Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Reviewed on 2011 January 15
This is director Arthur Penn’s telling of the Bonnie and Clyde saga, featuring Warren Beatty as a producer (and Clyde) and a script by David Newman and Robert Benton. It almost snuck under the wire as a B flick when it was released, but thankfully word of mouth got it the love it deserved.
Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) is a waitress in a backwater Texas town, wanting more out of life than her dead-end job in a diner, when she catches a good-looking man trying to steal her mother’s car. She and Clyde Barrow are drawn to each other, even though Bonnie starts having misgivings about where this life will lead her. No matter, soon she’s heisting banks with him and picking up like-minded travelers like C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard).
This got several Oscar® nods and Estelle Parsons took the Best Supporting Oscar® home for her role as Blanche Barrow, Clyde’s sister-in-law. It’s funny that something with a Depression-Era setting is such a great example of the Hollywood hitting its stride in the ’60s. There were several detours from the real-life story, including the condensing of multiple sidekicks into the C.W. Moss character, plus borrowing tidbits from the lives of other Depression Era gangsters. Warren Beatty was also prettier than the real-life Clyde Barrow, but I think Penn and Warren Beatty tried following the events and timeline. The movie started out making Barrow and Parker almost too likable and too cute, and then jarringly reminds the audience of their body count. Arthur Penn did a great job: the abrupt shift in mood in the scene with Eugene Grizzard (Gene Wilder’s debut, by the way) still amazes me.
Three chocolate morsels and a little peach ice cream.