Sunday, April 15, 2012

#608. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Directed By: Arthur Penn

Starring: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard

Tag line: "They're young... they're in love... and they kill people"

Trivia:  Thousand of berets were sold worldwide after Faye Dunaway wore them in this film

It's a lazy Texas afternoon, and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) is in her bedroom, putting on her makeup. Bored and frustrated, she strolls over to the window, peering out just in time to catch Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) in the process of stealing her mother’s car. “Hey boy”, Bonnie yells down, “what are you doing with my mama’s car?” Clyde turns and looks up at her. Their eyes lock, and he smiles. “Wait there”, Bonnie shouts out, unable to contain her excitement.  From that moment on, they would be inseparable. 

In an America ravaged by the Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow pulled off a series of daring bank robberies on their way to becoming two of the most notorious outlaws in American history. With the help of Clyde’s boisterous brother, Buck (Gene Hackman), Buck’s prissy wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons), and their steady getaway driver, C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), Bonnie and Clyde blazed a trail that ran across the American Southwest, leaving empty banks, and a few dead bodies, in their wake. 

With a depiction of violence that was no less than groundbreaking in 1967, Bonnie and Clyde set the standard for how killings would be shown on screen for decades to come. Never before had blood spilled quite as freely in a Hollywood film, and many were shocked by the movie’s brutality. Yet, despite its various shootouts and the thrill of the odd car chase, Bonnie and Clyde is, at its heart, the story of a love forged under the most severe of circumstances. Within hours of meeting each other, Clyde robs a small corner store, and Bonnie, weary of her quiet, humdrum life, is turned on by the excitement of it all. It was an unusual relationship in that sexuality rarely entered into it (Bonnie was willing, but Clyde was impotent). No, what ignited the spark in Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow's tempestuous romance was robbing banks. 

All the chaos, all the bloodshed started the afternoon their eyes met, and it was Bonnie and Clyde’s destiny to go out in much the same way. The final scene of Bonnie and Clyde is among the most celebrated in film history.  Meticulously edited, it ups the ante by taking the violence to another level, but along with its cinematic achievements, the sequence also proved the perfect ending for this very unorthodox couple.  When fate came knocking amid a maelstrom of bullets, Bonnie and Clyde answered the door together.

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