Today we talked about the film Bonnie and Clyde – if you want to read about it try these links:
“Bonnie and Clyde,” made in 1967, was called “the first modern American film” by critic Patrick Goldstein, in an essay on its 30th anniversary. Certainly it felt like that at the time. The movie opened like a slap in the face. American filmgoers had never seen anything like it. In tone and freedom it descended from the French new wave, particularly Francois Truffaut’s own film about doomed lovers, “Jules and Jim.” Indeed, it was Truffaut who first embraced the original screenplay by David Newman and Robert Benton, and called it to the attention of Warren Beatty, who was determined to produce it.
What distinguishes Bonnie And Clyde from the later slew of movies celebrating non-conformity — Easy Rider et al — is that alongside the life-affirming thrill they get from thumbing their noses at the law, both Bonnie and Clyde know that ultimately their fate is to die a violent death. This certainty haunts the film, and the moments where it bursts in on the gang’s devil-may-care attitude are painful and sad. In one high-spirited sequence the outlaws have some fun by taking the nervy Eugene Grizzard (Gene Wilder in his first big screen role) for a ride. The scene is hilarious, with Wilder in top near-hysteria form, but it turns instantly dark when Bonnie learns that he is an undertaker and they kick him out of the car. Another beautifully-shot, achingly melancholy set piece is the one in which Bonnie, now a celebrity outlaw, goes home to visit her mother. With the light diffused by the swirling dust bowl, she talks about marrying Clyde and settling down close to her family. But she’s fantasising about a future she knows she doesn’t have. And her mother knows it too. “You live within a mile of me, honey, and you’ll be dead,” she says, and the flat, weary sadness in her voice is her daughter’s death knell.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is one of the sixties’ most talked-about, volatile, controversial crime/gangster films combining comedy, terror, love, and ferocious violence. It was produced by Warner Bros. – the studio responsible for the gangster films of the 1930s, and it seems appropriate that this innovative, revisionist film redefined and romanticized the crime/gangster genre and the depiction of screen violence forever.