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14 Responses to Gun Crazy GIFs

  1. Alan Levine says:

    Great and ominous theme. I’m thinking of doing something form the Shootist, loved how that movie showed the tail end of the western era. And there’s always Harry Callahan…

  2. Ben says:

    Did YouTube finally give you the heave-ho for all the copyright infringement notices? Let’s see if you can sneak under Vimeo’s radar.

    I like the idea of a series of GIFs to capture the narrative and main plot of the film, almost like a 4 icon challenge, only with GIFs. I’m really impressed with the quality of your GIFs here. I wonder if the original being in black and white helps with how crisp it appears, as many of my full color GIFS have that wonderful late 90s lossy feel to them.

    • Reverend says:

      One of the texts I read in university while studying Western films was Six-Gun Mystique, what’s interesting is the focus on the cultural mythos of the Wester ( and by extension the gun) in US culture. It is a bit academic, but a seminal take on the Western genre, guns, and contemporary violence.

      Yeah, I got the heave ho about 6 months back, I saved most of it, but there were some casualties. I learned a bit, I still sue third party services, but I have a local filing system for all my videos as well. Hoep springs eternal 🙂 As for Vimeo, I’m not too worried, if they cut me off, three heads will grow in my place. The Hydra effect 😉

      As for the quality of the GIFs, this is a film I ripped with Mac the Ripper into a VOB, and I am convinced that is the difference. The original rip makes all the difference. That and they are super big and high quality. The second one is 3 mbs, which is unseamly by GIF standards

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  4. Alan Levine says:

    For you, this is now a GIFfest asignment (well I have some clips from Fort Apache I want to do)

    I did some experimenting with Annie- for full frame GIFs, each frame is expensive in file size. Your Gun Crazy Annie has 21 frames, but a number were repetitive, and I did a bit of whittling it down to 9 frames (also reduced to 500px the size I usually post at) and got it down to 529k. It may have cut too far in quality, but its a thing I am always trying to see if there is a tradeoff- I like to keep up under 1Mb (also put a longer pause on the last frame with smoke so it sits a little longer)

    I’ve been getting better at doing some of the GIFs with a single background and only small elements that change per frame, this layered approach gets your GIFs way low in size — but ti does not always work well for the cineman GIFs unless the movement can be isolated.

    GSF it on!

  5. Ben says:

    I noticed the second one is struggling to even animate, but I’m wondering if that’s just a WordPress thing, as when I view the GIF alone in it’s own browser it animates flawlessly. I love that you ended with the gun smoke, makes for a nice clean cut back to the start of the loop.

    I’ll have to look into Mac the Ripper, or Handbrake, if I’m going to up my movie or TV making GIF skills. Been pulling from too many low quality YouTube clips.

  6. I’m a big fan of the GIF mashup. Remember my bizarro mashup of My Bodyguard and White Heat? There was actually gun play in that one. Making connections within a film or across films (particularly differing genres) is really intriguing. I think we need to make the GIF mashup it’s own GIFfest assignment.

  7. Reverend says:

    You rule, that optimized version of the GIF works just as well. And 3 MBs for a GIF is decadent—I know this 🙂 I replaced the original, thank yiu.

    The issue was it was way too big. But that’s fixed now thanks to Alan.

    I wonder if using the side-by-side multi-GIF aesthetic for such a mashup might even be more effective?

  8. Mikhail says:

    You forgot Detour, you mug.

    • Reverend says:

      I have to say I hated Detour when I watched it a few years back. But I am open to listening to all the reasons why I am wrong, you mug.

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  10. Mikhail says:

    Ok, you’re on. I’m looking forward to articulating my sense of Ulmer’s 1945 Detour’s historical, aesthetic and cultural significance, if you know what I mean. Nudge nudge wink wink. Stay tuned.

  11. Reverend says:


    As I already said in another comment on the bava, I am fired up and ready for that challenge 🙂

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